Thursday, June 23, 2011

John 5:1-2. Jesus' Jerusalem ministry begins

Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 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.

We have completed the first part of Jesus' public ministry; from Cana to Cana. The second part goes from Colonnade to Colonnade (John 10:23). Jesus' ministry in Jerusalem is often associated with Jewish Feast days - Passover, Tabernacles - but here we are given no clue which Jewish Feast is associated with this visit to the capital.

If John is referring here to the same Sheep gate as Nehemiah he means a little opening in the north wall of the city near the north-east corner. . The name of the pool has various spellings in the different manuscripts, but Bethesda is probably most likely to be correct and it means the 'house of outpouring'. We have hard evidence of the existence of this pool. A Bordeaux pilgrim visited Jerusalem in 333 AD and described a pair of pools with five arcades. It was located near the Church of St Anne in the north-east quarter of the Old City. there were two pools lying north and south surrounded by four covered colonnades with a fifth colonnade separating the two pools

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