The Bethesda Pool – Unusual Activity

In the beginning of John 5, Jesus heals a man who had been ill for 38 years.  But before that, John explains about the pool that crowds of people with illnesses would gather around, waiting for something to happen.  Verses 3-4 explain:

“In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, waiting for the moving of the waters; for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted.”

My Bible mentions that the latter part of verse 3 and all of verse 4 are not found in original manuscripts.  I read somewhere too that the stirring of the waters may have more been a myth than actual fact.  It is interesting though that this behavior, if it really did happen and was from God, is very unique.  Typically when God works, it is for a specific purpose.  This stirring of the waters and the healing of the first to get in doesn’t seem to have a clear purpose.  And, if only the first to get into the pool is healed, that could cause a lot of anger or other negative emotions for those unable to move fast enough to get in first.

What are your thoughts on this?  Do you think God would have chosen to actually send an angel to stir up a pool and heal only the first to get in?  If so, do you find a clear purpose in doing so?  If you do not think this actually happened, why not?


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