Life of Christ 53
Jesus, while attending the second Passover of His public ministry, takes time to visit the Pool of Bethesda. This was a rectangular, distinctively man-made pool, open to the elements, surrounded on all four sides by covered porticoes, and intersected in the center with a wall that also had a covered portico on it, and that controlled the flow of water between both sides. Apparently, according to John, sick people gathered here waiting for an occasional troubling of the waters that resulted in healing. I confess I do not understand that, but the infirm man had been waiting 38 years there and had seen it happen many times.
For some centuries theological liberals would use this story (John 5.1-16) to attack the veracity of John's Gospel because there was zero archaeological evidence for a five sided and covered man-made pool near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem. They asserted that the Gospel of John was fabricated centuries after the life of Christ by someone who obviously had no knowledge about Jerusalem whatsoever.
There is an old statement in archaeology that says absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence. In other words, just because it hasn't been dug up yet doesn't mean it never existed. This is often conveniently ignored by those who attack the Bible, well, at least until their faces are rubbed in it when something is dug up.
Yep, you guessed it, the Pool of Bethesda was found, right where it was supposed to be. The November 3, 1888 Richmond Examiner carries an article attributing the discovery to Conrad Schick, a German missionary had lived in Jerusalem for decades. The intervening century and a third has largely vindicated him, and now nobody attacks the authenticity of John's Gospel on the basis of the Pool of Bethesda.
I do not know why Jesus chose this particular man to heal rather than any of the multitude of others who were waiting there, but I do want you to put yourself in his position for a moment.
You have been infirm for decades. As the years pass you bitterly come to realize that you will never be able to get into the Pool at the right moment. Suddenly, an obscure Galilean rabbi appears with a small group of followers, engages you in conversation, and the next thing you know you are in better health than you have ever been. He tells you to pick up your bed and carry it away. You do, never stopping to think for one moment that it is the Sabbath and you aren't supposed to carry your bed. Suddenly, around you a commotion arises.
'Hey, bud, put that bed down! You're not allowed to carry that!'
You answer, 'There was a guy and He healed me, and He told me to pick it up and carry it, and I'm gonna' listen to Him.'
They say, 'Which guy?' but suddenly you can't find Him anywhere. You search and search but you don't ever find Him so you head, naturally, to the Temple, a place you haven't been able to visit for years, not since you were a little boy. You are eager to praise God for the wonderful fortune that has befallen you. There, He finds you again. He engages you in a spiritual conversation about sin and Himself, and you come to believe in Him as your Saviour and Messiah. You run back to the Pool and tell everybody you know, 'I found Him! His name is Jesus. And He is wonderful! He made me whole!'
Are you empty? Are you incomplete? Are you missing something that you just cannot quite put your finger on? Are you searching? When you find Him, and He is what you are looking for whether you know it or not, you will find just exactly what is needed to make you whole.