We hadn’t thought of visiting Bethesda. Fortunately – for us – one of my mates found that my street bought falafel was more hygienic than his restaurant-eaten food, and the bathrooms were too tempting for him. So we entered.
Apart from the church, which has been a cistern, a wall, a Roman temple dedicated to Serapis (Romans didn’t care much about whose gods belonged to whom: Serapis is an Egyptian god); the temple was destroyed by the Persians, and rebuilt as a Byzantine church, destroyed again by Caliph Hakim and rebuilt by the Crusaders, who dedicated it to Saint Anne. Salal al Din destroyed it and the site was converted into a Koranic School.
From them on it has been a Church, and there are excavations all over the place.
A column from the crusaders’ time (easily recognizable):
Some of the excavations reach down to the original ground – again, hopefully: it’s not that easy to excavate a city under a city.
Originally there were some cisterns here, and around one of them the sick people waited to be cleaned, as they couldn’t go near the Temple if sick. So it must have been there, or very near there, where Jesus cured a paralytic, according to John 5,1-9. This information was painfully dug up by me in a Christian Bible; I just remembered the ex-leper dancing around Brian and claiming to have been cured by Jesus.
Anyway, this seems to be the pool – or what is left of it.
The water is stagnant.