By The Pool (3 AM Epiphany: Point of View - Family Consciousness)
By The Pool
Every morning I sat by that pool. I would mind my business as people walked around me and sometimes bumped into me. Since I could not walk, there was nothing else for me to do. This was our pool: the pool of mercy. Healthy people dared not enter into this area; they might have caught our diseases. The ignorant fools. We sat there from dawn until dusk, from the moment our family members dropped us off until the moment they retrieved us. We weren’t allowed in the community. Nope…we just sat by the pool…waiting.
She was such a precious baby. I would rock her to sleep each night and cuddle with her each morning before I left to tend the sheep. Three years of the same routine; then my heart broke. A three-year-old should be walking, moving around at the very least. Instead, Adina just sat there and stared at the ceiling. She was so loving and vocal, but her legs would not work. In our community, our only option was to drop her off at the Pool of Mercy each morning with others who were sick, lame, mute, or otherwise stricken. Our daughter, our pride and joy, feeling discarded each day with other individuals who were forgotten for 12 hours a day. It was gut-wrenching pain to leave her. Even more, it hurt to see how many others there were. But what could I do? Though they said the spring water would heal them, I never saw anyone healed. I just obeyed the laws and brought her to the pool.
Adina…Adina. She is the most precious thing in my world. I held her within my womb for ten long months before she arrived and nearly died that night. It was painful…so painful Nahor had chosen to forget what happened. She was breech and her legs were broken during the removal process; he didn’t mean to do it. The technology available today would have prevented this from happening, but back then…well, you did what you had to do so the baby could live. We knew she would never walk, and thought perhaps the tragedy of being in what we now know as “fetal distress” would cause cognitive delays as well. But our Adina…she is a fighter. She is the most intelligent lady I know. It pained me each morning to see Nahor wrap her up and take her to that pool. The Pool of Mercy….hmph. Every day for 30 years, he took her to that pool and dropped her to spend her day with invalids and lepers. In our community, our sick or disabled relatives were not allowed to mingle with “regular” society. They had to be kept outside the gates at the pool. After much fighting, we were able to get the king to agree to have them sleep in our homes, but we had to disinfect it every morning so no one caught the illnesses. Catching broken bones…who ever heard of such a thing? Since Nahor wouldn’t recall the events of Adina’s birth, everyone considered it a mysterious illness that was deteriorating her legs. The doctors said there is no explanation for her illness so it must have been a plague. A plague. My heart still breaks for the pain she must have felt sitting there each day alone within the crowd.
I don’t hate my parents for what they did. They didn’t have a choice. We lived in a horrible community that was ignorant to what truly caused various diseases. I improved mentally and emotionally by sitting on the side of the pool. I think that is why I became so comfortable there. I was able to sit among others who were hurt inside. Their outside appearance defined them to others; and their true identities were never seen. I often think back to those days and laugh over how silly it was to be discarded like that and how we reacted to one another. Like the time one of the lepers was wading in the water, hoping to be healed of the sores on her body…oh boy did that not fly over so well with the others. Who was she to go into the water with all those sores on her body? Or the lady who had been bleeding for years and came to receive her healing…how the men were so disgusted with her. Lepers avoiding her. She avoiding invalids. All of them just agonizing over how to not become sicker since the water was not healing us as it should have been. Why are these good memories? Because I learned to love people for who they were inside not what they looked like outside. I learned to look beyond people’s masks and see their souls. So many beautiful people sat there…like the man who had been there every day for 38 years, crutches by his side, hoping that one day would be his lucky day.
I still remember the day Adina came home talking about how one of the women at the pool told her about this Jesus fellow. Jesus? She told Adina, our sweet Jewish princess, that the Messiah had arrived and that his name was Yeshua. I told Adina quickly to avoid listening to such nonsense. We knew that this man was not who she claimed to be. But then a few days later she came home saying that the woman had dared walk into the city and touched the hem of that man’s garment. She was healed instantly. Even more, Adina told us, she went back to the pool to tell of them. I did not know if that was cruel humor or if she truly believed she was healed. I have seen the woman in town and the king’s men have yet to pull her out of the community. Could it be? Could there really be a healing for my little girl?
I saw the man walking through town…so many people crowded around him, yelling things, praising him, falling at his feet. That is when I noticed a young woman crawling through the crowd. She looked familiar…but how would I know such a woman? She was dirty. She was covered in blood from her waist down. She was unclean. She belonged at the pool. Yes…that is what I thought of this woman…that she belonged at the pool with my daughter. My precious Adina, had I truly thought of her as an unclean being? What was wrong with me? As I processed this in my mind, I continued to watch as this woman crawled her way through the crowd and reached out to touch the man’s garment. He turned instantly and stopped the crowd. “Who touched me?” He asked. The woman stood and said it was she who had touched him. What happened next blew my mind. “Woman, your faith has made you whole.” The man just looked at her and loved her. She walked away with her head high instead of crawling out of the crowd. Oh the crowd got angry. I returned home, trying to process what I had just witnessed. Surely this man could not truly be the Messiah that we have been told about? Right?
The questioning in my heart started a few days earlier when the woman with the issue of the blood came running into the pool telling us we could all be healed. She had been healed of her illness and it was that man Yeshua who had done it. We just had to believe and touch him and we would be whole again. Sure, lady. Sure we will. Who did she think she was giving this false hope? Yet, something in my heart wanted so badly to believe. I tried to pick up my mat with my hands and move from my spot, but my legs were not obedient. They just remained limp. The man next to me laughed. “Why do you try any longer? Only this man can heal us. But we have to get him here if we want to be healed. What if he really did heal her? She may be able to get him to come back.” Who was this man they spoke of that he would care about us anyway? I wanted so badly to finally be whole. So I cried out to God that evening and asked if this man was truly the Messiah that he would come to us and set us free.
I was cleaning the house that afternoon when Adina came running through door. Yes, you heard me correctly: she came running through the door. I fell to my knees immediately. I knew what had happened. I knew that she must have met that man and that he really was the Messiah, Yeshua. Oh I cried and cried. What a blessing to have my little girl standing with me and hugging me. My baby. My princess. She was standing there crying and kept praising Yeshua for her healing. “Momma, you should have seen it. First he healed the man who has been there before me and then he turned to me, told me to pick my head up and look at him, and told me to pick my mat up and return home to my family and tell others of my healing.” She said so joyously. She told me all about it and we left to find Nahor. He had to see our baby, who hadn’t walked and had been dropped off every morning for 30 years at that pool. He had to see her walk up to him and give him a hug.
It was unbelievable. Oh, the joy. I still remember how I passed out the moment I saw her. I could not believe my eyes. Surely someone had put wine in my water. Adina…walking with Ruth to my pasture. Adina, whose legs were broken and who had never known what it was like to move, was walking. Walking. She couldn’t contain herself…really, it was more like a skip. When I woke up from passing out, I saw her standing over me. How tall was! My beautiful girl would finally be beautiful to all the world. I couldn’t wait to tell others what had happened. But then it hit me…what had happened? How was she walking? Was it possible…did that man go see her…did he care about those nobody else thought twice about? I immediately asked Ruth and Adina if we could walk by the pool. “Nobody is there, Daddy.” Adina exclaimed. “We were all healed.”
It was an amazing day. I can remember it like it was yesterday though it happened nearly 40 years ago. I was sitting by the pool and this man came over to the crippled man with mat who had been there for 38 years and said, “Get up. Take your mat and go.” Was he crazy? Get up…sure let him just hop up on his…what…he was up on his feet! He was walking! I remember thinking that I was dreaming. The man who had just healed him looked at me and said, “Get up. Take your mat and look at me. Now go and tell your family of your healing.” I tapped my feet in the water to see if it was real. Oh the coolness. I always wondered what the water felt like. I saw the eyes staring at me. So many people watching. The man looked at me again and I dropped to my knees. “Get up. Take your mat and go.” He said again. I wanted to stay there and worship but I felt this feeling in my heart…I had to go tell everyone what had happened. Tell them, I laughed…as if they wouldn’t see me and know!
LABrashear directed me to 3 AM Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises that Transform Your Fiction by Brian Kiteley. Instead of reviewing the book for you, I will lead you to LABrashear's excellent review here.
Upon encouragement from LABreasher, I have decided to share my responses to Kiteley's exercises with the Hubpages Community. I know that you are honest and will provide valuable feedback so I implore you to read and provide constructive feedback to help me improve. I will remember to thank you in my first book's Acknowledgements page!
If you would like to join along, provide feedback with the link to your hub or site so I can enjoy your work as well! Let's grow together as we become better writers. If you are not a writer, please share how you feel about the work as a reader! Thank you for your feedback and support as I go through this challenge.
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This challenge, Point of View Exercise 7: Family Consciousness, is to write an 800 word story from the point of view of a family. I have always been the type of person who wants to know the story behind the supporting characters within a story. For this piece, I chose a character who was next to the man lying on his mat at the Pool of Bethesda, who Jesus healed. I enjoyed writing it and letting my imagination run with what it must have felt like to drop your family member off at the pool and see them come home without the healing they desperately wanted, as well as from the point of view of the sick family members.
I hope more of you will join in this challenge and share your writing. If you do, please remember to leave a note below so I can add links to your hubs from the ones for that challenge!
Other Hubbers' Responses to Exercise 7
- The 3 A.M. Epiphany - Exercise7
The family conscious.