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Summary: The Man Who Enjoyed Bad Health! PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:

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A place of sickness (vs 1-3):

A place of superstition (vs 4-7):

A place of self-pity (vs 5-7):

It was a place of salvation (vs 8-9a):

It was a place of solitude (vs 13-14)



• Because there was no evidence outside of John’s Gospel;

• For the existence of the pool of Bethesda;

• The critics of the Bible had a field day;

• They argued that the gospel was written much later than what we believe it to be.

• They also argued that the writer of this gospel;

• Was someone without first-hand knowledge of the city of Jerusalem.

• They argued that the ‘pool’ had only a metaphorical,

• Rather than a historical, significance

• Then in the year 1888 that some people decided to renovate a very ancient Church;

• In the north-east corner of the city of Jerusalem.

• As they were scrubbing the whitewash off one of the walls;

• They discovered a fading fresco or painting.

• It showed a pool of water and an angel standing in the water;

• And sick people scrambling into the pool.

• Those who discovered the fresco realised that this picture;

• Links up with the story in John’s gospel chapter 5.

• The discovery caused them to ask the question;

• Was the Pool of Bethesda (which no-one had seen for centuries);

• Was somewhere near this ancient Church

• So they began to excavate the Church yard.

• And they had to dig down 40 feet of rubble to discover it!

• But if you go there today, then you can gaze down a hole 40ft deep;

• And see the pool of Bethesda.

• They found it;

• And they found the five porches that John speaks about!

• It had been hidden for two thousand years but now it has been revealed.

• TRANSITION: Today it is a place of beautiful archaeological ruins;

• Two thousand years ago it was a place of disease and hopelessness.

There are five points that make up this story:

(1). A place of sickness (vs 1-3):

“Some time later...”

• John’s gospel is built around seven key events, seven signs, seven miracles;

• 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”.

As I have already mentioned - 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.

• It is one of the few achelogical sites that we can be absolutely certain of.

The Hebrew name Bethesda has been spelled various ways and given differing meanings:

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