This magical pool in Bethseda smacks of Jewish belief in pagan magic,
which continued in medieval times, and some believe today.
Did, or do, Christians believe such superstition?
Did Jewish people in ancient times really do so?
Perhaps asking us to take this tale seriously
exposes the incredible nature of the Gospel
and directs us to a more realistic story.
Perhaps the pool did provide a final expectation
for those desperate people living beyond hope,
when there were not any modern medecines.
Perhaps gathering gave them comfort
a form of security and fellowship
waiting for disappointment.
Perhaps this does show how Jesus reached out to,
mingled with and gave new hope to those
on the very edge of society,
as he does today.
We are left to wonder about the story itself.
Did Jesus somehow see that the illness was over,
that the man was only limited by his own perception,
or is it that, amongst that assembly of the sick,
one man was ready to adopt the radical path
and join the Messianic movement?
Subsequently Jesus and the healed man meet up.
Jesus, unwisely, exposes himself to the man,
who then betrays him to the authorities
to get himself out of trouble with them;
though this is, as usual, wrapped in
a spiritual security blanket.