The Most Famous Pool in the Bible

Pastor DaronCrossLife Blog

Water availability has always been a challenge in Jerusalem. In ancient times, cisterns and reservoirs were built for water storage. One of these is called the Pool of Bethesda.

It’s much different than one of our modern swimming pools, though. Excavations have revealed two pools, actually, on a site as large as a football field. The depth of these pools—better described as cisterns—is 45 feet!

One of them was dug out some time after King Solomon built the temple, to provide water for the temple’s sacrificial rites. Later, maybe around 200 BC, a second pool was added. Both were fed by an engineered system of aqueducts, channeling water from the Kidron Valley.

During Jesus’ ministry, crowds of sick and injured people loitered along the edges of the pools waiting to be healed. It was thought that the waters possessed miraculous powers of healing.

Jesus visited the Pool of Bethesda one day, and didn’t need the water to heal a man. All Jesus did was to speak his own word, and the man was immediately healed! (John 5:1-9)

Jesus did for the man what 38 years of medicine, doctors and attempts of miraculous water healing at Bethesda couldn’t do. 

Are you ever sick? Do you live with a disease or chronic pain? Does your child have autism or cystic fibrosis? Are you suffering from mental illness or struggling with an injury? 

Jesus invites you to his water. He says, “To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life” (Revelation 21:6). The man Jesus healed had been thirsty for 38 years, eager, hopeful, and at the same time helpless for healing. Jesus gave him a new life!

Could Jesus do the same for you? Well, do you trust him and put your hope in him more than water healings or even good medicine and doctors? The word of Jesus can do more than these, and heal not just for now but forever! 

Why would Jesus do that for you? Because he cares. Because he knows that you don’t deserve his help, yet offers himself as both your Savior and your Healer. 

Bethesda means “house of grace.” You’ll find Jesus today inviting others, including you, to be healed by the same grace today as back then.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, your water of life is deeper than I’ve known, and your grace reaches wider than my own sins and shortcomings. I am thirsty for you to wash me clean and to heal me for now and forever. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.

FURTHER MEDITATION: Do you want to visit the Pool of Bethesda in person? It still exists today. I will be leading a tour of the Holy Land February 27 – March 8, 2023. Check out the itinerary here. We will be stopping at places like the Pool of Bethesda, sitting right there, and enjoying Bible study to better understand what Jesus did there. Reply to this email if you have questions about the trip!