The Greek version of our English word impotent is astheo. Astheo is a compound word comprised of stheo, which means to strengthen and the negative prefix a. The word implies strength with a negative clinging to it.
GOD desired to strengthen some people, but there was negativity clinging to them — especially because they felt impotent. The Scripture continues the description of these impotent people as “blind, halt, withered”:
🛑Some of the people were physically afflicted.
🛑Some were physically blind, halt, and withered — but our Greek definitions inform us that the words also have spiritual ramifications.
🛑They were spiritually weak — weak in faith, weak in riches, and destitute of authority.
🛑Some were physically blind. Others just had no vision for their life, their family, or the Kingdom of GOD.
🛑Some were physically lame. Others had just given up and quit running.
🛑Some were called “halt” in the KJV translation. Perhaps they had been strong runners, passionately pursuing the things of GOD, and then, due to disappointments and the circumstances of life, they had come to a halt.
If someone is blind, halt, or lame, you can spot him or her pretty easily. If a man has no vision, he will often carry himself like he is defeated.
A fourth group — they were also “waiting for the moving of the water”. Some were in the powerless position of waiting:
☹️You may look wonderful on the outside, however, no one would ever know that you’re waiting.
☹️You’re wrestling with secret disappointments.
☹️Some of you smiled this morning and chatted jovially with your co-workers, but you’re waiting.
In seasons of waiting, great distress can come upon us. Seasons of waiting are great revealers of character.
😕You remember that strange half-involuntary “forty years” of Moses in the “wilderness” of Midian, when he had fled from Egypt.
😕You remember, too, the almost equally strange years of retirement in “Arabia”, by Paul, when, if ever, humanly speaking, instant action was needed.
😕You remember the amazing charge of the ascending LORD to the disciples, “Tarry at Jerusalem”.
Speaking after the manner of men, one could not have wondered if out-spoken Peter, or fervid James, had said:
⏩”Tarry, LORD! How long?”
⏩“Tarry, LORD!” — is there not a perishing world, groaning for the “good news?”
⏩“Tarry! Did we hear right, LORD? Was the word not ‘haste?’” NO!!
I wonder how many people look good outwardly, like five covered colonnades beside a pool, but on the inside they are waiting. Waiting makes you feel powerless.
Do you see the picture emerging from the text? They’re impotent worshippers looking good on the outside. They’re waiting. In this story, they were waiting for the “troubling of the water”.
It’s an amazing story. It seems that an angel would go down at a certain season and stir up the water — and when the water was thus stirred or troubled, a healing power was released into its touch. Whoever was the first one to get into the water would be healed of whatever disease he had. This is a fantastic, mysterious, intriguing story, and I don’t doubt that it happened.
John didn’t seem to question it.
He didn’t say, “There was a legend that an angel would trouble the water”. He simply said it happened. If Jesus had a problem with the story, He certainly could have silenced the rumour. The fact is that an angel entered the pool, and when the water was troubled, healing emerged.
Credits – Amanda Buys