From Heaven With Love


Chapter 21—Bethesda and the Sanhedrin

This chapter is based on John 5.

“Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered.” HLv 127.1

At certain seasons the waters of this pool were agitated, and it was commonly believed that this was supernatural and that whoever first stepped in would be healed of whatever disease he had. Hundreds of sufferers visited the place; but so great was the crowd when the water was troubled that they trampled underfoot men, women, and children weaker than themselves. Many who succeeded in reaching the pool died on its brink. Shelters had been erected about the place. Some of the sick spent the night in these porches, creeping to the edge of the pool day after day, in hope of relief. HLv 127.2

Jesus was again at Jerusalem. Walking alone, in apparent meditation and prayer, He came to the pool. Seeing the wretched sufferers, He longed to exercise His healing power and make every sufferer whole. But it was the Sabbath day, and He knew that such an act of healing would so excite the prejudice of the Jews as to cut short His work. HLv 127.3

The Saviour, however, saw one case of supreme wretchedness, a man who had been a helpless cripple for thirty-eight years. His disease was looked on as a judgment from God. Alone and friendless and feeling shut out from God's mercy, the sufferer had passed long years of misery. When it was expected that the waters would be troubled, those who pitied his helplessness would bear him to the porches. But at the favored moment he had no one to help him in. He had seen the rippling of the water, but had never been able to get farther than the edge of the pool. His persistent efforts and continual disappointment were fast wearing away his strength. HLv 127.4

The sick man was lying on his mat when a compassionate face bent over him. The hopeful words, “Wilt thou be made whole?” arrested his attention. He felt that in some way he was to have help. But the glow of encouragement soon faded. He remembered how often he had tried to reach the pool. “Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.” HLv 128.1

Jesus did not ask this sufferer to exercise faith in Him. He simply said, “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.” But the man's faith took hold upon that word. Every nerve and muscle in his crippled limbs thrilled with new life. He set his will to obey Christ, and his muscles responded. Springing to his feet, he found himself an active man. HLv 128.2