Summary: Jesus meets a lame mans physical & spiritual needs (PowerPoint slides for this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
The man at the Pool.
Reading: John chapter 5 verses 1-16.
• In the year 1598 there was an explorer by the name of “Guitan”;
• He was famous for his daring adventures and grand discoveries.
• One day Guitan heard about a cave full of treasure in a far away island.
• He got hold of a map and he hired some sailors and set sail to find it.
• The journey was long;
• And they ran into all kinds of unexpected difficulties,
• Such as extremely rough seas and storms that required them to dump;
• Some of his food and supplies overboard to keep the ship from breaking up.
• Guitan recorded in his diary that nearly every day things were getting worse,
• They were short on supplies and they feared for their lives.
• As the days went by Guitan began recording the deaths of various sailors;
• Mainly due to lack of food and supplies,
• By the time they reached the shore of the destination in 1598;
• There were only two men still alive - Guitan and one of his sailors,
• Both men were so weak from lack of food, and dehydrated from lack of water;
• They did not have the strength to go and search for food & water.
• They saw the cave in the distance,
• But did not have the energy to look inside it and enjoy the treasure.
• Soon the one remaining sailor died, leaving only Guitan;
• But he too was weakened to the point of death,
• And his last diary entry that was written close to the entrance to the cave,
• He wrote one sentence, it said, “So close, yet so far away.”
• Guitan died at the mouth of the cave, within a few feet of the treasure.
• “So close, yet so far away.”
The paralysed man we read about in John chapter 5:
• Knew for himself the words of Guitan: “So close, yet so far away.”
• He believed he was at times so close to being healed and yet he remained so far away.
There are five points that make up this story:
(1). A place of sickness (verses 1-3):
“Some time later...
(12 months have passed between the second sign – healing the officials son – and this sign),
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 paralysed”.
If you visit Jerusalem today:
• You can go to St Anne’s Church in Jerusalem,
• There they will show you the deep excavation that has revealed the ancient Pool of Bethesda.
• The pool is situated near the northeast corner of the Old City, close to the Sheep Gate.
• One of the few achelogical sites that we can be certain of.
The Hebrew name Bethesda has been spelled various ways and given differing meanings:
• Some say it means "house of mercy" or "house of grace,"
• But others say it means "place of the two outpourings ".
• And there is much historical and archaeological evidence;
• To show that two adjacent pools of water served this area in ancient times.
The reason this pool is brought to our attention by John in his gospel:
• Is not the historic or archaeological beauty of the place;
• But rather because of what it was known for; it was a place of sickness.
Ill: Doctors: What They Say and What They Mean:
• What they say: “It could be one of several things.”
What they mean: “I haven’t the foggiest idea what’s wrong with you.”
• What they say: “I’d like to run that test again.”
What they mean: “We have lost your blood sample.”
• What they say: “These pills have very few side effects.”
What they mean: “You may experience sudden hair growth on the palms of your hands.”
• What they say: “There’s a lot of this going around.”
• What they mean: “We’ll give it a name as soon as we figure out what it is.”
Well this pool was filled with people full of all types of ailments:
• It must have been a depressing sight;
• Like an overcrowded, hospital ward.
• Only no-one ever got treated with medicines!
• So in a time with no disinfectant you can imagine the stench that filled the place!
(2). A place of superstition (verses 4-7):
• Verse 4 is in most modern translations are in brackets;
• Some translations omit it altogether (i.e. they go from verse 3 to verse 5)