A multitude of sick and disabled people waited at a pool where an angel of the Lord was known to come and stir the waters. When this happened, whoever got into the water first was healed. John tells us that one man waited there thirty- eight years, hoping to be healed of his infirmity (verse 5).
Thirty-eight years! That’s a long time to suffer.
Does the Bible tell us what caused the illness? Yes, it does. When we look up “infirmity” in the Greek, it says, “weakness and in Infirmity” of the body and of the soul. This man was sick for thirty-eight years because he had a wound in his soul. And the Bible tells us that his wound was caused by sin.
Moved by compassion, our Lord healed the man who had waited so long for a miracle. But He also told him, “Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you…” (John 5:14, NIV). We can reasonably infer from this that the man was sick in his physical body, because the sins he committed were wounding his soul.
Soul wounds can make you physically sick, but they can also allow demonic spirits to afflict your physical body. The thirteenth chapter of Luke tells of the time Jesus healed a woman who was bent over by a spirit of infirmity, for eighteen years. Again, the word “infirmity” here means “weakness and infirmity” of the body and the soul. Like the man at the pool, this woman was also sick in her physical body because of a wound in her soul. But in her case that wound was allowing a demonic spirit to afflict her and cause her physical disease. How do I know? Because Jesus said that the woman had been bound by Satan (Luke 13:16).