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Pool of Bethesda

by Touchpoint Israel

The Pool of Bethesda is mentioned in the Gospel of John as the site where Jesus healed the man who had been an invalid for 38 years.

In John 5:1-15, Jesus came to Jerusalem and met a man at the Pool of Bethesda, which is near the Sheep Gate. The man had lain on the ground every day, waiting for the waters of the pool to be stirred so that he could be the first to enter the pool and be healed. He explained to Jesus that he was unable to move fast enough to be the first person in the water, and the Gospel of John says that when Jesus heard this He healed the man immediately.

The description of the Pool as having five sides, an unheard-of design, led scholars to believe that the story was fiction. However, when archaeologists unearthed this site in the late 19th century, they discovered a Jewish ritual bath, a mikveh, that did indeed have five sides! The Pool of Bethesda today is an elaborate complex marked by Byzantine and Crusader churches.

The pools were discovered in 1888 by Konrad Schick, a German archaeologist and authority on the water systems of Jerusalem. Prior to this, scholars did not think the Pool of Bethesda existed. Today, visitors to Bethesda (meaning “house of mercy” in Hebrew) can view the below ground level ruins of the two ancient pools, which are accessed by a stairway.

More than just a simple tourist attraction or fascinating stop on your Holy Land tour, the Pool of Bethesda offers visitors and pilgrims a unique portrait in time of a miraculous event and an ideal place for reflection and refreshing.

Read more about this archaeological discovery here.

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