Friday, November 6, 2015

Israel - Jesus Undercover

The Pools of Bethesda
[At the Pools of Bethesda] Here a great number of disabled people used to lie - the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to get well?"
"Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me."
Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, "It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat."
So they asked him, "Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?"
The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.
John 5:3-10,12-13

Two thoughts from the Pools of Bethesda: Jesus was sneaky and pool healing was a scam.

Inside the city of Jerusalem it was illegal for the Jews to gather in large groups because it made the Romans nervous. A large group of Jews might signal an uprising. So Jesus moved in stealth so as not to attract attention. This encounter with the invalid at the pools was personal and brief - so quick that the man couldn't identify the one who healed him. As I continue studying scripture, it will be helpful to notice that Jesus' public ministry occurred in the Temple, where Jews could congregate, or outside the city. In addition, I will treasure Jesus' personal encounters within Jerusalem.

Secondly, the healing offered by the pools was a money making scheme. The sick rented space around the pools awaiting a 'stirring of the waters' after which only the first into the pool would be 'healed'. Since this man had been renting space for 38 years, Jesus' true healing needed to be very quick so as not to anger the managers were losing a valued customer.

Jesus understood the constraints of His environment and worked within those limits. He did ministry under the radar when necessary and in the open when possible. Nothing stopped Him.

Let's consider our own behavior. Do we allow restrictions to limit our effectiveness in spreading God's Word? Are we persistently crafty in finding ways to work within the system?

#SeedsOfScripture #Israel #TripOfALifetime #P31HolyLand #miracles


  1. Enlightening. I never thought of it as a money making scam. I always thought this, taken from Blue letter bible "Some manuscripts insert, wholly or in part, waiting for the moving of the water; 4 for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool, and stirred the water: whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was healed of whatever disease he had" Nevertheless, God healed him. we serve a mighty Savior. I am enjoying your posts about your trip.

    1. This is up for debate and ripe for investigation. In many print Bibles, there is no verse 4. It just skips from 3 to 5, including the NIV I brought with me to Israel. I'm going to check all my Bibles when I get home. Why would translators leave out the part about the Lord healing? The suggestion is that it wasn't from the Lord. We may have to go back to the original Greek to figure it out.