Living Waters of Our Faith

John 5: 1-16
Ez 47:1-9,12 / Psa 46

“See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may befall you.”
(John 5:14)

As water is life, so is God’s Word
Healing me of all my affliction;
Steadfast is the promise of our Lord,
As a river flows to the ocean.

It was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. There is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Hebrew called Bethesda, with five porticoes. In these lay a multitude of invalids, blind, lame, paralyzed. One man was there, who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew that he had been ill for a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his mat and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who was cured, “It is the Sabbath, it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.” But he answered them, “The man who healed me said to me, ‘Take up your mat, and walk.'” They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, `Take up your mat, and walk’?” Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. Afterward, Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may befall you.” The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. And this was why the Jews persecuted Jesus, because He did this on the Sabbath. (John 5: 1-16)

Reflection

The crippled man had put his faith in the stagnant pool of Bethesda, and for 38 years waited in vain for a miracle. But when our Lord met him, all it needed was just a few words of His command, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk,” and the man was instantly healed.

The pool of Bethesda was constructed in such a way that it only collected rain water, stagnant, just like the man-made traditions of the Jews – i.e., their strict observance of the Sabbath — keeping their faith blind, lame and paralyzed. It is only in Christ Jesus, and in the life-giving waters of His Church that the prophet Ezekiel described in the first reading (Ezek. 47:12) where we can find true sustenance and healing for our body and soul. Our Church is the temple that Ezekiel prophesied about, and the fresh spring waters that flow from underneath it are the sacraments — like Baptism, Confirmation, Matrimony, Holy Orders, Penance, and the Holy Eucharist — that our Lord Jesus instituted to make us bear fruit and be healed of all our infirmities. “Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live” (Ezek. 47:9). Psalm 46:4 (Responsorial) also speaks of “a river, whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.” This river of Christianity has spread throughout the whole world through the missionaries of the Church and its various denominations.

These fresh waters also represent the living Word of God, whose power gives life and heals all infirmities. Just as God dwells in the holy Sacraments instituted by Jesus, He is also present in Holy Scriptures, which hold the promise of a new life in Christ.

We praise You, Lord, for making us realize that the healing of our soul’s paralysis, such as the forgiveness of our sins, is more important than the healing of our physical ailments, or even the observance of our man-made traditions. Thank You for our Church, the Bride of our Lord Jesus, and for Your saving Word. Amen.

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