Oil on canvas panel, 16" x 20"
Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?”
Although this is intended to be a literal depiction of an actual historical event, there is some symbolism present in the image and, I think, in the story itself. The colonnade of sufferers represents the fallen world of pain and misery. The pool represents false, man-made hopes for healing from the crippling effects of sin. This superstitious remedy is intentionally obstructed by Christ, who stands offering genuine healing and access to a glorious, exalted life in heaven, represented by the light and sky behind him.