The impotent man answered him, 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.
The impotent man answered him, Sir,.... Which was a common and courteous way of speaking, much in use with the Jews, especially to strangers. The Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions read, "yea Lord", which is a direct answer to the question:
I have no man; the Ethiopic version reads, "men"; he had no servant, so Nonnus, or servants, to wait upon him, and take him up in their arms, and carry him into the pool; he was a poor man, and such God is pleased to choose and call by his grace:
when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool; that is, as soon as it is troubled by the angel, to put him in first before any other; for it was the first man only that had a cure this way:
but while I am coming; in a slow way, by the help of his crutches, or in the best manner he could:
another steppeth down before me; not so much disordered, or more active and nimble: so among those that wait on the ministry of the word, some are sooner in Christ, or earlier called by his grace, than others; some lie here a long time, and see one and another come to Christ, believe in him, profess his name, and are received into the church; and they still left, in an uncalled and unconverted estate.