Saturday, April 26, 2014

Pools of Bethesda

There are still more sites right in Jerusalem from our trip to Israel.

Adjacent to the Church of Saint Anne
 are the two Pools of Bethesda,
(meaning "house of mercy" in Hebrew)
 surrounded by five colonnaded porches. 
The Upper Pool was dug during the 8th century BC
 and is mentioned in 2 Kings.
The pools were originally located near the Sheep Gate
 and were used to wash the sheep
 that were brought to the Temple for sacrifice.
This is in the Muslim Quarter
 of the Old City of Jerusalem
 right outside of Stephan's Gate.

A second pool was dug during the third century BC
 by Simon the High Priest.
Many Jewish people believed that the water
 held special power since
 it was used for religious purposes.
At the time of Christ,
 tradition taught that an angel would descend
 from heaven to stir the waters and the first
 to enter after the stirring received divine healing.
Recent excavations in the 1960's discovered
 the remains of Byzantine and Crusader Churches here.
(Crosses on the columns)
They were built here to preserve the location
 of the miraculous healing story.
Many invalids sat or lay under the porches
 waiting to be healed.
 The pools were fed by rainwater 
and underground springs.

This is the setting for John 5: 1-15,
 where Jesus encountered
 a paralytic who had been waiting for 38 years
 to be healed by the pool. 
Jesus demonstrated that he had the power
 to heal and the right to do it on the Sabbath.

God is a God who heals.
HE brings healing touches to our lives -
 even TODAY.

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