06 Man at the pool of Bethesda





John 5:1-17 (NIV)                                                             
1 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. 2 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. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie – the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 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?" 7 "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."        8 Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.   The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, "It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat." 11 But he replied, "The man who made me well said to me, 'Pick up your mat and walk.' "    12 So they asked him, "Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk? 13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there. 14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him. "See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. 16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. 17 Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working."



1.     Identify as completely as possible the person in need (e.g., age, ethnic origin, religion, gender, social status).


2. What was the immediate, obvious need?


3. Who took the initiative in effecting the healing?

      The person in need?                            . Others?                    Jesus? ~.

      How was it expressed?

4.     Describe the actions or process leading to the healing; that is, what was said (e.g., questions, requests, com­mands) and what was done (e.g., approaching, following, touching, publicly/privately), and by whom?


5. Did the person in need or someone else verbally express faith? ~. Non-verbally?                                                 Describe how
      and by whom faith was involved in this healing.


6. What were the evidences that the person was healed?


7. What were the reactions to the healing?


8. What in this narrative led Jesus to minister healing to the person in need?




Note 1 You may notice that verse 4 is missing from the text. Because verse 4 and the last part of verse 3 are not present in the earliest manuscripts (prior to the fourth century), the NIV and other recent versions omit these, believing that they were subsequent additions. In the KJV, verses 3a-4 read, "waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain season in the pool, and troubled the water; whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had."

Note 2" The Greek word hygies (of. hygiene) in verses 4, 6, 9, 11, 14 and 16 is translated "well," or "whole" could also be translated "cured."

1. When did this healing take place? Do you think the invalid was a recent visitor to the healing pool or if he had been coming to the pool daily for years? Are you familiar with contemporary "waters" that are believed to have curative powers, and to where people travel for healing?

2.     The passage says "a great number of disabled people used to lie" there. Of all the disabled people there, it seems that Jesus singled out one man. How did Jesus "learn of," or "know" the man had been an invalid "for a long time" (38 years)? Since the man made no overt request for Jesus' healing, why do you think Jesus picked a man who didn't even know who Jesus was? Why not heal "a great number?"

3. What does the man's response in verse 7 to Jesus' question say about the man's attitude? Verses 9b through 16 are an epilogue to the healing at the pool: when the Jews accuse the man of dishonouring the Sabbath, he says a man told me to pick up my mat and walk, so I did; but he had no idea who the man was.

4. Is the cause of the man's problem stated or implied? Is so, how?

5.     In your experience, does every sick or disabled person want to get well? Why might some prefer to remain as they are?

6. Jesus "found" the man at the temple. Was Jesus looking for him? What does Jesus mean when he says, "stop sinning or something worse may happen to you?" Why do you think the man went to the temple after having been healed? What does that say about the man that you didn't know earlier in this story?

7.     How did Jesus express love, counselling or encouragement9.

8              What lesson(s) have you learned about healing from this account?