John 5:6 "When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
Jesus asked the invalid man, "Do you want to get well?" That seems like such an unnecessary question. Of course he wanted to be healed, to get well! Did Jesus really think he was lying there, beside this particular pool, to work on his tan?
Imagine the people lying around that pool. Some people I'm sure were there for the scene. They had made Bethesda their "pity city" and were lying there to receive their "woe is me" quotas. These people probably enjoyed the alms the received without work. They enjoyed the lack of responsibility and didn't mind that they didn't have to change or heal or get courage to face something different.
Maybe you know someone like that, or maybe you've been around someone similar. You know the type, quick to bare their wounds, their pain and suffering, but because of the pity attention they receive they are happy to relive the past over and over.
Or maybe it's someone who says they want healing, but even quicker to dwell on the illness or ailments of the soul, content to keep them as a crutch. Sometimes these folks see themselves as a religious rockstar or soul celebrity because of hardships they endure for the "kingdom." They choose to stay beside the pool. They choose to rack up the days, months and years of suffering as a sort of badge of honor, a certificate of their pain. It's almost their identity.
I bet there were also some folks around the pool who had been there a long time, like our invalid friend, who knew nothing more than the mat they laid on by the pool where they waited. Because they had been there for so long, life on the mat had become the norm for them. In fact, even though they were laying beside the pool to be healed, I am sure there was a bit of fear of the change and what a new life would bring to them. Sitting there was easier and safer than the change that waited for them.
Again, you might know people like this or maybe you even see yourself in a few of these scenarios. You know healing from your past or from your pain is what you should want, but the fear of change, the fear of a new life, of freedom, is more than you can bear. So you choose to stay sitting by the pool. You settle. Instead of a life that is free and abundant, you choose safety in your complacency. You decide to stay sitting by the pool.