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Bethesda, Jerusalem

4.3
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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  • The Pools of Bethesda, actually a series of reservoirs and medicinal pools, are located in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. Archaeological digs have unearthed their full depth. The Poo...  more »
  • This is an important part of Jesus's crucifixion story. Jesus was there on the Sabbath and healed a man who'd been paralyzed. This "work" on the Sabbath was used against Jesus.  more »
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