After 38 years of paralysis, the man with no known name was on the verge of giving up. Homeless, helpless, heartsick and humiliated at his self-authored circumstance, his future was bleak beyond description.

And then Jesus walks by. We have no record of why He chose to stop and talk with this man, except that his was a particularly wretched case. “Would you like to get well?” Jesus’ question is among the most unusual recorded. The answer would seem self-evident. So it may have surprised Him, as it does me when I read it 20 centuries later, to hear “I can’t sir, for I have no one to help me into the water when it is stirred up…”(John 5:7, NLT).

His situation is so bad, his condition so long term, he actually brushes away the idea of healing. And then Jesus tells him to take up his bed and walk. The command is authoritative, authentic and so believable that he struggles to make his feet move. In that instant his health is restored, his life transformed, and jumping up he gathers his bedding and goes straight to the temple to worship.

The Bible record is sketchy regarding the personal life of this man. Jesus tells him later to change his lifestyle “lest something worse come upon you.” Although we don’t know this man’s name or much about him, I imagine him becoming an ardent follower of Jesus, doing anything to be with Him.

In our current world situation the Pool of Bethesda is often compared to healthcare facilities. Loma Linda Medical Center exists to “make man whole,” a recent iteration of their mission statement. Adventist Health System exists to “extend the healing ministry of Christ.” A sculpture at their corporate headquarters is titled “The healing at Bethesda.”

People go to the hospital when there is no other good solution to their health needs. Be it cancer care, palliative care, joint replacement or something as natural as birthing a baby, our hospitals are there to meet the need in a way that bears the stamp of heaven.

No, there is no magic like was rumored concerning the stirring up of the waters, and the nature of the treatment process is not usually instantaneous. Yet healing of any kind only comes with the life giving power of our wonderful creator God. That message is not lost in the hallways of modern Adventist healthcare.

In Mid-America we are privileged to have six full service hospitals and a growing number of outpatient facilities. As I regularly walk those campuses, hear stories of patients’ experiences and talk with the leadership, I sense that in a real way these healthcare facilities (although complex and challenging to operate) are for many people a sanctuary where they encounter the presence of the Lord in only a slightly less visible way than the man at the pool. And as with the pool in old Jerusalem, modern disciples can and do begin their walk with Jesus in the moment of supreme need in our hospitals.

In recent months Adventist Health System, led by its flagship institution Florida Hospital, has rolled out a health initiative designed to extend the healing ministry of Christ beyond hospital walls. CREATION Health is an educational medical outreach program emphasizing the original design our God expressed in the creation event in the beginning. When put to proper use, CREATION Health is a wonderful tool to assist one’s walk in discipleship with Jesus.

In all circumstances—for inpatients, outpatients, community residents and learners—our hospitals are truly advancing the cause of Jesus in our world; our church is blessed with their ministry.

I urge you to join me in praising the Lord for these wonderful care centers and to lift them up in prayer to be even more effective as we work together in anticipation of the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.