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Thread: The pool of Bethesda

  1. #1

    The pool of Bethesda

    Ever wonder about the angel at the pool of Bethesda? Why would an angel trouble the water and why would only one random person who was quick enough to be the first one in get healed?


    John 5
    After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

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

    3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.

    4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.

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    FresnoJoe (08-09-2015)

  3. #2
    This is an interesting read and may explain the customs and the 'gods' at the time.


    The Pool of Bethesda as a healing center of Asclepius

    ...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).

    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...

    http://jewishstudies.eteacherbiblica...ter-jerusalem/

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    FresnoJoe (08-09-2015)

  5. #3
    So the pool of Bethesda may have been one of the pagan 'healing' centers in the area and if that's true then there wouldn't have been an angel of the Lord involved:


    -In ancient Greece and Rome, an asclepeion (Ancient Greek: Ἀσκληπιεῖον Asklepieion; Ἀσκλαπιεῖον in Doric dialect; Latin aesculapīum) was a healing temple, sacred to the god Asclepius.

    Asclepius may first have been worshipped as a hero in Trikka, Thessaly, which ancient mythographers generally regarded as the place of his birth, but to date archaeological excavations have yet to uncover his sanctuary there.[1][2] Epidauros, on the other hand, was the first place to worship Asclepius as a god, beginning sometime in the 5th century BC. The asclepieion at Epidaurus is both extensive and well preserved. There is an asclepieion located on the south slopes of the Acropolis of Athens which dates to around 420 BC.

    Starting around 350 BC, the cult of Asclepius became increasingly popular. Pilgrims flocked to asclepieia to be healed. They slept overnight ("incubation") and reported their dreams to a priest the following day. He prescribed a cure, often a visit to...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asclepeion

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    FresnoJoe (08-09-2015)

  7. #4
    If you read the whole article, the author did a great job of explaining the particulars involved. Here's a few more of the key notes:


    ...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)..."


    ...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.

    Contrary 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...


    ...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...

    http://jewishstudies.eteacherbiblica...ter-jerusalem/

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    FresnoJoe (08-09-2015)

  9. #5
    This article confirms that it was a pagan 'healing' center:

    ...Archaeologists from Yale Divinity School have excavated the site. Here’s what they discovered:

    Between 150 BCE and 70 CE, a popular healing center was located in this area… The baths, grottos and a water cistern were arranged for medicinal and religious purposes. After bathing, patients could sleep in a grotto. “Priests” were available to interpret dreams as part of the healing ritual.

    This description precisely matches the ritual of Asclepius, the Greek god of healing.

    The pool of Bethesda was a shrine to Asclepius. A couple centuries after Jesus, the Romans replaced the bath and grottos with a full-fledged temple to Asclepius...

    http://benirwin.me/2007/06/12/grumpy...swimming-pool/

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    Senior Member Tehilah Ba'Aretz's Avatar
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    The archaeological evidence is clear that there was worship to the Hellenistic god of healing at the pool called Bethesda. You might find it interesting to look up a picture of the statue depicting the god. He looks like an angel, wings and all!
    Hellenistic culture emphasizes two core values and you can understand the entire culture if you begin with their places in the society. They are: hedonism as defined as the worship of pleasure and esthetics as defined by the worship of beauty. You see, sick people are not pretty nor are they any fun. So in the Hellenistic culture, the person who is most healthy is the best candidate for healing. The other sick people are not fit for the ideals of the society and can just die quietly in the corner or be put out of their misery. The one who can jump up and get into the pool is more deserving of healing than the guy who cannot move without help.

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    Super Moderator Quest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tehilah Ba'Aretz View Post
    The archaeological evidence is clear that there was worship to the Hellenistic god of healing at the pool called Bethesda. You might find it interesting to look up a picture of the statue depicting the god. He looks like an angel, wings and all!
    Hellenistic culture emphasizes two core values and you can understand the entire culture if you begin with their places in the society. They are: hedonism as defined as the worship of pleasure and esthetics as defined by the worship of beauty. You see, sick people are not pretty nor are they any fun. So in the Hellenistic culture, the person who is most healthy is the best candidate for healing. The other sick people are not fit for the ideals of the society and can just die quietly in the corner or be put out of their misery. The one who can jump up and get into the pool is more deserving of healing than the guy who cannot move without help.
    UGH! That would make sense in why Jesus went to him...to display the love of the Father to even the most wretched from the world's perspective!

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  17. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Tehilah Ba'Aretz View Post
    The archaeological evidence is clear that there was worship to the Hellenistic god of healing at the pool called Bethesda...
    Thank you! When we discussed this the last time there was a little debate as to whether this pool could have been a mikvah, a Jewish religious ceremonial water cleansing facility. Thanks for clearing that up. :)

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  19. #10
    Senior Member FresnoJoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tehilah Ba'Aretz View Post
    The archaeological evidence is clear that there was worship to the Hellenistic god of healing at the pool called Bethesda. You might find it interesting to look up a picture of the statue depicting the god. He looks like an angel, wings and all!
    Hellenistic culture emphasizes two core values and you can understand the entire culture if you begin with their places in the society. They are: hedonism as defined as the worship of pleasure and esthetics as defined by the worship of beauty. You see, sick people are not pretty nor are they any fun. So in the Hellenistic culture, the person who is most healthy is the best candidate for healing. The other sick people are not fit for the ideals of the society and can just die quietly in the corner or be put out of their misery. The one who can jump up and get into the pool is more deserving of healing than the guy who cannot move without help.
    Amen~!

    It Is Astonishing To Me How The LORD Jesus Flips
    The World's Core Values Completely
    Upside-Down

    "He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD's, and he hath set the world upon them." 1 Samuel 2:8

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