Regarding Christ Jesus’ statement to the man he healed at the pool of Bethesda: after Jesus found him in the temple, “Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee” (John 5:14), does this suggest the possibility of relapse? So that even Jesus’ healing works needed further prayerful protection or understanding to cement the healing? And also, as a follow-up, what would be a “worse thing”?
—A reader in Washington, US
A: At the Bethesda fountain, when Christ Jesus asked the man with the 38-year-old infirmity if he would like to be made whole, the man didn’t answer, “Oh yes, please, more than anything else.” He offered an excuse as to why he was not able to be healed. He said there was no man to put him into the pool—a pool that he believed was filled with health-giving water. His total reliance and trust in material ways and means was glaringly obvious. Christ Jesus’ natural ability to behold the perfect man of God’s creating pierced this man’s illusion of infirmity and made him whole.
Mary Baker Eddy tells us, “Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pp. 476–477). Later, in the temple, the man was told to stop sinning—to stop looking to matter and material ways for his life and his livelihood, perhaps with an “anything goes” attitude that Jesus may have detected in his thought. Christ Jesus’ words did not predict a relapse of the old condition, but a possibility of further trouble of a more serious nature, if a change in the man’s thought and behavior did not take place. Mrs. Eddy writes, “Mind produces all action. . . . A relapse cannot in reality occur in mortals or so-called mortal minds, for there is but one Mind, one God” (Science and Health, p. 419).