The Pool of Bethesda
There was a pool near what was known as the Sheep Gate in Jesus’ day. It was a part of a larger complex of cisterns which collected water for use in the Temple. Also there, were small pools which were used for medicinal purposes. Legend said that from time to time an angel would stir the waters. The first person in when the waters were stirred would receive their healing. Jesus came to this place in John chapter six. Many sick people were there including a man who had been lame for thirty-eight years. Jesus asked him, “Do you want to get well?” The man’s response hints at a spirit which had soured over the years of his illness,
“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
Jesus, with a simple command, cut through the years of his illness, his blaming, and the magic and superstition associated with that place; “Get up, pick up your mat and walk!”
The lame man was healed in that instant and rose up delivered from his illness.
These pools which date back to the Roman era have been found. It is a wonderful place which was commemorated by a fourth century Byzantine church. A Crusader church followed. Today there is a more recent French Catholic Church with a happy priest (a rather rare sight) at the door. 🙂
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