Sunday, 29 May 2022

Sitting by the pool

 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. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralysed. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. 

One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 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?” “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.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”

There is so much for us to learn from this short passage in John's Gospel.

I guess it was traditional for people to gather round that pool and await for the water to stir before jumping in. We are not told whether people actually got healed or not; but presumably so since people kept going there. 

Jesus too went there. He obviously did not want healing. But He went there for a purpose.

He saw a lame man and learnt that he had been an invalid for years. He asked him an obvious question: Do you want to get well?

Duh ... of course, otherwise I would not be here!

But the sick man does not answer the question. He says that he cannot get to the pool on time because others more able than him jump in first; and it is only the first one in who gets healed.

So Jesus simply says: Get up! Pick up your mat and walk! 

Note that this happened on the Sabbath. The day when the Jews were not allowed to work. And apparently, according to the Jewish leaders, they decided that carrying one's mat was in fact work.

Jesus could have said: Get up and walk. 

He did not have to mention the mat. But had He done so, the man would have walked away unnoticed and that would have been the end of the story. 

Jesus went to the pool deliberately on the Sabbath. He certainly planned to make a point of healing someone on that day to test the reactions of the people. 

Rather than rejoicing and praising God for another miracle amongst their mist; and celebrating with the man who had been healed after so many years; the Jewish leaders were nit-picking and fussing about the minutiae of the law.

Aren't we like that sometimes? Each interpreting our Christian beliefs our own way and certain that we are right and therefore everyone else is wrong.

Rather than rejoicing in what unites us in faith, we argue about what divides us and sets us apart.

Would we not much rather hear Jesus say: Get up and walk. Your prejudices have been healed.


  1. I seem to remember that according to Mark's account,
    when Jesus went to Bethesda he was asked to heal a
    blind man...
    And Bethesda has a meaning of means..
    'House of Fruits'..and in Hebrew it means 'House of

    And the pool was originally associated with healing,
    but recently archeologists discovered the pool was
    also a mikveh or purification bath...!

    And Bethesda lasted until Roman legions destroyed
    it during the Jewish revolt in the 1st century...!

    One of the many miracles Jesus preformed and
    always interesting read to about..and learn...!

    1. In this instance, Jesus was making a point about healing on the Sabbath. Something which the Jewish leaders always complained about.

      God bless, Willie.

    2. Quite right to...must always have a day
      off for the football...! :O).

  2. "Your prejudices have been healed."

    Powerful, Victor.

  3. ...a passage that I didn't know.

    1. Thank you, Tom. It's another example of Jesus pointing out to the people the real priorities in life.

      God bless.

  4. Tradition appears to rule out truth in many so called 'churches'. God does not live in a house made with hands, but unfortunately there are many gatherings that would not recognize, or accept, Jesus and His ways if He was to enter their building. God bless Victor.

    1. People are confusing truth with their own desires and interpretations of the truth.

      God bless, Brenda.

  5. Dearest Victor,
    Oh, people love doing that; looking at things and others, with a magnifying glass!
    So true even today.
    Still here in Georgia as my flight did not go... got rebooked and the Delta Airlines system did not let them print my boarding passes, even with my seat reserved. Even a high ranking agent over the phone could not help. So, they ended up issuing me the same seats in Premium Select on another Delta flight today. Let's hope this time the system will yield the boarding passes and I will fly across the pond... What a stress for my final flight.

    1. I am so sorry to hear you are still being delayed to fly home, Mariette. Hopefully you'll get a flight soon. Enjoy your holiday and keep in touch when you return home to Georgia.

      God bless you and Pieter.

  6. I have always loved this story of Jesus and the cripple at the pool. For some reason this seemed the most passion. BUT HE did so much that was wonderful, nothing pales.

    Love from here with appreciation for your POST. ;-)

    1. It is a powerful story from the Bible about Jesus having pity on an individual, as well as making a point to the Jewish leaders.

      Thank you, Jack. God bless.

  7. Amen! We need to look for those things that unites us -- or at least respect others' beliefs w/o sacrificing our own.

    1. Often, Christians seem to spend so much time debating their differences to prove they are right. I find Catholics do that a lot. Our Church seems so aloof as a result.

      God bless, Mevely.

  8. One of the biggest mistakes we can make is thinking we are right, and every one else is wrong, as we go through life. May God help us to remain open to the possibilities with which He graces us. There will always be nit-pickers whose greatest desire is to be right. Lord, don't let me be one of them!
    Blessings, Victor!

    1. Amen Martha. God must despair when He looks at human behaviour.

      God bless.

  9. Hear! Hear!

    There are many who have beliefs i do not quite agree with. If we love Jesus and are dependent upon him for the forgiveness of our sins, i think all the rest is commentary.

    1. We don't seem to have changed much since the times of Jesus on earth.

      God bless, Mimi.

  10. It is much better to be kind than to be right. Everyone has a different perspective on many things and regardless of who is right or wrong there is a way to resolve those differences by staying calm and discussing it. It is a greater thing to be in God’s good Grace than to win any argument. It seems that the Jewish leaders thought that their laws were above human error, therefore; their rules were to be adhered to no matter what. Jesus proved His point. Blessings, Victor.

    1. Nice to see you here again, Nells. I hope you are keeping well.

      God bless always.



God bless you.