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Ruins in Jerusalem Match the Biblical Record: Jesus & The Pool of Bethesda - Drive Thru History

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

Video from Drive Thru History

Ruins in Jerusalem Match the Biblical Record

The Pool of Bethesda was “in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate” (John 5:2), which places it north of the temple, near Fort Antonia. John gives the additional detail that the pool was “surrounded by five covered colonnades.” During Jesus’ time, the Pool of Bethesda lay outside the city walls. It was at this pool that Jesus performed a miracle showing that He is greater than any human malady and that superstition and religious folklore are foolish and feeble substitutes for faith in God.

The Pool of Bethesda was used in ancient times to provide water for the temple. The mention of the “Upper Pool” in 2 Kings 18:17 may be a reference to the Pool of Bethesda. Sometime during the Hasmonean Period, an additional pool was added to the original one.

The name of the pool, “Bethesda,” is Aramaic. It means “House of Mercy.” John tells us that “a great number of disabled people used to lie [there]—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed” (John 5:3). The covered colonnades would have provided shade for the disabled who gathered there, but there was another reason for the popularity of the Pool of Bethesda. Legend had it that an angel would come down into the pool and “stir up the water.” The first person into the pool after the stirring of the water “was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted” (John 5:4, NAS). The Bible does not teach that this actually happened—John 5:4 is not included in most modern translations because it is unlikely to be original to the text—rather, the superstitious belief probably arose because of the pool’s association with the nearby temple.

On the day that Jesus visited the Pool of Bethesda, there was a man there who “had been an invalid for thirty-eight years” (John 5:5). Jesus asked the man if he wanted to be healed. The man 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” (verse 7). Obviously, the man believed the urban legend about the stirring of the water. He blamed the fact that he was never healed on his tardiness in getting into the water..." from the article: What Happened at the Pool of Bethesda?

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