The healing at the pool of Bethesda where “lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be healed?’” (5:3-6). Consider: 1) All these folks suffered from grievous maladies. 2) All were helpless to help themselves. 3) Jesus singled out one man, took the initiative, and asked if he wanted to be healed. 4) The sick man must answer, "Yes," and in fact, he did. 5) Jesus healed him.
Of course, this is a straightforward story about the healing of a physical sickness. But the components of the story are the very same as in the spiritual healing of a sinner. 1) He suffers from a terrible condition: sin. In fact, it's even worse than that. In his sin, the sinner is actually dead, and thus, 2) unable to help himself or to make himself alive. 3) Jesus comes to the sinner, and 4) the sinner is not merely passive, but must repent and believe. 5) The sinner is saved from his sin.
O, would the Lord appear,
My malady to heal!
He knows how long I’ve languish’d here,
And what distress I feel.
How often have I thought,
Why should I longer lie?
Surely the mercy I have sought
Is not for such as I.
No: he is full of grace;
He never will permit
A soul that fain would see his face,
To perish at his feet. –John Newton