Summary: Jesus meets a lame mans physical & spiritual needs (PowerPoint slides for this talk are available on request - email:

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)

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