More from Cheryl Anderson

by Upper Room Editorial on Tuesday, January 10, 2017

I have noticed that most disagreements about the historicity and veracity of the Bible start with the premise that there are no secular records containing evidence of the Biblical flood, the life of King David, or even the numerous Israelite enemies inhabiting the Promised Land. In addition, many have called into question the authorship of the Bible because some believe Moses could not have written the Pentateuch because writing was not invented in time for him to jot down his inspired account of the exodus. However, some 20th century archaeologists have used every fragment, ruin, and artifact they could find to deepen our understanding of the ancient Biblical world and the precious word of God.

I have traveled to Israel several times, and one of my favorite sites is the Bethesda Pool. Many Biblical finds do not make it into the news, and the Bethesda Pool excavation is one that missed the front page. This pool is the site of one of Christ's most famous miracles, found in John's Gospel, chapter 5. John describes the pool as having five covered porches: "Afterward Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days. Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda with five covered porches" (John 5:1-2).

The Sheep Gate was where Israelites brought sacrificial lambs for the temple, hence the name. I asked myself, Why would John be so exact in his description? Sheep Gate? Pool with five porches? John could have given less attention to the location and description and just recounted the miracle, but he didn't! God wants us to understand that he is just as real as the locations and accounts of the Bible.

The excavation of the Bethesda Pool happened in the late 19th century, and it took 100 years for archaeologists to accurately identify the site. The location, near the Temple Mount, is in a residential area, which makes the site difficult to excavate. The site puzzled many and some discounted the possibility that it could have been the location of a miracle. Many scholars simply decided that John used creative license in his description of the pool. Yet when this site was fully excavated, it revealed a rectangular pool with two basins divided by a wall--a five-sided pool with each side having a covered porch or portico, just as John described!

Every day new discoveries piece together the puzzle of the past for us. I don't think it's an accident that the Dead Sea Scrolls were placed in containers and caves in the driest, lowest point on earth where the perfect "climate control" preserved them. To me, God's love, grace, and mercy have become more real through my travels in Israel and my study of the geography, history, and people of the Bible.

- Cheryl Anderson

Cheryl writes about Israel and how visiting the Holy Land can change travelers' lives and deepen their relationships with Christ. You can learn more about the tours to Israel that she leads with her husband, Rich, at their website: https://theholylandwithrichandcheryl.com/.

3 Comments

Comment by Edd of Ocala, FL

I too have visited Israel twice and was amazed at all the items that are there to prove many things in the Bible and the Bible itself. When I visited the church of the nativity I saw two marks above the door and ask what they were for and was told the top one was the original height of the door and it was lowered to the first one because riders of camels would ride right into the church. That lowering didn't stop them they would law down on the back of the camel and come in anyway so they lowered it to where it is now. That made the eye of a needle a bit easier to understand. I wonder how it looks now that all the warring has taken place. The last time I was there it was just starting by burning of the Russian Orthodox Church. God is Love 4 all!!!

Posted January 10, 2017 at 04:26AM CST
Comment by Paulette of Miami, OK

I had never thought of the Dead Sea Scrolls in that manner before - being preserved in the perfect climate they were found. Thank you for sharing...it's fascinating!

Posted January 10, 2017 at 06:15AM CST
Comment by Donnie of Royston, GA

Thank you for your most encouraging and interesting words, Cheryl. I was unaware of the discovery of the Bethesda Pool. It is exciting to think about what else may be discovered in the future.

Posted January 10, 2017 at 07:33AM CST
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