What does John 5:2 mean?
ESV: Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades.
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.
NASB: Now in Jerusalem, by the Sheep Gate, there is a pool which in Hebrew is called Bethesda, having five porticoes.
CSB: By the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there is a pool, called Bethesda in Aramaic, which has five colonnades.
NLT: Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches.
KJV: Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
NKJV: Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches.
Verse Commentary:
The Pool of Bethesda is near the temple in the northeast corner of Jerusalem. 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.

John is also pointing out that there were many people, with many disabilities, gathered by the pool (John 5:3). Sadly, these people 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.
Verse Context:
John 5:1–15 contains the third of John's seven ''signs'' of Christ. A man crippled for decades expresses no prior knowledge of Jesus, nor an immediate desire to be healed. Jesus heals the man and tells him to walk. For carrying his mat—working—local religious leaders then confront the man. Yet he still doesn't know who Jesus is. Jesus meets the man in the temple and warns him about the dangers of sin. Once the city's leaders find out that Jesus was responsible for the healing, they will confront Him for violating the Sabbath, and for claiming to be equal with God.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus again returns to Jerusalem, as required for the various feast days. While there, He heals a man who had been crippled for nearly forty years. Since this occurred on the Sabbath, local religious leaders are angry. In fact, they are more upset with Jesus for working on the Sabbath than amazed at His miracle. In response, Jesus offers an important perspective on evidence. Jesus refers to human testimony, scriptural testimony, and miracles as reasons to believe His declarations. Christ also lays claim to many of the attributes of God, making a clear claim to divinity.
Chapter Context:
Chapters 1 through 4 showed Jesus avoiding major publicity. Here, in chapter 5, He will begin to openly challenge the local religious leaders. This chapter is Jesus' first major answer to His critics in this gospel. The fact that Jesus is willing to heal on the Sabbath sets up a theme of His upcoming disagreements with the Pharisees. Jesus also provides an important perspective on the relationship between evidence and faith, which He will expand on in later chapters. This chapter also establishes a key point made by Jesus' critics: His claims to be God.
Book Summary:
The disciple John wrote the gospel of John decades after the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke were written. The author assumes that a reader is already familiar with the content of these other works. So, John presents a different perspective, with a greater emphasis on meaning. John uses seven miracles—which he calls "signs"— to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
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