In the next couple of posts we are going to cover John chapter five where it tells us how Christ heals a man and the Jews get upset about it. In this first part we are going to look at the location where this takes place.
John 5:1: After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
The law at the time was for the men of Israel to go to the temple three times a year, Passover, the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) and the Feast of Tabernacles. At first glace, this looks like Passover, in the last chapter we have the barley harvest ready early and in the next chapter we have Christ feeding the multitude with barley loaves, but this is probably Purim. Purim that was added later by man, in large part, to mark the events that happened in the book of Ester.
John 5:2: Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
Since we are given a specific location it means it is important. In the picture below if you look at the north side of the temple you will see a spot marked as the sheep gate with pools around it. That is where this is taking place.
What is important about the sheep gate? The sheep gate is where they brought the sheep into the temple for sacrifices. Nehemiah chapter three tells us that Eliashib, the high priest built the gate with his brethren. Today Christ is our high priest and today it is His blood, His sacrifice that washes away our sin and it is only through him that we can enter into the kingdom of God.
This is further emphasized by mentioning Bethesda and the five porches. Five, as many of you know, means grace and Bethesda which mean house of mercy or house of kindness.
Thanks to biblewalks.com we can see what Bethesda looks like today. Click the link to see the many pictures they have of the site.