John 5:1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. 3 In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” 9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. ESV
What is the general theme of the passage?
The name Bethesda means either house of mercy or house of grace but it seems improbable that pool has any religious connection to the God of the Jews OR that the people there, were waiting for Israel’s God to heal them, especially on this Sabbath day. Some versions have added to the ending of verse 3 and all of verse 4. In many versions this addition is only a footnote a because the ancient manuscripts do not make that connection. This pool would likely have always been a place of uncleanness to the Jews because “a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed were there.” The mystery of this water is healing happens only when the water is “stirred up.”
What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus chooses to go to this pool to find this man. It seems so similar to what He chose to do when he offered “living” water to the outcast woman at the well. Jesus’s assurance is “My Father is working until now, and I am working” even on the Sabbath.
What does it say about people?
Here are some questions to read and ponder: Why did the crippled man not just say “yes” when Jesus asked him “Do you want to be healed?” If he IS a Jew, what’s he doing there on the Sabbath? If he’s NOT a Jew, why did he go to the Temple after his healing? This invalid man may be yet another story of someone who is not necessarily Godless, but not Godly either. He knows some of the essentials: the water in this pool is identified with the grace and mercy of some mysterious power. He knows there is some miraculous healing possible. He knows he needs some thing more, some one who can get him to that “stirred up” water.
Is there truth here for me?
How many times has this man been taken to this same pool and been disappointed? Jesus is not just the some one who will put that invalid into the pool to be healed. HE IS the “stirred up” water” that man cannot reach on his own. Jesus has given that invalid man the one thing that pool could never offer, a healing that is something more — a connection to Him. Jesus is the missing verse 4!
a “waiting for a certain movement of the water, for an angel of the Lord came from time to time and stirred up the water. And the first person to step in after the water was stirred was healed of whatever disease he had.”