OUTSIDE the northern wall of the temple area at Jerusalem may be found the remains of a basin supposed to have been the pool of Bethesda, beside whose waters Jesus healed a man who, it was said, had suffered from an infirmity for thirty-eight years. The circumstances connected with this healing are related in the fifth chapter of the Gospel of John, where it is stated that a great multitude of people, having divers diseases, were waiting at the pool for a periodical agitation of the waters, when, according to a generally accepted belief, an angel "troubled" the water, after which, whosoever first stepped into the pool was healed of whatsoever disease he might seem to manifest. As Jesus was passing by he paused and said to the impotent man, "Wilt thou be made whole?" The man replied, "Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me." Whereupon Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up thy bed, and walk;" and, "immediately," the narrative states, "the man was made whole." Later, upon meeting him in the temple, Jesus said, "Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee."
The question, "Wilt thou be made whole?" which Jesus asked the one who believed that certain waters could cure him, is the same question which Christ, Truth, is asking to-day of those who may still be looking for healing through material means. "To be every whit whole, writes Mrs. Eddy in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (pp.369, 370), "man must be better spiritually as well as physically." A few lines farther on she adds, "The body improves under the same regimen which spiritualizes the thought." A dictionary gives the definition of "regimen" as "a systematic course of living," which makes it clear that if one would experience true health and peace he should seek to spiritualize his thinking and living. Systematic living also implies conforming to an accepted standard of rules and regulations. The Ten Commandments, upon which was based the moral law, were designed to establish a system of living that would promote righteousness, health, and prosperity; but the moral law lacked the spiritual vision of true love and true brotherliness.
Christ Jesus brought to the world a gospel of kindness and good will; he urged men to seek the truth and live it, if they would be free from the ills of the flesh and find the way to heaven and harmony. Practice of the course of living which Jesus recommended would have prevented the world's subsequent suffering and poverty, but the divine Principle and rule by which alone it could have been demonstrated were not understood; and eventually the Master's teachings were partially forgotten, or remembered only as applicable to certain favored generations of the past. Christian Science, however, has come to this age to reestablish the teachings of the Master. As stated by Mrs. Eddy in the Preface to Science and Health (p. xi): "The physical healing of Christian Science results now, as in Jesus' time, from the operation of divine Principle, before which sin and disease lose their reality in human consciousness and disappear as naturally and as necessarily as darkness gives place to light and sin to reformation. Now, as then, these mighty works are not supernatural, but supremely natural. They are the sign of Immanuel, or, 'God with us,'—a divine influence ever present in human consciousness and repeating itself, coming now as was Promised aforetime.
"To preach deliverance to the captives [of
And recovering of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty them that are bruised."
To those who desire to be made whole, Christian Science brings a full salvation, because it makes known to the receptive thought the Christ, Truth, which to-day, as of old, "taketh away the sin of the world," and makes whole the body through spiritual renewal of the mind. That sin is a prolific source of disease Jesus indicated when he said to the man whom he had healed, "Sin no more;" and this warning applies to all who seek to prove the truths of Christian Science.
The term "sin" does not necessarily refer to gross forms of evil, guilt, or transgression of law; but, as one authority gives it, "sin is any lack of holiness, any defect of moral purity and truth, whether in heart or life, whether of commission or omission." As it is written in the first epistle of John, "All unrighteousness is sin." If, then, one desires to be completely healed, sinful thoughts and purposes must be eliminated. When through right thinking and right acting consciousness is uplifted and purified, one quickly regains the true sense of health and happiness, and learns that sin, sickness, poverty, distress, and limitation of every kind are healed by one and the same metaphysical process, namely, by bringing to human consciousness the light of Truth, before which the errors of material sense disappear.
There is nothing mysterious about the power of divine Mind, as manifest in healing sickness and sin; for its salutary purpose is to allay fear and to turn thought away from seeming material discords to the consideration of spiritual realities. The silent utterances of Truth open to consciousness the kingdom of God. If one desires to be made "every whit whole," he strives to enter into the "kingdom," wherein are peace, health, joy, and right activity. Certain conditions of thought, however, are necessary in order to receive healing; and Jesus indicated one of these conditions when he said, "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." To be "converted," or transformed, one must first become convinced of the errors of belief which he may be harboring, and be willing to give them up; he must turn away from pride, selfishness, and harmful pleasures, and strive to become receptive, humble, obedient, and, in the manner of a little child, willing to let the divine Mind lead and guide him into the light of Truth and Love. Jesus likened the kingdom of heaven to the "leaven" which a woman might put into meal until the whole was leavened, changed, converted. Applying the truth of being to human problems spiritualizes thought as naturally as the leaven changes the state of the meal.
Being healed of sickness and sin in Christian Science and coming into the "kingdom" are one and the same thing, namely, learning to live under the government of the one Mind. That "the body improves under the same regimen which spiritualizes the thought," Mrs. Eddy shows even more clearly in the following statement from Science and Health (p. 162): "Christian Science brings to the body the sunlight of Truth, which invigorates and purifies. Christian Science acts as an alterative, neutralizing error with Truth. It changes the secretions, expels humors, dissolves tumors, relaxes rigid muscles, restores carious bones to soundness. The effect of this Science is to stir the human mind to a change of base, on which it may yield to the harmony of the divine Mind." This is true healing.
In the treatment of disease the student of Christian Science seeks to discern the spiritual import of Jesus' words and works, to the end that he may more clearly understand the divine Principle and rule by means of which the Master uprooted error and destroyed sin. Jesus' clear comprehension of the nature of sin and its effects upon the body shows that both his teachings and his demonstrations were based wholly upon spiritual cause and effect. In the case of the healing of the man at Bethesda, Jesus, through his understanding of divine law, instantly discerned the falsity of belief in material cause and effect; and the record states, "Immediately the man was made whole." Though loosed from the infirmity which had bound him for so many years, this man had still to prove for himself, through a course of right living, that obedience to Truth not only makes one whole, but keeps one so.
Though censured and reviled because of this healing which took place at Bethesda, Jesus emphatically declared to his persecutors from whence he received his power, saying, "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do." And he followed up this assertion by giving them the testimony of John, of the Scriptures, and of his works. In fact, in the controversy which followed this remarkable healing the Master gave an authoritative and powerful argument in support of his gospel and of his healing works. By many witnesses, Christian Science is also testifying that the truth which Jesus proclaimed and demonstrated is the living, operating truth, and that to-day, as in the Master's time, those who desire to be "made whole," who are receptive of the truth, are healed physically and made better spiritually, through the power of the divine Mind alone.