Uncovering the Mysteries of the Pool of Bethesda: What Did it Look Like?
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Uncovering the Mysteries of the Pool of Bethesda: What Did it Look Like?

In the New Testament, the Pool of Bethesda is a place of healing and miracles performed by Jesus. Known as the site where Jesus healed a paralyzed man, this location continues to generate fascination among scholars, archaeologists, and believers alike.

But what did this historical site look like during the time of Jesus? Despite continuous research and excavation, many questions still surround the structure and appearance of the Pool of Bethesda.

Piecing together the descriptions from the Bible and findings from modern archaeological excavations, this blog post will explore key takeaways and delve into various aspects that contribute to our understanding of the Pool of Bethesda.

As we unravel this mystery, keep in mind that our interpretations are based on the available evidence and may evolve as further discoveries are made over time.

Key Takeaways

  1. The Pool of Bethesda was a site of healing, particularly for a paralyzed man healed by Jesus (John 5:2-9).
  2. It was a large and architecturally complex structure, consisting of colonnades and various pools.
  3. Its location was near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem, which has been confirmed through archaeological excavations.
  4. The Pool of Bethesda was not only a place for healing but also held religious and social significance.
  5. There’s still much to learn about the exact layout and appearance of the Pool of Bethesda.
Uncovering the mysteries of the pool of bethesda: what did it look like?

The Biblical Description of the Pool of Bethesda

The Healing of a Paralyzed Man

The Pool of Bethesda is mentioned in the Gospel of John, where Jesus encounters a paralyzed man who had been ill for 38 years and waiting for healing (John 5:2-9). According to the scripture, the pool was surrounded by five covered colonnades (John 5:2).

The man was healed after Jesus instructed him to pick up his mat and walk (John 5:8).

The Stirring of the Water

The Bible describes an angel periodically stirring the waters of the pool, bringing about its curative properties (John 5:3-4).

Though this part of the text is debated among biblical scholars due to its absence in some early manuscripts, it highlights the supernatural nature and the belief in divine healing associated with the pool by the people of that time.

Furthermore, it underscores the importance of the Pool of Bethesda as a place for healing during Jesus’ time on earth.

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Symbolism and Significance

The name “Bethesda” is believed to have originated from the Hebrew term “beth hesda,” meaning “house of mercy” or “house of grace.” This further emphasizes the pool’s association with healing, both physical and spiritual.

The biblical account of Jesus healing the paralyzed man at the Pool of Bethesda is laden with symbolic elements, representing spiritual renewal and the divine power of Christ’s miracles.

Archaeological Findings and Discoveries

The Pool’s Location and Layout

The Pool of Bethesda has been discovered near the Sheep Gate in the northeast corner of Jerusalem’s Old City. Excavations at the site have revealed a series of pools, some of them having been built upon older pools or expanded with time.

The complex layout suggests that it was large, consisting of colonnades and pools surrounded by porticoes on all four sides. The prominent structure would have been visible to all those who entered Jerusalem through the Sheep Gate.

The Connection to Ancient Rituals

Archaeological evidence suggests that the Pool of Bethesda was not just a place for healing but also included spaces for rituals and religious activities. Remains of a Byzantine church and a Roman temple have been found near the site, indicating its religious significance.

Scholars have even proposed that the pool may have been used for ritual baths, emphasizing the importance of purity and cleansing for both physical and spiritual well-being.

The Passage of Time

Over the centuries, various structures in the vicinity of the Pool of Bethesda have been rebuilt and modified, making it challenging to identify the exact layout and appearance of the pool during Jesus’ time.

As excavations and studies continue, new discoveries may help us better understand and visualize the pool as depicted in the Gospel of John.


The Pool of Bethesda remains an intriguing subject for both scholars and believers. While its physical appearance may still be a subject of debate, the true significance of the pool lies in the biblical account of Jesus healing a paralyzed man.

This miraculous event serves as a reminder of the divine power of God and Jesus’ ministry on earth, providing hope and healing to those in need. As we continue to uncover the mysteries of the Pool of Bethesda, let us remember that the ultimate healing comes from our faith in Christ.

With every new discovery, our understanding of the Pool of Bethesda comes closer to the vivid descriptions in scripture. As archaeologists continue to unearth the past, we can appreciate the ongoing unfolding of the miraculous story that took place at the Pool of Bethesda more than 2,000 years ago.

May this knowledge deepen our understanding and appreciation of the life and ministry of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and the healing power of faith.

Pastor duke taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.