The Pool Of Bethesda As A Healing Center Of Asclepius

The Pool of Bethesda as a healing center of Greek-god Asclepius (John 5)

Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Hebrew called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed.

When it comes to determining the level of the gospel’s historical reliability, the story that will end in the healing of a paralyzed man is one of the most fascinating textual units in the Gospel of John. Until the discovery of the pool with five-roofed colonnades near the Sheep Gate (although everyone was looking for a pentagon shaped pool at first), many did not consider the Gospel of John to be historically reliable. The gospel was thought to be either allegorical (truthful only in the sense similar to apocalyptic literature) or simply inaccurate (written by someone who was not from Judea and was wholly unfamiliar with Jerusalem’s geography and topography). However, both pools mentioned in the Gospel of John were identified – the Pool of Bethesda in John 5:2 and the Pool of Siloam in John 9:7. The pool mentioned in this chapter turned out to have five colonnades (as described in the Gospel), but it was not structured as a pentagon. There were four colonnades separated in the middle by another one, thus forming the five colonnades just as the Gospel described.

It is of possible that the pool of Bethesda was a Jewish religious ceremonial water cleansing facility, mikvah, associated with the Jerusalem Temple. But there are other interpretive options as well that to my mind make a lot more sense.

There are many good reasons to believe that this structure situated walking distance from the back then walls of the city of Jerusalem was a healing center dedicated to Greco-Roman god of well-being and health – Asclepius. Devotionl to Asclepius was well spread through the lands dominated by Roman Empire. There were more than 400 asclepeions (Asclepius-related facilities throughout empire), functioning as healing centers and dispensers of the god’s grace and mercy towards those in need).

image001

Asclepius was the god of medicine and health in ancient Greek religion. The god’s mythical daughters, for example, included the goddesses Hygeia and Panacea. We can hear in their Greek names our modern words for “hygiene” and “panacea” – key concepts associated today with medicine and health.  Snakes were a key attribute of Asclepius’s cult of health and healing. Even today, one of the key symbols of modern medicine is a stick with a snake around it.

Now stop and think for a moment. If this is correct, it may change our perception of the entire story described here. You see it is possible that the blind, lame, and paralyzed were not waiting for Israel’s God to heal them; but rather for the merciful healing act of Asclepius. Before you begin to think that the above reconstruction is farfetched, please, consider the following:

Second century Christian apologist Justin Martyr mentions popular obsession with Asclepius among his contemporaries saying: “When the Devil brings forward Asclepius as the raiser of the dead and healer of all diseases, may I not say that in this matter likewise he has imitated the prophecies about Christ? (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, the Jew, 69). In a statement attributed to the second century Jewish Sage Rabbi Akiva we read: “Once Akiva was asked to explain why persons afflicted with disease sometimes returned cured from a pilgrimage to the shrine of an idol, though it was surely powerless. (Babylonian Talmud, Avodah Zarah 55a).”

Pool of Bethesda/Asclepion (Jerusalem branch) was, probably, a part of Hellenization of Jerusalem along with several other important projects such as Roman theater, Roman sports complex, Roman baths and Roman fortress Antonia (near the pool). It is probably referring to such Hellenization of Jerusalem that Qumranites devotees, authoring their commentary on Prophet Nahum wrote: “Where is the lion’s den, the cave of the young lions? (Nah.2:12b) The interpretation of this concerns Jerusalem, which had become a dwelling for the wicked ones of the Gentiles… (4QpNah).”

In that case, the pool of Bethesda (house of mercy in Hebrew) does not have to be a Jewish site at all, but rather a Greek Asclepion-affiliated facility. It is very important to notice that in this particular healing Jesus does not command the one he healed to wash himself in the pool (pool of Bethesda), while he does issue a direct command to go and wash at the pool of Siloam when it comes to the healing of the blind man (John 9:6-7). It therefore appears that while the pool of Bethesda was a pagan place (Asclepion), while the pool of Siloam was connected with Jerusalem Temple. Of course, Jerusalem was the center for religious Jews in Jesus’ days, but it was also a headquarters for Hellenized ideals in Judea which was under strict Roman control with the Antonia Fortress dominating the northwestern end of the Temple Mount.

[… waiting for the moving of the waters; for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted.][1]

While in the brackets some modern Bibles still include the above text (3b-4) it is not contained in the earliest and most reliable manuscripts available to us today and, therefore, should not be treated as authentic. It seems that the Christian copyist unfamiliar with cult of Asclepius and the Pool of Bethesda’s affiliation with it, added on the explanation about the Angel of the Lord stirring up the waters, seeking to clarify things for his readers. In all reality he ended up sending all following generations of readers in the wrong interpretive direction, missing the whole point of the story.

image002Contrary to popular opinion, ancient scribes were not always accurate in preserving every jot and tittle of the text they were copying. They did not embellish things, but certainly were not afraid “to clarify issues,” when they thought “something was missing.” Hence the new character in this story, the angel of Israel’s God, was added by the well-meaning, but misguided copyist. The copyist, unlike the author of John’s Gospel, was not aware of the Greek religious identity of Bethesda, which sounded to him just from the text he had before him, without any evidence of contemporary material culture, as the house of mercy of Israel’s God. He was simply mistaken.

One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.

The sick people who were often seen on the porches of the pool of Bethesda were made up of two types. Those who came in to try their luck here as part of the quest for healing on the way, as it were, to another promising healing solution and those who had already given up all hope for any kind of healing. In response to Jesus’ question about whether or not he wished to get well, we read an answer that was anything but hopeful. In the words of the sick man “I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” (vs. 7)  The stirring up of the water was likely happening when the priests of the Asclepius cult, would open the connecting pipes between the higher and the lower portions of the pool of Bethesda. The water in the upper reservoir would then flow into the lower one.

The “institutionalized” man was there for a long time as the Gospel tells us in the context of a deeply religious albeit Greek religious environment. He was a man with a significant personal need and with all his hope gone. Asclepius in Greek methodology was also known not only for his healing and life-giving powers, but for this attitude of benevolence for the people, which made him of the most popular divinities in the Greco-Roman world. Later in the story Jesus would meet the man he healed in the Israel’s Temple and will warn him not to continue in his life of sin (something that fits perfectly with the idea that the Pool of Bethesda was Asclepion).

This is a powerful story. Sickness – the symbol of human chaos was called into order by the power of Jesus’ word, just like the pre-creation chaos was once called by Israel’s Heavenly King into the order of creation in exactly the same way. Now the royal son of Israel’s King came into the pagan abode (asclepeion) and healed the Jewish man without any magical formulas and spells. Jesus did so simply by telling the man to get up and walk. In other words, Jesus healed the man the same way Israel’s God once created the world – simply by the power of His spoken word.

[1] NASB.

About the author

Dr. Eli Lizorkin-EyzenbergTo secure your spot in our new course “The Jewish Background of New Testament” - CLICK HERE NOW

You might also be interested in:

Pardes: Abram And Sarai In Egypt...

By Julia Blum

Abraham In Egypt (lech Lecha...

By Julia Blum

Join the conversation (78 comments)

Leave a Reply

  1. Alison Tomlinson

    John 5:4 in the KJV says 4 For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; It says ‘angel’ rather than ‘angel of the Lord’. In other places, the KJV often specifies an ‘angel of the Lord’ or ‘Holy angel’ or ‘angel of God’. That has often made me think that the angel in John 5:4 was a fallen angel. It hadn’t occurred to me that the pool was dedicated to Asclepius. That would explain a lot.

  2. Cheryl

    This has a ring of truth to it. I look forward to more insights. Please email your posts.

  3. website design company

    I am impressed with this internet site, very I
    am a big fan.

  4. John miller

    As was just visiting at the site in Jerusalem, enjoyed your explanation and, yes, it is the power of God’s speaking voice which brings order and redemption. So, are we listening for Him? Are we attentive to His revelation already given?

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Glad to see our lectures are not merely theoretic!

  5. John Pereira

    Dr. Eli,
    Shalom.A truly fresh perspective at this healing.Thank you.John is my favourite Gospel and am looking forward to more from you.God bless you.

    John

  6. sarah

    So when the Pharisees are mad at the guy for carrying his mat, they are mad at someone who has been brought back to the faith by this healing. This seems to make the Pharisees even worse than you first think – how petty to criticize a guy for carrying a mat (breaking the sabbath) when he has just been rescued from an even worse sin (going to a pagan God for healing).

    How does all this inform your understanding of Jesus’ line: “My Father is still at work, I am still at work”?

  7. Stephen A.

    “They did not embellish things, but certainly were not afraid “to clarify issues,” when they thought “something was missing.'” – That is the definition of embellishment! Clearly the gospels were embellished and changed, as evidenced by this story, which, without the important details mentioned in this article about Asclepius, it’s hard to understand his rebuke of the man later on.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      I agree. What I mean by not embellishing is that did not have a malicious intent.

  8. James Jackson

    Very helpful article for a sermon I am working on. I noticed that the Greek word used for “well” or “made well” throughout this passage is hygeias. It’s relatively rare in the NT (13X total, and 5 in this passage!) and seems to be used exclusively to describe physical healing. Compare to the more common sozo, which is used interchangably for both physical healing and spiritual salvation (Luke 17:19, all through Romans 10). In your opinion, does the use of hygieas here support the theory that Bethesda was an asklepion? For the Greek audience, it seems like the use of the name of Asclepius’s daughter would be hard to miss!

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Dear James, welcome to our forum! So glad to hear from you. Dr. Eli

  9. Sara Cecilia

    Blessed Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eysenberg,

    First, I especially want to mention the joy and courage that reading your posts have given me.

    Indeed your blog gives me comfort – but as one of the disturbed I have a somewhat confused question, although maybe on the same note as some earlier blog-guests.

    My question concerns the fact that medicine still uses a symbol of a snake on a stick. Someone who compared the impalement (i.e. the bloody sacrificial death of Our LORD) with how the bronze snake was lifted up in the desert claimed that seraph/seraphim could be Biblical Hebrew for snake/s as well as for an angel “of the Lord” so to speak. Could it be possible that a flying [“dragon”]-snake was claimed to visit the pool, stirring the water?

    Shalom!

    Sissie

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      I am not aware of the dragon tradition you mention. Bu the presence of real snakes let into the pool to stir the water is quite possible. Learning should be enjoyable even if it challenges us sometimes.

  10. gus pecorelli

    Interesantisimo comentario, muchas gracias..

  11. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

    You are most welcome, Schylah!
    I am glad you are finding the articles helpful. Let’s keep on thinking together about all things Jewish.

    Dr. Eli

  12. Schylah Schreuder

    Thank you so much for your insightful articles – they broaden my horizons! Keep up the good work!

  13. Ronny Gaytant

    Shalom, Dr.Eli,

    We are very pleased to have found this. It was a blessing, some have found more information about this event. For us it is an answer to prayer, yet, to find a good explanation for our home town and our site. We continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and that the Lord may bless you!

    Wij zijn heel verheugd dat wij dit hebben gevonden. Het was een zegen, nog wat meer uitleg te hebben gevonden over deze gebeurtenis. Voor ons is het een gebedsverhoring, om toch goede uitleg te vinden voor onze huisgemeente en onze site. Wij bidden verder voor de vrede van Jeruzalem, en dat de Here u zegenen mag!

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Welcome to the forum! Please, in the future write only in English. We don’t yet have a version of this site in German! Blessings and much peace, Dr. Eli

  14. noel fernando sales da silva

    Shalom, Dr Eli .
    It is a good message . Be sure it really helped me .

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Thank you, Noel for your kind words!

      1. noel fernando sales da silva

        Thank you so much . I’ like to know what do you think about POSSIBLE CONNECTION BETWEEN EXODUS 7:22 AND JOHN5 . SHALOM .

        1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

          What do you have in mind. I looked it up and your point was not obvious to me. Sorry. Can you explain?

          1. noel fernando sales da silva

            Shalom. .
            Sorry I will try explain better . The point is : Was the same “kind” of power working on the healing at the pool by the moving of Waters and the power working at Exodus 7:22 – ( secret arts of Egyptian magicians) ? What do you think about it ?

          2. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

            I don’t know what power worked in Egyptian magicians, but I think I explain in the article what I think actually stirred the water in the Pool of Bethesda.

  15. Prof. Henrietta van Winsen

    What we must never forget is the Muslim heritage, because they did destroy a lot of the remnants of Hellenization. Even so, architecturally the Greek styles seems to have been favoured all over the world for many, many centuries. When we talk about the snake in the desert it is best to look at the Egyptian heritage and the veneration of the cobra in Egyptology.

  16. Maria

    Shalom Dr. Eli,
    Your explanation makes me wondering about ‘Nehustan’, the snake God told Moses to put on a stick, which Jechizkiah destroyed because of the pagan cult the people made around it.
    The Grecians in later ages took ‘Nehustan’, to turn it into their idol ‘Aesclepius’, didn’t they?
    And didn’t Judas the Maccabee destroy all Grecian/hellenistic idols and sites that were connected to them? Certainly he did this to those in and around Jerusalem, for he was full of zeal to cleanse the Temple, Jerusalem, the land and the people from all idolatry. God gave His laws to keep the land and the people of Israel ‘kosher’ at mount Sinai, during those 38 years in the wilderness and afterwards!

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Shalom, Maria. Thank you for your thoughtful feedback and questions.

      1) I don’t think that Greeks got the snake from Moses :-). Theirs is an independent source.

      2) The Maccabees rededicated the Temple, yes, but in between the Maccabees and architectural projects of Herod the Great who was committed to the Hellenization a lot of time has passed. It is very difficult to argue with archaeology about what was found in Jerusalem and in Judea. Lots of buildings look Greek.

  17. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

    I c. I must admit the 38 years connection you pointed out is indeed intriguing!

  18. Margalit

    Hi,
    In the p’shat, there is a literal lame man… and very insightful all you shared! In the remez , more is revealed. The lame man gave excuses why he did not enter in, and lay there 38 years. Israel is the man, who came to the promised land, 10 spies gave excuses why they could not enter in, and Deut 2:14 says they stayed 38 years in the wilderness. Yeshuah says to the man, “get up” (aliyah) and “walk”; Isaiah 2:3. I saw this picture recently when listening to a minister preach on this passage, giving a wonderful drash-sermon application.
    Appreciate so much your teachings….
    Blessings

  19. Woka

    I’m sure that many times I am much too simplistic-and my knowledge is often based on experience rather than research – which can work both ways, I suppose. When I read Jesus looking at the man and saying, “Sin no more…..” – immediately what comes to mind is a very personal, private communication.
    There are times when, surrounded with people, a friend can look at a friend, maybe saying a word or two or saying nothing at all and the message is completely understood. I have had just that experience with Holy Spirit…at just the right moment….that small touch comes to my heart and I change directions.

    1. Kat

      Woka, what you said makes sense to me. I started following Christ because an evangelist said “sin no more” (in words I understood from a form of Judaism background to a Western Christian 🙂 ). It has made it difficult to communicate with other people and read my Bible.

  20. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

    Kat, no sure what you mean. Or I could just be too tired :-).

    1. Kat

      Your article has brought up a very important error in my LANGUAGE that made the transition between Judaism and Christianity hard. The minute I overcame (walked into the light with a horrible wrong done to me) the words “Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you” implied that Jesus would do horrible things to me if I didn’t perform perfectly. (This deception often spins into the teaching of unrelated consequences (ie your mother died because you got a poor grade in school) . I believe you are correct when you says “human chaos was called into order by the power of Jesus’ word”. This would tie into Matthew 6:33?, not worshiping false Gods.

      1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

        I personally don’t think there was a ever a transition between what we call know Judaism (Rabbinic Judaism) and Christianity (non-Jewish Christ-following movement). I don’t think they ever met historically, both however have roots in Ancient Israelite faith. I recommend this article for your attention – http://iibsblogs.wpengine.com/inventing-christian-identity-paul-ignatius-theodosius-i/

  21. Kat

    Taking into consideration that Jesus is High Priest and the power of His spoken word, I must reconsider the possibility that Jesus was opening the man’s eyes when He said, “ Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” I see this as a possibility because there is evidence in Romans 7 that Paul’s eyes were opened by God (pointing to Christ – Romans 7:22) and then again by the High Priest (Romans 7:25) Whether the man was healed or not (sin no more) I cannot say, but I can see Jesus healing powers connecting the Torah to believing in Jesus.
    Psalm 119:18, Mark 4:12
    Gen 3:7, John 5:19 – 21, Acts 26:18

  22. Margalit

    The lame man beside the “house of mercy” or another suggested “house of olive tree” (both appropriate) is a picture of Israel, who gave excuses why they could not enter in the land, so they remained 38-years in the wilderness (Deut 2:14). Yeshua says to the man-Israel, “get up/aliyah”… Come, and let us get up/go up to the mountain of YHVH. To the house of the Elohim of Jacob. He will teach us His ways, and we shall WALK in His paths. For out of Tsiyon shall go forth the torah, and the word of YHVH from Jerusalem.” Isaiah 2:3 We Praise You Father for your mercies through our Yeshua!

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Margalit, I am not following your logic here. Can you please rephrase and guide me on how do you understand this again?

  23. Tatsiana

    Thank you very much for this beautiful article. I always had a problem with this “Angel of The Lord ” helping those who were strong enough to get to the pool before others . This whole attitude of leaving most helpless people even more frustrated didn’t make any sense to me.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      yes. me too. 🙂

    2. Verna Jetter

      I agree with you, Tatsiana. I always felt the same way. It’s not like God to favor one who was fortunate enough to get help to get that one into a position to be healed. God always works through faith, as the woman with the issue of blood was healed. God rewards faith. As a good teacher rewards a student who trusts the teacher’s competency, God rewards those who trust in His ability. And it is marvelous in my eyes!

  24. Elizabeth Buckley

    Dr. Eli, I really miss being in your classes. You have such a wealth of knowledge and the God given insight to bring the stories to life but more than that, to give us, your students, revelation that you have received from the Holy Spirit. 
     
    In reading Ezk. 36 I have been most impressed with the LORD saying: “I am not blessing your land for your sake but for the sake of my name. From the worlds view that sounds very egotistical, but in truth the glory of God’s name, of God Himself is the salvation of all things. In Him we live and move and have our being. When He is honored/exhalted we are abundantly blessed. 

    Blessings to you!!
    Elizabeth Buckley

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Elizabeth, I miss you too! Thank you so much for your kind comment and this encouragement!

  25. Michael J Contos

    Was Christ helping the invalid to use his faith to heal? In other words, did the man’s faith in the words spoken by the Lord enable his body to be cured? I like to think so. Jesus enabled the man to to heal because the man believed he was healed; he believed he could walk without the help of any so-called sacred waters being stirred by Hellenized Jewish male

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Michael, thank you so much for your comment. I think, though you are missing the point of the text 🙂 in the wider context of the Gospel of John. Here it is not talking about the mechanics of healing as such, but about the authority of the one who heals. Am I wrong?

  26. Joe Zias

    If one looks at the archaeological/anthropological record as opposed to the written narrative, one sees that when it comes to death and disease, Jews were covering ‘all their bets’ and apparently, when it came to water, even more so. Two cases in point come to mind where Jews appeared to do whatever they could to deal with these issues. When we excavated the tomb of the High Priest family, Caiphias in the early 90’s ,I found a coin in a the cranium (in situ) adhering to the palate. This clearly was placed there after death to pay the boatman to cross that body of water, the Styx. Earlier we found the same in Jericho, thus showing that in times of need or crisis, everything was ‘kosher.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      The clear categories of what was Jewish and what was not, what was “kosher” and what was not are much later and tell us more about how historians and theologians would like to see things than how the things really were. It is not just the issue of text vs. material culture, because the material culture just like the text was always propagandistic in its nature.

  27. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

    Shalom!

  28. jose daniel

    Shalom a todos, agraderzco su gran enseñanza ya que a traves de esta verdadera interpretacion podemos seguir creciendo y creyendo en el verdadero REY de REYES. Que Dios les siga Bendiciendo.

  29. Conrad Cumberbatch

    The historical back ground is enlightening. However the research end very abrupt without an explanation of how the healing was accopmplished by this Greek god. If no angel troubled the water and yet some were heald how did this happen. ?Please explain

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      I think CBN documentary deals with it. Watch it here – http://www.cbn.com/tv/1405421476001

  30. Verna Jetter

    I love that Jesus simply used His Words to Heal the man, proclaiming, by inference, that He is God Almighty. If one has a place to hear His word, than he is of God. John 8:47

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Thank you, Verna!

  31. Woka

    AGAIN! THANK YOU!! This holds an incredible authority and power previously overlooked…as it clearly demonstrates the loving Heart of Jesus to rescue anyone ready to be rescued. The clarity of Jesus’ disdain for the worthless Greek gods adds to the true depth of His purpose. I love the way He so obviously……as the kids today say…”dis’ed those powerless gods!”

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      I agree. This interpretation makes Jesus much more powerful! I think there is a movement in John. First, healing in Galilee. Then healing in Asclepion, Then healing near Siloam, then resurrection of Eliezer (Lazarus)!

  32. Joe Zias

    Nearly all, if not all springs in the country have a tradition of healing attached to the site.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Yes! 🙂

  33. Kat

    Can I assume that those who were institutionalized in this culture would not have been well educated in the Torah or social/cultural customs? I wonder if this miracle put this man in positions he was not prepared for? Perhaps Jesus was general in His comment to “stop sinning” because throwing out 615 or so faults would have been overwhelming. Going to the Synagogue on the Sabbath could indicate the man had knowledge of the Ten Commandments and it also fits with worshiping other Gods and repentance.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      I think you reading this too individualistically :-). Its not about the man. It is polemic against the Jerusalemite leadership that allowed for this kind of thing to go on and are powerless to help the people they pastor! Remember the point that John’s Gospel makes is that Jesus is the real High-priest. He has come to judge and displace the wicked shepherds of Israel. In another words this case is part of the big picture that the Gospel of John paints.

      1. Kat

        Thank you I think I understand your point. 🙂 I have learned to fix my eyes on who Jesus is instead of focusing on my own circumstances, so I should fix my eyes on who Jesus is instead of focusing on their (the paralyzed man) circumstances when I read the Bible 🙂

  34. Nicholas

    Dear Eli,
    Thank-you ! this is a WORLD CHANGING presentation & If Jewish people would stand up & tell the Gentiles the truth NOT ONLY about Siloam, but MANY MANY other stories in the Bible — the world would be a brighter more healthy place, as it is many followers of the religious Christian movements in world churches are in thickest darkness — being milked by CASH COW false prophets & cash hungry kings. I guess this is why satan HATE Jews so much —— GOD BLESS YOU ISRAEL <3

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Nicholas, thank you for your prayers for the peace of Jerusalem in every meaning of that phrase!

  35. Frank Hamrick

    Thanks for placing the text in its proper cultural/historical setting, thus assisting the exegesis of its meaning and intent. So often readers only see the text from a 21st century, non-Jewish/Greek/Roman perspective and thus miss the original message and authorial intent.

    I read each of your posts with great interest, as I have sought for many years to immerse myself in the cultural. geographical, and historical setting of Biblical history. Your contribution to that endeavor has been most helpful. Keep it up!

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Frank, welcome to our group! I am glad to hear of your commitment to responsible study! This is where the Jewish background and Greco-Roman background of NT intersect in our text. Both are needed to responsible reading.

  36. Karl G. Wagner

    Many many thanks for this very interesting article; it gave me a lot!! Kind regards, Karl

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Karl, I am so glad you are enjoying the group’s interaction and content.

  37. Luis R. Santos

    14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”

    So the implication here might be that the sin Jesus alludes to may not have been some kind of behavior that led to his infirmity, but to the sin of looking for healing from another god other than the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob & Jesus.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      I think so. It is hard to tell the difference. What is clear is that Jesus usually is compassionate towards those who suffer from sickness, while he healed the man he issued him a stern almost incentive 🙂 warning not to sin any more (I think this is a singular case in entire NT). Perhaps, I am wrong. Can someone think of another healing where Jesus says: “Don’t you sin any more!”

  38. Uwaoma

    Wow! Another Great Stuff! This is proper Biblical Teaching, Bible Study and Expositions.
    God must be in this!

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Let’s keep thinking together.

  39. Luis R. Santos

    Well said!

  40. Betty Koth

    Thank you for continuing to send me the messages on my Email.
    This last one about the pool & healing really is a wonderful example of your group bringing out the
    many truths from the original texts.
    Thank you again. Betty Koth

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Betty, we do our research and then we rely on the feedback or many people. Thank you!

  41. Robert

    Great lesson thank you

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Thanks, Robert! Let’s keep on thinking together!

  42. Prof. Henrietta van Winsen

    This is a very interesting article. It has long been understood and accepted that copyists often caused less clarity than that they clarified a text or a portion of a text. This is certainly one of those examples where the copyist actually did more ‘harm’ to the meaning of the text that clarifying it. I have long wondered about the absence of an asclepion in Jerusalem and this article does clear up a lot of questions re the importance of this pericope in John’s gospel.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Dear Prof. Henrietta van Winsen, many thanks for your insight and feedback.

      1. Truth

        This seems to me like a plagiarisation of pagan healing story. there is no extrabiblical evidence that Jesus healed nay man at the pool.

        1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

          On the contrary. Jewish Christ heals to show who is the real thing. That is the point of the story. If you get this book http://jewishgospelofjohn.com/ you will see my point and how it fits the whole Gospel. Blessings, Eli