bethesda Summary and Overview
bethesda in Easton's Bible Dictionary
house of mercy, a reservoir (Gr. kolumbethra, "a swimming bath") with five porches, close to the sheep-gate or market (Neh. 3:1; John 5:2). Eusebius the historian (A.D. 330) calls it "the sheep-pool." It is also called "Bethsaida" and "Beth-zatha" (John 5:2, R.V. marg.). Under these "porches" or colonnades were usually a large number of infirm people waiting for the "troubling of the water." It is usually identified with the modern so-called Fountain of the Virgin, in the valley of the Kidron, and not far from the Pool of Siloam (q.v.); and also with the Birket Israel, a pool near the mouth of the valley which runs into the Kidron south of "St. Stephen's Gate." Others again identify it with the twin pools called the "Souterrains," under the convent of the Sisters of Zion, situated in what must have been the rock-hewn ditch between Bezetha and the fortress of Antonia. But quite recently Schick has discovered a large tank, as sketched here, situated about 100 feet north-west of St. Anne's Church, which is, as he contends, very probably the Pool of Bethesda. No certainty as to its identification, however, has as yet been arrived at. (See FOUNTAIN T0001378; GIHON T0001485.)
bethesda in Smith's Bible Dictionary
(house of mercy, or the flowing water), the Hebrew name of a reservoir or tank, with five "porches," close upon the sheep-gate or "market" in Jerusalem. #Joh 5:2| The largest reservoir - Birket Israil - 360 feet long, 120 feet wide and 80 feet deep, within the walls of the city, close by St. Stephen's Gate, and under the northeast wall of the Haram area, is generally considered to be the modern representative of Bethesda. Robinson, however, suggests that the ancient Bethesda is identical with what is now called the Pool of the Virgin, an intermittent pool, south of Birket Israil and north of the pool of Siloam.
bethesda in Schaff's Bible Dictionary
BETHES'DA (house of mercy, or flowing water), a pool in Jerusalem near the sheep-gate or market, John 5:2-9; tradition identifies it with the modern pool Birket-Israel, 360 feet long, 120 feet wide, and 80 feet deep, half filled with rubbish. Capt. Warren found an aqueduct leading from it, probably into the Kedron. Robinson, with more probability, regards Bethesda as identical with the intermittent Pool of the Virgin, outside of the city, above the Pool of Siloam.
bethesda in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
("house of mercy".) A water reservoir, or swimming pool (as John 5:2, kolumbeethra, means), with five porches, or colonnades, close to the sheep gate (Nehemiah 3:1) in Jerusalem. The porches accommodated those waiting for the troubling of the waters. John 5:4, as to the angel troubling the water, is omitted in the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus manuscripts, but is found in the Alexandrinus, and John 5:7 favors it. The angels, in a way unknown to us, doubtless act as God's ministers in the world of nature. Many curative agencies are directed by them (Psalm 104:4). God maketh His angelic messengers the directing powers, acting by the winds and flaming lightning. The angelic actings, limited and fitful, attested at that time that God was visiting His people, throwing into the brighter prominence at the same time the actings of the divine Son (compare Hebrew 1), who healed not merely one exceptionally but all who came to Him, whatever might be their disease, and instantaneously. Now Birket Israil, within the walls, close by Stephen's gate, under the N.E. wall of the Haram area. Eusebius, in the 3rd century, describes it as consisting of two pools and named Bezatha, answering to the N.E. suburb Bezetha in the gospel times. Robinson suggested that "the pool of the Virgin" may answer to "the pool of Bethesda," "the king's pool" in Nehemiah. Ganneau identifies with the church of Anne, mother of Mary, Beit Hanna, really actually Bethesda, "house of grace."