Summary: When Jesus met the man at the pool He brought both healing and judgement.

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The Man at the Pool


John 5:1

Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews.

2:Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades.

3:Here a great number of disabled people used to lie - the blind, the lame, the paralysed [ - and they waited for the moving of the waters.

4:From time to time an angel of the Lord would come down and stir up the waters. The first one into the pool after each such disturbance would be cured of whatever disease he had. ]

5:One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.

6:When 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."

8:Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk."

9:At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath,

10:and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, "It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat."

11:But he replied, "The man who made me well said to me, `Pick up your mat and walk.’ "

12:So they asked him, "Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?"

13:The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.

14:Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, "See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you."

15:The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.


Jesus met many people during His life and work on Earth. He met both the rich and the poor, the religious hierarchy and the greatest of sinners, the healthy and the sick or even dead. From looking at the four gospels and seeing how he dealt with and spoke to each of these people, we can gain an insight into who He is, into who God is and into our relationship with Him. I want to look at this story where Jesus enters Jerusalem and comes across a lame man with nobody to help him.

Jesus enters Jerusalem for an unspecified feast. We don’t know what feast Jesus was attending for but all Jews living near to Jerusalem were required to present themselves before the Lord three times a year at the feasts of Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. Jesus entered the City by the sheep gate and encountered the pool. The pool was actually two large pools with a 6-7 metre gap between them. It was enclosed with a porch on each side and one in the middle in the area dividing the two pools. Lying around this pool were all the sick and diseased people hoping that they might find healing.

I want to look at how Jesus impacted on this mans life. I want to look at, firstly the state the man had found himself in, then how Jesus intervenes and finally, the commands he then gives.

Mans State.

The first thing we learn about this man is that he is an invalid and that he has been in that condition for thirty eight years. We don’t know exactly what his disability is, the Greek term used, ’astheneia’ means weakness or disease, but we know that it is bad enough for him to not be able to move a few metres to the pool without assistance. He has come to a point where he is seeking healing. He recognizes his illness and lies with the others simply hoping that he might find the help he needs. He is a man who is helpless. We don’t know how long he has been there but we know he has been there long enough to miss the stirring of the pool a number of times. He sees his last chance of healing as coming from the pool. He believes that if he can just get into it first when the waters are stirred, he can receive that healing.

The dependance on this man for his healing being from the pool is so great that he fails to recognize the healer. Jesus, the very source of healing, asks the man if he wants to get well, and the man takes that as an offer to help him into the pool. The man wants Jesus to help him get healed his way. We see that the mans state is one of hopelessness and despair.

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