Three or four days ago, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and said, “Pool of Bethesda.”
I’ve read these verses many times and felt I knew them well, but just to make sure I checked some commentaries. After studying for a time, I still didn’t feel like I knew what the Holy Spirit was trying to get across to me.
So, I entered Pool of Bethesda on the search line at Google and came up with 744,000 results. A few too many to quickly search in my lifetime, I thought.
I added the word history to lessen the number of results. This time a Jewish studies site – Israel Institute of Biblical Studies – appeared on the first page with an article entitled, “The Pool of Bethesda as a Healing Center of Asclepius.”
The following verses were mentioned in the article:
In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. (John 5:3-4 NKJ and/or KJ)
The article stated the original text did not include verses 3b and 4 (the red words above). It stated a Christian copyist added the extra words many decades later, attempting to add clarification to the writing. Most modern Bibles do not contain these words or have them in brackets with a footnote, stating that they are excluded in the original text.
Even though the word Bethesda means “House of Mercy” in the Hebrew, the article states the Pool of Bethesda was most likely a healing center dedicated to the Greco-Roman god of well-being and health – Asclepius. There were more than four hundred of these healing centers throughout the Roman Empire and were a part of the Hellenistic Jewish traditions.
As for the stirring of the waters, this most likely happened when the Greek priests of Asclepius opened the connecting pipes from the upper portion of the pool of Bethesda to the lower portion.
Now, this would completely change our thinking about John 5.
Instead of our present teachings, it would mean that Jesus, Son of God, walked into a pagan abode to heal a son of Abraham. Then, two later verses would make more sense:
Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. (John 5:14-15)
Jesus was telling the man not to depend on the pagan Greek ways anymore, but on God. Then the man let everyone know it was not the Pool of Bethesda that healed him, but a man named Jesus.
My prayer today:
Lord, open our eyes to Your truth so it will set us free from bad teachings on healing and deliverance. (Based on John 8:32)
Join with me on Tuesdays to fast and pray for new revelations on healing and deliverance for Americans NOW.