Pools Around the Temple

November 17, 2016

On our recent trip to Israel, while we were in the area of the Antonia Fortress, our guide Zack showed us some artwork that I found to be a helpful illustration of the area north of the temple in Jerusalem.

Pools of Jerusalem. Shows area north of temple mount. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Pools of Jerusalem. Shows area north of temple mount. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

This is useful for showing the location of the Antonia Fortress, which would have housed the Roman soldiers stationed in Jerusalem to keep peace (to the chagrin of the Jewish nation). While many believe that it would have been here that Jesus was put on trial before Pilate, it is more likely that Pilate would have been at Herod’s palace there in Jerusalem. For more on this, see the excellent post by Ferrell Jenkins here.

The Antonia Fortress would have been the location of the barracks where Paul was taken when some Jews in Jerusalem were enraged to the point of seeking to kill him: “the commanding officer ordered Paul to be brought back into the barracks. He told them to interrogate Paul by beating him with a lash so that he could find out the reason the crowd was shouting at Paul in this way (Acts 22:24, NET).

This illustration is also helpful in visualizing the setting of John 5, where Jesus healed the man who had been paralyzed thirty-eight years: “Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches” (v.2). Here you can see the location of the sheep gate, as well as the twin pools of Bethesda.

Excavations at the Pool of Bethesda. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Excavations at the Pool of Bethesda. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

My previous posts on Bethesda can be seen by clicking here, here, here and here.

When you study the Bible, you are studying real events, real places, real people!


En Route to the Pool of Bethesda, Lavigerie

November 18, 2014

On the north end of Jerusalem one can see the ruins of the pool(s) of Bethesda, mentioned in John 5 as the location where Jesus healed a lame man. That was one of seven miracles recorded by divine selection in the Gospel of John to provide reasons for believing in Jesus, evidences for faith in Him as the Christ, the Son of God (John 20:30-31).

While my group was visiting Israel last year, I photographed a statue of Lavigerie, located close by the pools.

Lavigerie in Jerusalem, near Pool of Bethesda. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Lavigerie in Jerusalem, near Pool of Bethesda. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

I will acknowledge that the name Charles Martial Allemand Lavigerie is not one I was familiar with. But sometimes you shoot (photograph!) first and ask questions later.

The Dictionary of African Christian Biography relates this info regarding Lavigerie (1825-1892):

Cardinal Archbishop of Algiers and Carthage, Primate of Africa, missionary founder and anti-slavery campaigner, was born near Bayonne in the Basque region of southern France. After his schooling, he studied theology at Saint Sulpice in Paris. In 1854, after priestly ordination and further studies, he was appointed professor of church history in the university of the Sorbonne, Paris. In 1860, as director of the work for oriental schools, he travelled to Lebanon and Syria to administer relief to Christians there, following the massacre by the Druses. . .

In 1863 he was appointed Bishop of Nancy, France and was placed in line for the important archiepiscopal see of Lyons. However, he declined this prestigious appointment, and asked instead for the colonial see of Algiers, to which he was appointed archbishop in 1867. Algeria had become a French colony in 1830, and under Napoleon III was designated an “Arab Kingdom.” . . .

From 1878 his missionaries established themselves in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa and, after his death, in the French territories of West Africa. Created a Cardinal in 1882, Lavigerie revived the ancient see of Carthage, with the title Primate of Africa, when the French annexed Tunisia. Throughout 1888 Lavigerie conducted a personal campaign against slavery in the capitals of Europe. In this campaign he made known the heart-rending experiences of slavery witnessed by his missionaries in equatorial Africa. The campaign resulted in the anti-slavery conferences of Brussels and Paris. . .

Click image for larger view.


Pool of Bethesda

May 14, 2013

As follow-up on yesterday’s post I wanted to include a photo of the pool of Bethesda. There were actually two adjacent pools. Our photo shows excavations of the southern pool.

Southern Pool of Bethesda. Setting of John 5. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Southern Pool of Bethesda. Setting of John 5. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

These pools date back to about 200 BC, and furnished water for the temple. As noted yesterday, this is the setting of the miracle of John 5, when Jesus healed the man who had been lame for 38 years.

Click on image for higher resolution.


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