("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."