Saint John by the fountain

There’s a fountain at our mall. During the day, the fountain runs, keeping the reflecting pool around it stirred up.  There are always people sitting in the benches around the pool, waiting for something. Or someone. Kids toss coins in the pool, which are gathered and given to Habitat and the Rescue Mission. You could say it is a healing kind of fountain. .

Early in the morning, the fountain is quiet. The benches are mostly empty, except for a couple guys who wait for walking buddies. And, this morning, Saint John of the Mall. The fountain is three-fourths of the way around our path. And I’d been wondering if John was at the mall this morning. We didn’t see him until we stopped at the blood pressure machines which face the water. As I sat there, I noticed John, talking with one of the men. The man’s cane was resting on the bench next to him.

Our blood pressure was fine. We walked toward John and the man. I heard John say, “Do you want to get well?”

The man talked about how long his knee had been hurting. He talked about how hard it was to get a doctor to listen. He talked about how much work it was to get help. He talked about a friend who dragged him along to the mall, just to get out of the house.

John asked him again: “Do you want to get well?”

I thought the man was tired of being picked on, so I walked up to them and greeted John. He introduced us to the man, Jakov. John said, “I’ll be back after a bit. Think about my question.” And then he started walking with us.

John said, “I’ll be back after a bit. Think about my question.” And then he started walking with us.

“We overheard your conversation,” I said. “Do you ever get frustrated when people make excuses rather than answering you? I mean, what would happen if he demonstrated a little faith? Wouldn’t you want to heal him then?”

I was thinking about the time that Jesus healed a man by a pool. And the time that Peter and John healed a man after Jesus  had ascended.

John scowled at me, just for a moment. “You don’t know the text very well. Both of those times, people were healed without any great belief at all. The only thing they did was to look up at the person talking with them. Healing’s not a reward for faith.”

We walked for a bit.

John started to smile, slowly. “In fact, I’ll say to you what Jesus told that man he healed. ‘Stop sinning.’ It’s what he usually said after he healed people. As if the physical healing was what the people cared most about, and the relationship with God was what Jesus cared most about.”

 

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

3 thoughts on “Saint John by the fountain

  1. Excellent post Jon. It’s ALL about the relationship! I believe in the story of Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior! Jesus is the Head of The Church. The founder of The Church. Jesus is the leader of The Church. This is Jesus’ Church! The thing that makes the church, The Church is JESUS! JESUS CHRIST IS GOD! Jesus reconciled us to God through The Cross. We all must develope an unapologetic discipline in God’s word.
    Btw, I’m enjoying the Saint John of the mall story and curious what his story, his goals are in Christ! Merry Christmas Jon to all your family members. May the gifts of Christ Jesus reign in your hearts to all you meet.

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  2. Wow, I have been loving your stories about Saint John at the Mall, and this one was excellent. Yes, God loves us just as we are and loves us too much to let us stay that way! But loves us with respect that change will be at our human pace, with our human limits, until that day when He wipes all the tears away.

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