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from prayer, let it be as the noblemen of Capernaum left the presence of Jesus, with undoubting faith that our supplication is heard and accepted, and that although the gift we ask may be denied, all needed blessings will be granted us, by the mercy of our heavenly Benefactor.
What power, unseen by mortal eye,
Father! ’T was thine. The Saviour spoke
Thy power, Oh Lord, is round us still,
Oh, if temptations paths we tread,
Then as of old, the hour which hears
MIRACLE AT THE POOL OF BETHESDA.
JOHN v. AFTER this there was a feast of the Jews ; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is at Jerusalem, by the sheep market, a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great number of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water : whosoever then first after the troubling of the water, stepped in, was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool : but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked. And on the same day was the Sabbath. The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the Sabbath day : it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed. He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk. Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed and walk ? And he that was healed wist not who it was, for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole : sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus which had made him whole. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, because he had done these things on the Sabbath day.
Various accounts are given of the pool of Bethesda, and its efficacy as a means of cure. Whatever the explanation may be, is of little consequence to us, for the circumstance from which its interest is derived, is that our Saviour here performed a miracle. We may however observe that the expression, an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water,” may signify only, that at regular intervals, the healing power of the water returned, or was increased. But how useless was that healing power to the impotent man who now lay there! Day after day did he look for relief, and day after day was he disappointed. Thus how often, in the very hour when we expect happiness, an obstacle starts up before us, and our hope is turned to mourning!
But the Saviour came. The sick man heard his question without interest, for he knew not the power of him by whom it was proposed. A light arose where he looked not for it. Jesus healed by a word the disease under which he laboured. Thus amid our disappointments, does God open to us paths of happiness of which we had never thought. May we then moderate our expectations, cheerfully resign what our God denies, and gratefully take what his providence assigns us!
The aged sufferer waited long
Upon Bethesda's brink;
Began in fears to sink.
And fervent was his prayer,
Still languished helpless there.
His hope grew dim; but one was nigh
Who saw the sufferer's grief. That gentle voice, that pitying eye
Gave promise of relief. Each pang that human weakness knows
Obeyed that powerful word: He spake, and lo! the sick arose,
Rejoicing in his Lord.
Father of Jesus, when oppressed
With grief and pain we lie,
Despair to look so high,
Within the wounded heart,
And strength and joy impart.
WOMAN TAKEN IN ADULTERY.
JOHN vii. 1. 2. 14. viii. 2. After these things Jesus walked in Galilee : for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him. Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand. Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him ; and he sat down, and taught them. And the Scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, they say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very
act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned : but what sayest thou ? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So, when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last; and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers ? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus