And, here, among them, is a man lying at a pool who had been paralytic for thirty-eight years, and every day had come to the pool, hoping to be delivered from his disease, but only saw every year, every month, every day, others delivered. But, a man, yes, it is Jesus, is coming to him, and saying, “Do you want to be made well?” “Are you kidding me? Yes, of course! That is why I have come to this pool every day for last thirty-eight years.” But the man does not respond to him like that. Yes, he is so desperate and despondent, but he still grabs a string of hope. Probably, this guy is the first person who has ever come to him and talked to him. Probably, this guy is the person who would be willing to help him to get in the pool.
“Sir, I don’t have anyone here to put me in the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am trying to get in, somebody else gets there first.” How miserable it is, and how heartbroken his story is, and how pitiable his life is. He has not had anyone here to help him to get in the pool, and to share with him his hardness, and to walk together through his loneliness, his pain, his suffering, and his despair. He has been ignored, neglected, abandoned, and isolated for last thirty-eight years. He has become ‘no one’ here and there in his society, and invisible to others. He has no one, he has nothing. So many people are there. The pool has been always crowded with the people who are sick or not sick, but no one has been willing to help him. He is alone. People come with their family, friends, or neighbors. But no one for him. He is alone. For him, this pool is only chance to be delivered from his disease, his loneliness, and it has become a kind of, a way of salvation, but it is too far from him to come close, too far from him to reach out and hold. Nothing he has, no one he has. But he has come again, again, and again, in despair but in hope.
Now, however, at last, a man has come to him. He does not know who this guy coming and talking to him is. But, sure, he is the man he has waited for, for last thirty-eight years, he must be the man who willing to help him to get in the pool, and he will finally be delivered from this disease, and can walk. It is the time to be delivered from this suffering. His hope is coming to him, and talking to him, “Do you want to be made well?” “Sir, I have no one, no close friend, no neighbour, even no family who are willing to help me to get into the pool.” He does not know yet, this man will and can do infinitely more than he can expect, ask, or imagine. “Yes, this man is going to put me in the pool.” But He is not the man whom he have expected to come. He is not just a helper who puts him in a pool of healing, but, He Himself is the pool itself, and the river of life, flowing from the throne of God. He does not know yet, ‘Who He is’, ‘What He is going to do for him, for the people’.
Let me read the rest of this story (vv. 10-18). “The day this happened was a Sabbath, so the Jews said to the man who had been cured, “This is a Sabbath, and it is against our Law for you to carry your mat.” He answered them, “The man who made me well told me to take up my mat and walk.” They asked him, “Then, who is the man who told you, “Take it up and walk?” But the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for there was a crowd in that place, and Jesus had slipped away. Afterward, Jesus found him in the Temple and said to him, “See, you have been made well! Do not sin any more, so that nothing worse happens to you.” Then the man left and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. Therefore, the Jews started persecuting Jesus, because he was doing such things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, “My Father is still working, and I also am working.” For this reason, the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because he was not only breaking the sabbath, but was also calling God his own Father, thereby making himself equal to God.”
For them the Jews, those people lying at the pool are unwhole, unclean, not well. But they see the man healed and made well, walking in the temple, and they said to him, “You are cured now. However, sorry, you are still unwhole, unclean, not well, because you did wrong on a Sabbath. It is not lawful for you to carry your mat, it is the Sabbath, God’s day.” But, they are the people who stand against the Law. They have not done anything for him, for them, on the Sabbath. “Hello, we are here. We are here in your midst. Help us. We need your help, your love. Look at us. We are still here.” They were crying. And, the Son of God was there at the pool to love, to help them, and to be with them, He was not here in the temple among the righteous, but there at the pool among them, the sinners, the poor, the sick, those in need, on the Sabbath. But they were not there at the pool, but here in the temple. “You did wrong on a Sabbath, you did break our Law, the Torah, the Moses’ Law given from God, you did violate our tradition and teaching coming from the ancestors.” He has not been welcomed before, and now he is still not welcomed. But, God is love. And God’s law is a law of love for God and for human beings.
But the law without love, is not God’s law.
“The Sabbath was made for humankind; not humankind for the Sabbath. So, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27-28). Jesus, the Son of God, is God’s incarnate love revealed to us, and the love is the source of all creation. And the Son has come for the good of human beings whom God the Father created. The Sabbath came from God’s creation of love, and the Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath. The Sabbath is for human, not human for the Sabbath. And the Lord of the Sabbath works good for his people on the Sabbath.
God is love. So, the Father is still working on the Sabbath, and His Son also is working on the Sabbath. But, the Sabbath without love, is not God’s Sabbath.
“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31-32). Those who were lying at the pool are not well, and need a doctor, and the doctor has come to them. But the Pharisees and the scribes in the temple, they think, they are righteous and doing well, and do not need a doctor. So, they were not there at the pool, but here in the temple. But, the Lord, the Son of God was there at the pool, not here in the temple. A lord who has left his house, is dwelling with and among the people outside the house. But they do not know where their lord is now, and their lord has decided to tear down his old house and to build a new house among the people whom they have thought and regarded not well, not whole.
God is love. Where His love is, there He is. Where the Lord is, there His house is. He Himself is the love, He Himself the house, He Himself the Temple. But the temple without love, is not God’s temple any more.
In the book of Revelation, Apostle John tells us what he saw in vision, “I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Rev. 21:22-23). “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (22:1). It is not just a vision that John saw, but it is what was happening to the man lying at the pool, and what has already happened already to us all.
“I have no one to help me get in the pool.” But Jesus has come to him lying at the pool in despair but in hope. He has not come to put him in a pool, but, He Himself to become the pool of healing, and He Himself to become the river of life itself, flowing from God’s love for us. Jesus, the Lamb of God, the incarnate love of God, has not come to rebuild a temple, but, He Himself to become the Temple itself, and He Himself to become a dwelling place for us all to live for ever.
And today, Jesus who came to the man lying at the pool, now is present among them, becoming one of those who sitting, lying, or drifting in the street, on the sea, and in every corner of despair, darkness, suffering, pain, and sorrow, but in hope, still waiting for someone to come to put them in a pool of love and mercy and justice of God.
And the Jesus with them is saying to us, to the church, “As I have become a neighbor, a friend, and a family to them, become their neighbor, their friend, their family. As I have become the pool of life and love, become to them, and to one another, a pool of love, a little stream flowing from the river of life.”
Dear friends in Christ, “Let us love one another as the Lord has loved us. Let us become a pool of love to one another as the Lord has become to us.” Amen.