Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Today, as a part of the beginning of our class, we visited the Bethesda Pool. There is quite an extensive passage in John regarding a healing that took place at this location. This is from John 5:1-15....

1Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. 2Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 5One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6When 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."
8Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." 9At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, "It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat."
11But he replied, "The man who made me well said to me, 'Pick up your mat and walk.' "
12So they asked him, "Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?"
13The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.
14Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, "See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." 15The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

What is unique about this site is that we have such good archaeological evidence that this was the site where this event took place. With most of the events in Jesus' life we can only give the approximate location (like on the Mount of Olives, which is a pretty good sized hill a mile or two wide). But, here the biblical text tells us exactly where this healing took place and we can walk right to the place in Jerusalem and locate the spot, which is very cool.

The picture might not look like much, but it is some of the remains of the Bethesda Pool, and also of a medieval church that was built over part of the pool.

We also began some study on the geography of Jerusalem, noting the altitudes, the lay of the land, and where the specific valleys and hilltops are located. Old City Jerusalem is surrounded by the Kidron Valley on the east, the Hinnom Valley on the west, and there is a smaller valley that runs right down the center of the city. Then, there are a couple of key locations for building and protecting a city between these valleys up on the hills. One location is the place where the Jebusites and David built the initial city of Jerusalem, right near the primary water source in the area, called the Gihon spring. That's where we're going tomorrow, including walking through Hezekiah's tunnel with flashlights in hand. I'm not big on getting wet, but it's one of those things you have to do when you visit here, and I will do it.


  1. Look at you on your first day of class with your backpack!!!

  2. hi, where is the pool on this pic? great pic btw, do you have more? x