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Pools of Bethesda, Jerusalem

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The Pool of Bethesda is a pool of water in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem, on the path of the Beth Zeta Valley. The fifth chapter of the Gospel of John describes such a pool in Jerusalem, near the Sheep Gate, which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. It is associated with healing. Until the 19th century, there was no evidence outside of John’s Gospel for the existence of this pool; therefore, scholars argued that the gospel was written later, probably by someone without first-hand knowledge of the city of Jerusalem, and that the "pool" had only a metaphorical, rather than historical, significance.In the 19th century, archaeologists discovered the remains of a pool fitting the description in John’s Gospel.NameThe name of the pool is said to be derived from the Hebrew language and/or Aramaic language. Beth hesda (בית חסד/חסדא), meaning either house of mercy or house of grace. In both Hebrew and Aramaic the word could also mean "shame, disgrace". This dual meaning may have been thought appropriate, since the location was seen as a place of disgrace due to the presence of invalids, and as a place of grace due to the granting of healing.Alternative renderings to the name Βηθεσδά (Bethesda), appearing in manuscripts of the Gospel of John, include Βηθζαθά (Beth-zatha = בית חדתא), a derivative of Bezetha, and Bethsaida (not to be confused with Bethsaida, a town in Galilee), although the latter is considered to be a metathetical corruption by Biblical scholars.
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TripAdvisor
  • Like other ancient sires with a connection to the life of Christ, this site has a church on it. Having said that you can see the foundations of the old pools that have been altered over successive gen...  more »
  • We visited here as part of a tour of Israel. I found the structure here very interesting, much larger than I had imagined. It is small, so can be seen in a short period of time. Saint Anne's church is...  more »
  • and your imagination run wild. Imagine Jesus coming to this location to heal sick, the lame on a Sabbath day. You do not need the Angel to stir the waters, you just need Jesus to heal you. A great pla...  more »