Background Information Old Testament New Testament New Testament (cont.) Gentile Period (cont.)
1-Biblical Jerusalem 16-Salem, Jebus 33-Ashlar Stones 51-Bethesda Pool 68-Saint Anne's Church
2-History of Jerusalem 17-Milo, Jebusite Wall 34-Temple Mount 52-Holy Sepulcher 69-Sultan's Pool
3a-Map of Today's City 18-Gihon Springs 35-NE of End of Wall 53-Garden Tomb 70-Citadel
3b-The Four Quarters 19-City of David 36-SE End of Wall 54-Fort Antonia 71-Colonnade Column
3c-Photos 20-David's Palace 37-Western Wall 55-Phasael Tower  
3d-Silwan 21-Temple Mount 38-West Wall Tunnel 56-Struthion Pool  
4-The Walls Today 22-Solomon's Walls 39-Mikvah, Ritual Baths 57-Gethsemane  
5-The Gates Today 23-Solomon's Quarries 40-The Large Mikvah 58-Tombs in Hinnom Miscellaneous
6-Archaeology Periods 24-Broad Wall 41-Wilson's Arch 59-Jerusalem Tombs Archaeological Finds
7-Archaeology History 25-Hezekiah's Tunnel 42-Warren's Gate Gentile Period Jason's Tomb
8-Old Ancient Core 26-Middle Gate 43-Barclay's Gate 60-Ecce Homo Lazarus' Tomb
9-Kidron Valley 27-Nehemiah's Wall 44-Robinson's Arch 61-Roman Inscription Tomb of David
10-Central Valley Hasmonean 45-Western Wall Street 62-Cardo Maximus Via Dolorosa
11-Hinnom Valley 28-Walls and Towers 46-Western Wall Shops 63-Roman Road Bazaars
12-Mount of Olives 29-Aqueduct 47-South Temple Wall 64-Nea Church Hezekiah's Pool
13-Mount Moriah 30-Acra 48-Archaeology Park 65-Al Aqsa Mosque Lachish and Assyria
14-Western Hill Mt Zion 31-Temple Mount 49-Siloam Road 66-Dome of the Rock .Ancient Artifacts, Period Pieces
15-Ophel 32-Tombs in Kidron 50-Siloam Pool 67-Temple Mount  
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24- Pool of Bethesda

The bridge-like structure on the right side of the photo is the dam that separated the south (left) side of the Pools of Bethesda from the north pool (to the right of the photo). The depth of the pool can be seen in this photo. When the Roman Empire became Christian (i.e., the Byzantine Empire of 326-638), it built a church over these two pools. One of the many arches that supported the large Byzantine structure can be seen in the middle of this photo.

This is a model of Jerusalem as it appeared in 70 AD. Notice the two pools that made up the Pools of Bethesda. The south and north pools can be seen, along with the five colonnaded porches that surrounded it. Each of the four sides had a colonnaded porch. The fifth colonnaded porch would be the covered dam that separated the two pools.


The area of the Pools of Bethesda has always had a source of water. In the days of the Old Testament, the area was outside the city of Jerusalem to the north. It had a large pool that shepherds used and was called the Sheep Pool. The gate on the north side of Jerusalem was thus called the Sheep Gate. In the 700’s BC a dam was built to turn the spring into a reservoir that would collect rain water which could then be channeled into the city. The area was associated with sheep, sacrifice, and the Temple because of its proximity to the Temple.

The Hasmoneans added a second pool on the south side of the dam and covered the channel to improve water quality. This site was uncovered in 1888 by K. Schick, but it had been known about since the days of the Byzantines and Crusaders, as evidenced by the remains of the church that was built over it. No ancient Jewish writers refer to this pool, although Josephus did write of the Pool of the Sheep-market. Some early Christian writers recorded a spring of water here that flowed with a red, ruddy color that some
people have tried to associate with the blood of the Temple sacrifices. The spring that feeds the pools has been located, and water still collects in the lower areas.


A model of the north end of the Temple Mount as viewed from the Mount of Olives.

This is a view from the dam that separates the two pools looking down into the depths of the southern pool. The dam along the right of the photo would have supported one of the five colonnaded streets. Jesus visited here in April of 28 AD during the second Passover of his ministry:

Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. 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. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie – the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well.’ ‘Sir,’ the invalid replied, I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’ At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. - John 5:1-9

The center of this photo (between the two bases of a missing arch) shows the location of the central cistern of the Pools of Bethesda in the days of the New Testament. In the layer above that we can see the remains of a temple to Asclepius. This temple, dedicated to the Roman god of healing, was built by the Romans in the 200’s for their new city “Aelia Capitolina”. Above that, we see the two stubs of columns from the Byzantine church that later stood on this site before it was destroyed in 614.

Water is still found under the vaulted rooms that supported the Byzantine church which was built over the northern pool around 350. It was destroyed in approximately 614.

Water located under an arch of the large Byzantine church built over the New Testament Pool of Bethesda. This photo was taken inside the northern pool against one of the edges of the pool.

This is the excavated southeast corner of the southern pool of the Pools of Bethesda. Notice the stone blocks used to build the walls of the pool on the left and bottom edges of the photo. The top right section of the photo shows unexcavated rubble, soil, rock, and fill.
 Watch Galyn's video from the Pool of Bethesda.




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