Pool of Bethesda

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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 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. 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 meaning, rather than historical, significance.

Then in the 19th century, archaeologists discovered the remains of a pool exactly matching the description in John’s Gospel, thus confirming the historical accuracy of John’s account.James H. Charlesworth, Jesus and archaeology, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2006. pp 560-566


The name of the pool is said to be derived from the Aramaic language beth hesda (בית חסדא), meaning either house of mercyEaston's Bible Dictionary or house of grace. In the closely related Syriac branch of this ancient language, the cognate term hesdo has two opposite meanings - grace and disgrace;Louis Costaz, Syriac-English DictionaryJ. Payne Smith, A Compendious Syriac Dictionarycompare the english phrase fight with,...
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