Identification Of The Biblical Site
According to the Gospel of John, Bethesda was a bathing pool with five porticoes .
Until the 19th century, there was no clear archaeological evidence for the existence of such a pool. The Pool of Bethesda was sometimes identified by commentators with the modern so-called Fountain of the Virgin, in the Kidron Valley, not far from the Pool of Siloam, or alternatively with the Birket Isrâ’il, a pool near the mouth of the valley, which runs into the Kidron south of St. Stephen’s Gate. Others identified it with the twin pools then called the Souterrains , under the Convent of the Sisters of Zion subsequent archaeological investigation has identified these with the later Struthion Pool.
However, as early as the fifth century, there was a Byzantine church in what became the precincts of the Church of St. Anne, called the Church of the Probatike or the Church of the Lame Man. This site, as subsequently excavated by archaeologists, seems plausibly to fit the description in John’s Gospel.
An Invalid For 38 Years
Now John introduces us to the subject of Jesus’ healing that day. Of all the wretched people gathered at poolside that day, Jesus selected this one man.
“5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’ 7 ‘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.’ 8 Then Jesus said to him, ‘Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’9 At once the man was cured he picked up his mat and walked.
We’re not told of the man’s particular problem. He is referred to as an “invalid” , one “who had been ill” , “had an infirmity” . The word is a general word referring to “a state of debilitating illness, sickness, disease.”
I assume that he was not merely lame, making his way on crutches, but paralyzed, since he was lying on a mat and couldn’t get into the water very easily by himself. I’m guessing that some people, perhaps relatives or neighbors, carried him to the pool every morning and home every night. But during the day they would need to work to support themselves and him, and there was no one he could rely on to help him. No friend.
Jesus has learned — probably from talking with the man himself — that he has been an invalid for 38 years. I can almost hear him recite to Jesus his litany of complaint about his sad and miserable life.
Hellenistic And Roman Temples
In the 1st century BC, natural caves to the east of the two pools were turned into small baths, as part of an asclepieion however, the Mishnah implies that at least one of these new pools was sacred to Fortuna, the goddess of fortune, rather than Asclepius, the god of healing. Scholars think it likely that this development was founded by the Roman garrison of the nearby Antonia Fortress, who would also have been able to protect it from attack. Also, the asclepieion’s location outside the then city walls would have made its presence tolerable to the Jews, who might otherwise have objected to a non-Jewish religious presence in their holy city.
In the mid 1st century AD, Herod Agrippa expanded the city walls, bringing the asclepieion into the city. When Hadrian rebuilt Jerusalem as Aelia Capitolina, he placed a roadway along the dam, and expanded the asclepieion into a large temple to Asclepius and Serapis.
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Is There A Danger In Waiting For Jesus At Bethesda
Isaiah 40:31 reminds us that . . . those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Waiting patiently is a fruit of the spirit, but there comes a time we need to do something. That is, after hoping and praying for improvement in our health, we need to act upon our renewed strength. We can listen to Gods voice and follow his lead when moving forward with our health plan.
In a Crosswalk.com article, The Men in Christs Life: The Man at the Healing Pool, by Kris Swiatocho of The Singles Network Ministries , he comments, You dummy, get your parents to help you into the pool. What about your friends, where are they? While you are laying there haven’t you met anybody else who might help you? Why not get close enough so it is only a foot away when its time? In his article, Kris Swiatocho encourages his readers to plan for success and avoid failure by making changes in their lives.
Its wise and Gospel-based to see a pool filled with hope and opportunity and then dive in. Pray to God for healing today. And respond with action when you hear His voice telling you what to do for a better life.
What Was The Purpose Of The Pool Of Bethesda
The Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem was where sick people gathered with hopes of being cured of their illnesses. The Aramaic word Bethesda means house of mercy or house of grace in English. Lounging at one of the five porticos or porches adjacent to the pool, the ill people waited and watched for an angel to stir the water. The hopeful, diseased people at the poolside believed that the first person to step into the water after it was stirred by an angel was healed .
A German archeologist living in Jerusalem unearthed surrounded by four porticoswith a fifth portico dividing the pool into two separate poolsin 1956. The site is in Jerusalem, close to the Church of Saint Anne and near the Sheep Gate, true to its location described in John 5:2. There are sections of the pool up to 40 feet deep and other areas with small caverns and shallow baths.
The pool is believed to have been used throughout history for ritualistic baths as well as a place where invalids waited to step into the pool for healing. The Bethesda Pool where Jesus healed the paralytic man believed to have been a mikveh, or ritual bath, in the time of Christ. Roman citizens in Jerusalem a century or two later had medicinal baths constructed at the Bethesda Pool. To commemorate Jesus healing the lame man at the Pool of Bethesda, Christians controlling Jerusalem in the later Byzantine and Crusader periods added a chapel and churches that now cover the Bethesda Pool complex.
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The Story Of The Man At The Pool Of Bethesda And Lessons
The Story Of The Man At The Pool Of Bethesda And Lessons
KEY SCRIPTURES: Isaiah 40:31 Psalms 27:14 Habakkuk 2:3
Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength they shall mount up with wings as eagles they shall run, and not be weary and they shall walk, and not faint.
Ii At The Pool Of Bethesda We See An Unabashed Command
1. Jesus asked this man if he wanted to be whole.
1) There is no indication that the man believed on Jesus as the source of his cure at all.
2) We learn later that this man didnt even know who Jesus was .
3) The man didnt answer Jesus question directly.
4) The answer was obvious: of course he wanted to be cured!
5) But he didnt have anyone to let him down into the water before another got in and he wasnt expecting a cure without such.
6) No doubt he thought that Jesus was going to put him in the water as this seemed to be his only concern.
1) He tells him to Rise, take up his bed, and walk.
2) What went unstated was that Jesus made this man whole without the man asking for it.
3) Here is the command that Jesus was unashamed to give.
4) And the man immediately rose and took his bed and started walking.
3. Again we learn some lessons from this.
1) We ought not be blind to other possibilities.
a. This man could only see his cure coming through the pool.
b. Jesus, however, saw other possibilities.
c. How often are we blind to our own preconceptions?
d. Luke 18:27 says, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
2) Jesus gave the man what he needed, not what he wanted.
a. How many times in this life do we think our wants are our needs?
b. They taught us in the computer business to get people to tell us what they needed not what they wanted.
c. Matthew 6:8 for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
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Healing At The Pool Childrens Sermon
Childrens MessageHealing at the Pool: Jesus, the true Lifeguard
Main Objective: Its important for us to realize andrecognize where our trust and hope are found. We need to pay attention to GodsWord and to be open to its truth. If we put our faith in the wrong things, wemight miss the beauty of potential blessings.
Law/Gospel Theme: Early church leaders were oftenfocused on the letter of the law. Not only did they insist on following rules,but they often spread rumors or relied on superstitious legends for potentialhope. Christ came to fulfill those laws and to provide true healing. Somepeople missed that, but for those who were willing, He brought new life.
Optional Materials: Pool toys or swimming gear, optional other good luck charm items
- Sermon 4 Kids has a message on this passage titled You are a changed person
- Dollar Store Children Sermons has video teaching for all the May 26 lectionary readings
- Weve posted a full Sunday School Lesson on this same passage
Christ Healing The Paralytic At The Pool Of Bethesda
Christ Healing the Paralytic at the Pool of Bethesda is a 1667-1670 oil on canvas painting by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, now in the National Gallery, London, to which it was presented by the Art Fund, which had bought it for £8,000 the body had been given by Graham Robertson’s executors. It had been in Paris by 1812 before being acquired by Colonel George Tomline and remaining in British private collections until 1950.
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Ways To Tell The Story:
This story can be told using a variety of methods. Always remain true to the facts found in the Bible but help children connect to its meaning by using drama, visual aids, voice inflection, student interaction and/or emotion.
. The illustrations are the copyright of Arabs for Christ and are made available for free download under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.
What Are Some Things We Learn From This Event
1. There were crowd in the place but Jesus chose to heal just this man. What do you think may be the reason? Jesus told us that he has been in that condition in that place for a long time. Jesus must have seen the perseverance of this man. He being in that condition for 38 years and despite the smarter people around him jumping first, he still persevered. How many of us today are in a situation for days, months or even years that still persevere like this man? We should try to endure and God will surely visit us as He did this man .
2. This man was in a hopeless situation yet he was still there . Many would have given up yet he still had the faith that somehow he will be the first to enter someday. When situations are great around us and we dont see solution anywhere, do we lose hope? .
3. This man was obedient. Jesus did not pray over him or did anything like touching him for him to be healed, Jesus just spoke the word, take up your bed and walk, the man had the choice of doubting, for he knows that it is the water that have been healing people there so for him to also receive his healing, it is either the water or nothing else, but he responded to the word of God. We have the choice today as well to respond to Gods words, Jesus said come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden that He will grant us rest , have we gone to meet Jesus? Do you think there are some things hard for God to do in your life? .
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So why a pool with two basins? The archaeological evidence shows that the southern basin had broad steps with landings, indicating that it was indeed a mikveh. The northern basin provided a reservoir, or otzer, to continually replenish and repurify the mikveh with fresh water flowing south through the dam between them. Jerusalems pilgrims would flock to the Bethesda Pool and Siloam Pool to purify themselves in these public mikvaot and, at times, to seek healing.
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Related Reading In Bible History Daily:
Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible: Lawrence Mykytiuks full article from the January/February 2015 issue of BAR with voluminous endnotes
How December 25 Became Christmas: Andrew McGowans full article from the December 2002 issue of Bible Review
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Christ Healing The Sick At The Pool Of Bethesda
Framing available for canvas prints between 10 & 21 inches.
Up until August 29, 2001, the painting of Christ Healing the Sick at Bethesda resided at the Bethesda Indre Mission in Copenhagen, Denmark, where it has hung since 1883. This work now graces the walls of Brigham Young University Museum of Art.
The paintings of Carl Heinrich Bloch are familiar images to members of The Church of Jesus of Latter-day Saints. Selections of his paintings first appeared in the Improvement Era in 1962 and have been published many times since in multiple issues of the Ensign. They have appeared in numerous Church manuals and publications. Reproductions of his paintings are seen in ward and stake meetinghouses, temples, and visitor centers. The recognized and well-loved images of the large Bethesda painting and Blochs 23 paintings on the life of Christ at the Frederiksborg Castle are images of profound content and religious significance for members of the Church.
Christ Healing the Sick at Bethesda stirs up feelings of compassion and empathy, encouragement and hope. Our dependence on the Savior to be healed spiritually and to be made whole is poignantly emphasized in His response to the infirmed man on the steps of the Bethesda pool. Furthermore, the doctrines of Sabbath-day observance and the resurrection act as underlying themes to this biblical account.
Whats Going On?
Healing At The Pool Of Bethesda: Why Some Dont Heal
The healing at the pool of bethesda teaches us how to position our hearts for a miracle healing.
This poor man had suffered for 38 years which caused him to spiral down into self-pity. His eyes were on the severity of his situation. He was closed to any forward thinking. In all honesty, I think Id be exactly the same.
Can you identify with this?
When I was unwell, I thought it was so unfair that my friends could experience marriage, holidays or careers whilst I could barely function.
All I could see was all the things that had been taken away from me. The loss and grief consumed me so much, I ended up crossing over the line into pity.
My life is terrible whilst theirs isntno-one understandswhere is Godmy life is over
I lived here for such a long time. My eyes were on my reality.
Prior to the miracle healing at the pool of Bethesda, Jesus addressed the lame mans victim mentality. He knew the mans pity was hindering him from his miracle.
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Ways To Shift From Self
The healing at the pool of Bethesda is about empowerment. Your strength and confidence comes when you stop relying on others and begin to recognise that God has given you what you need yourself.
How do we allow God to restore us from this place?
1. CHANGE YOUR POSTURE
Do gentle movement or stretching. This supports your nervous system into shifting from a place of shut-down and collapse to a place of social connection and rationality.
2. LOVE YOURSELF
Give yourself the love and compassion your loss or situation deserves, the way you would give someone else empathy. Could you write a letter to yourself?
3. CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE
There is no hopeless situation when you believe God for healing. Can you see your situation from Gods perspective? He is greater than any chronic illness. This guy received a healing after 38 years. Focus on Gods healing promises.
This will edify and lift you, a fresh new excitement and expectation will spring forth in your heart and youll start believing again. Use your imagination to dream once again.
4. KEEP A GRATITUDE DIARY
The lame man had eyes to see, ears to hear and the ability to talk. There is always something to be thankful for.
This is more than just feeling good. Youre retraining your brain to focus on the things that are right. Its hard because problems steal our attention. You dont need to necessarily fix the old roads, just build new ones.
YOU CAN DO THIS VICTORIOUSLY with the help of the Holy Spirit.