SwindollStudyBible-John - Page 26



1287
J ohn 5 : 3 2
THE POOL OF
BETHESDA
God’s Kindness and
Our Repentance
JOHN 5
Jordan
River
Jerusalem
Bethlehem
ISRAEL
Hebron Dead
Sea
JORDAN
The ruins of the pool of Bethesda lie beside St. Anne’s Church,
which was built during the Crusades.
BEFORE THE TIME OF JESUS, the location of the pool of Bethesda may have been
a shallow valley that was dammed to retain rainwater and referred to as “the upper
pool” in the eighth century bc (2 Kgs. 18:17; Isa. 7:3).
In the first century ad, the site had two adjacent pools, each surrounded by a
colonnade on all four sides and another down the middle. The book of John refers to
“the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches” (John 5:2) and reveals that Jesus had
mercy on one of the many sick people who lay by the pools and healed him (John 5:9).
Five centuries later, a group of Christians constructed a church there to commemorate Jesus’ miracle. The nearby St. Anne’s Church still stands today, displaying
Jerusalem’s finest architecture during the era of the Crusades. The church’s amazing
acoustics enhance the voices of thousands of Christian tourists who come each year
and sing praises to God.
When Jesus asked, “Would you like to get well?” (John 5:6), the sick man’s answer
revealed that he thought his healing depended on his ability to outrun the others to
the pool of Bethesda. He likely believed a popular mystical notion, which blended
Hebrew tradition and Greek superstition, that an angel of God would occasionally
come and stir the water in the pool. The first person to enter would be healed. This
belief contradicted Jesus’ message of grace for sinners and healing for all. The fact
that Jesus healed this man revealed that God’s kindness is available not only to the
swift but to everyone.
When the Lord later searched for the man and found him in the nearby Temple,
He implied that the physical healing represented an act of God’s kindness and was
intended as an incentive for the healed man to repent of his sins (John 5:14; see
Rom. 2:4). Very few people are drawn to God by intimidation. Instead, the Lord urges
us to come to Him by revealing the kindness of His mercy.





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