Weekly Devotion – John 5:2-3

Published 1:06 pm Tuesday, April 14, 2020

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By Mike Caton

John 5:2-3, 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.

John is setting the scene here for us. The sheep gate was in the north east part of the city of Jerusalem, it was close to the temple, and it was the gate that the sheep were usually brought though to be slaughtered in sacrifice. Tradition tells us this area was called the sheepish, not in the sense of bashful, but because there were many sheep in the area. The pool John mentions here, was filled with rainwater and was used to wash the sheep that were about to be sacrificed. And there was a pen here to keep the sheep together. This area was discovered by archaeologists in the 1900s, and surprising to some, was just as John had described it.

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There was also some traditions of healing that took place here, therefore the blind, lame, and paralyzed would gather here. Think about it. There was shade under the covered colonnades. There was water here to drink, if you didn’t mind a little sheep washing in it. There were stories about folks being healed here. And being close to the gate that was close to the temple might put you in a good place to beg alms. People going to the temple to worship, offer a sacrifice, or seek prayers or guidance might be in a more generous mood.

Undoubtedly, there was much happening at this area. And it is easy for us to overlook things in a busy atmosphere. But maybe those are the times we need to be most careful, to notice things the most. How many people walked through this area every day and never saw the people, never saw the pool, never thought about the what happened here every day as sheep were prepared for sacrifice. And so often, we walk through our world and never see the people who are around us every day. No doubt, some of those folks need attention, need help, need encouragement, need hope. And we might be the person to give it to them. Or maybe they might be the person to give you those things, the very thing you need at that moment. We need to learn to focus more outward, more on others, and less on ourselves. This life is not just about me.

Father, help me notice all you have put around me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Mike Caton is the preacher at Mount Olive Church of Christ in Belhaven. He volunteers at the Ponzer Fire Department and works part time with Hyde County EMS. If you would like to receive daily devotions in your inbox, email mikecaton@centurylink.net.



Weekly Devotion – John 5:1