John 5:2 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 5:2, NIV: "Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades."

John 5:2, ESV: "Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades."

John 5:2, KJV: "Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches."

John 5:2, NASB: "Now in Jerusalem, by the Sheep Gate, there is a pool which in Hebrew is called Bethesda, having five porticoes."

John 5:2, NLT: "Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches."

John 5:2, CSB: "By the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there is a pool, called Bethesda in Aramaic, which has five colonnades."

What does John 5:2 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The Pool of Bethesda is in the northeast corner of Jerusalem, near the temple. In decades past, critics pointed to this passage as an example of historical error in the Bible. Eventually, though, archaeologists discovered a two-section pool near the Sheep Gate matching the description given in John 5:2. The "porticoes," "colonnades," or "porches" were pillared areas meant to provide shade from the sun.

The fact that this area had available shade might have been one reason for the large crowd of disabled people gathered there. Depending on the weather, this could have been an extremely busy area. This would have added to the public spectacle of Jesus' upcoming miracle. Even more so, the man Jesus is about to heal has been crippled for almost forty years. This makes him a particularly effective example of God's power; there would be no doubt that his healing was miraculous.

Verse 3 will point out that there were many people, with many disabilities, gathered by the pool. Sadly, these were huddled right next to the temple. The fact that there could be so many destitute and un-helped people so close to the house of God reflects poorly on Israel's spiritual state at that time.