Summary: "The Miserable Patient and the Mighty Physician" The Impotent Man: The Market, the Multitude, the Man, the Messiah, the Mercy, the Message. Free Powerpoint at website.

A Walk by the Water

“The Miserable Patient and the Mighty Physician”

John 5:1-9

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Bethesda= “House of Mercy”

The “House of Mercy” was a house of misery for many. This pool was situated where there were intermittent mineral springs. (The moving of the water) A descending angel is disputed by liberals for this reason, however we read in Rev.16:5 about the "angel of the waters." In some way or another when the waters moved, they had a peculiar power. The affect of the bubbling, moving water upon the afflicted bodies of the people indicated to them the presence of God.

There were 5 porches which were covered areas where the sick folk would await their opportunity to get into the healing pool.

Jesus was attracted to one poor sufferer (He never lost sight of the individual)...Omnipotence met impotence!

Notice: The Market. The Multitude. The Man. The Messiah. The Mercy. The Message.


The sheep market was just inside the sheep gate in the Jerusalem wall. (Neh 3:1) This was the gate through which the lambs were brought to be offered as sacrifices by worshippers in the temple. Those who traveled to Jerusalem from other cities at Passover time could not bring their own sacrificial animals, and it was customary for them to buy a lamb at the sheep market.

“There is” – ever present.

“by the sheep market” – the sheep gate – the place where the sacrifice was made. The O.T. sheep gate represents the N.T. Cross.

“a pool”. This pool had a healing balm about it.

“There is a fountain filled with blood –

drawn from Immanuel’s veins;

and sinners plunged beneath that flood;

lose all their guilty stains.”


There was a great multitude of people that filled these five porches waiting for the next opportunity to get into the healing waters.

A. They Were Sick.

We see in Vs. 3 that a great number of sick (impotent) folk were laying on the porches by the sheep gate. Their condition speaks of physical blindness and paralysis, but it also represents a picture of lost souls blinded by the devil and crippled by sin. These sick folk were “waiting for the moving of the water” in the pool. This moving of the water was from heaven, not from earth, and there was no healing virtue in the water until that certain time.

There were the blind who could not see.

There were the lame who could not walk.

There were the withered who were deformed and paralyzed.

There were so many who were poor and beggarly.

Notice that the identity of these had no bearing on their being healed. No one received special attention because of who he/she was. There were no special support or interest groups that went from porch to porch doing social assistance. No one had advantage over others.

Being wealthy had no advantage.

Being good – no advantage.

Having a goodly heritage – no advantage.

Being the poorest – no advantage.

This would tell us that no one can claim any advantage when coming to the Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 10:34 KJV) "Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:" You have the same access to Christ as does anyone.

B. They Were Sinners.

This man needed Christ’s forgiveness and His redemption. The rest of the porch dwellers needed that same healing touch…much more imp’t than any physical healing they needed, but God often gave both.

They were sick, They were sinners…

C. They Were Sentenced.

(John 3:18 KJV) "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

None of us are declared innocent until we are proven guilty, and let Christ bail us out!

All were condemned to die. The fact that man is a sinner automatically sentences him to death…Jew and Gentile alike. Heritage carries no influence for the sinner. Kings, Queens, and Presidents alike are sentenced.

We see the multitude, that…

they were sick, they were sinners, they were sentenced.

III. THE MAN Vs. 5-7.

In Vs. 5 we see “a certain man” – no name is given – no personal details were given – therefore this could be any man. He represents you and me.

Jesus came to Him. (John 6:44 KJV) "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day."

Jesus asked him..."wilt thou be made whole?"...Had he lost all hope of ever being healed?...Had his heart withered as well as his limbs?..."

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