In Jerusalem was a pool called Bethesda. At times the waters of this pool were strangely moved. The people believed that the first person to step into the water when it was moved would be healed.
No wonder so many sick, crippled, and blind came to wait for the water to move. Five porches had been built beside the pool so these
people could rest in the shade while they waited. Some had been coming here for a long time, hoping to be healed when the water
Perhaps many were too sick to move quickly when they saw the water bubble up. Perhaps they got so tired watching that they did
not see the action when it began. Since only the first person in was made well, many people were always disappointed.
One Sabbath Jesus walked through the porches beside the pool. He saw all the people who had come for healing. Lying on a mat was
a crippled man who had not walked for thirty-eight years. Jesus looked down at him and asked gently, "Would you like to be made
The man answered, "Sir, I have no one to help me into the water when it is troubled. Before I can crawl down, someone else steps
"Rise up," Jesus said. "Take your bed and walk!"
The surprised man felt strength filling his weakened body. He stood on his feet. At first it was hard for him to believe that he
was really well again. Then he stooped down and rolled up his mat.
When he turned to speak to Jesus, Jesus was gone. Picking up his mat, the man started home. How happy he was!
As he walked along carrying his bed mat, people looked at him strangely. The Jews believed it was a sin to carry anything on the Sabbath. Some stopped and reminded him, "This is the Sabbath. It
is not right for you to carry your bed."
The man answered, "The one who healed me said, Take up your bed and walk.' "
His answer excited the people. Quickly they asked, "Who told you to do this?" How angry they were that someone told this man to break the Sabbath! Because the poor man did not know who Jesus
was, he could not answer.
Not long afterwards the man who had been healed went to the temple to worship God. There Jesus found him and said, "Now
you are well. Sin no more lest something worse happen to you."
At once the man knew it was Jesus who had made him well. He felt so happy and thankful that he told everyone how Jesus had
healed him at the pool of Bethesda.
This only made the leaders more angry! Not only had the man carried his bed, but he had been healed on the Sabbath. They thought
it was more important to keep the Law than for a crippled man to be made well again.
Jesus answered, "My Father is at work and I work."
The Jews were furious when they heard this. They wanted to kill Jesus. Not only had he broken the Sabbath, but he said God
was his Father.
And that day Jesus taught all those in the temple about the heavenly Father.