Pools of Bethesda – God’s Amazing Kindness and Our Courageous Choices

What motivates you most isn't fear.

Very few people are drawn to God by intimidation. Instead, the Lord urges us to come to Him by revealing the kindness of His mercy. It’s a tremendous motivation.

Pools of Bethesda—God’s Kindness and Our Repentance

(Photo: Pools of Bethesda and Crusader chapel, courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Once we comprehend the depth of our imperfections, and the futility of our own efforts to remove them, we are in a position to respond to God’s kindness.

In this post, you’ll read how Jesus revealed this simple truth one day in Jerusalem with an act of mercy at the Pools of Bethesda.

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Your Rededication to God Can Begin Right Now

Shechem urges us to get back to where we once belonged.

The Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC marks where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his speech, “I Have a Dream.” Standing in the shadow of Lincoln gave greater force to Dr. King’s words. The site intensified the message. I’m convinced that’s why Joshua regathered the young Hebrew nation to Shechem

Shechem in the valley between Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal

(Photo: Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal, with Shechem in the valley. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The geographical context of his words played a significant role. They spoke as loudly as Joshua did that day.

And they speak to us.

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How the Pool of Siloam Helps us Connect Sukkot and the Messiah

Jesus' invitation on the Feast of Tabernacles offers life abundantly.

If you’ve ever camped, you know that camping requires we forgo a lot of conveniences. The Feast of Tabernacles required similar sacrifices. In fact, it remains a timeless reminder that everything we possess—both physically and spiritually—comes from God.

The Pool of Siloam Helps us Connect Sukkot and the Messiah

(Photo: Western Wall at Sukkot. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Of all places, an ancient pool in Jerusalem—the Pool of Siloam—helps us connect Sukkot with its ultimate fulfillment.

A statement made by Jesus—really, an invitation—makes it clear.

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You Need To Know Only One Place Of Sacrifice Remains

How a Final Sacrifice Near the Temple Mount Points Us Forward

For centuries, it was holy ground. The Dome of the Rock, the icon of modern Israel, sits atop a large, flat prominence in Jerusalem identified by Christians and Jews as the “Temple Mount.” Here Solomon built his magnificent sanctuary some 3,000 years ago.

Only One Place of Sacrifice Remains Today

(Photo: The Dome of the Rock on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

In building the Temple for God, Solomon recognized, “Who am I, that I should build a house for Him, except to burn incense before Him?” (2 Chron. 2:6). Solomon’s question gives a principle that extends to our lives.

Only one place of sacrifice remains today.

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When You’re Ready—But Nothing Happens

Peter's experience at Caesarea may explain why.

You’re ready for a change. You’ve asked God to open a new door in your life, and He has taken years to prepare you for it. Finally, you’re ready. There’s just one problem. Nothing happens. You just hover. 

Caesarea, where Peter met Cornelius

(Photo: Caesarea, where Peter met Cornelius. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The plan of God includes preparation and waiting. But why do you have to keep waiting once God has prepared you? What else must you do for God to open the door?

The Apostle Peter experienced something at Caesarea by the Sea that may explain why your progress is delayed.

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How to Take a Tour of Jerusalem Using Google Maps

Discover the Holy City without leaving home.

Most of us use Google Maps to find directions to somewhere new or to estimate the time a trip will take. But search the Web site for Jerusalem and the advantages take on a whole new level. 

How to Take a Virtual Tour of Jerusalem Using Google Maps

(Take a Virtual Tour of Jerusalem Using Google Maps)

You can take a virtual tour of Jerusalem. Obviously, you can sight-see anywhere in the world using this method. But Jerusalem offers unique benefits for Christians.

I suggest as a starting place searching for “Temple Mount, Jerusalem” in Google Maps. When you do, you’re screen will look something like the following image. 

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Surprising Ways Bible Lands Boosts Your Spiritual Life

How the land of the Bible helps you understand the Bible.

We live in an age where avoiding obstacles, traveling great distances, and finding something to drink no longer prove a challenge. With a transportation system that requires little more than a basic understanding of road signs and airline gates, our world gives little attention to the importance of geography. But think about the times you visit a place you’ve never been before. It’s all strange.

What Biblical Geography Can Do for Your Spiritual Life

(Photo: Mount Arbel and Sea of Galilee. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

The unfamiliar landmarks, the sudden turns, and the unexpected potholes are impediments to your progress. It’s the same with Bible study.

Those of us who seek to understand the meaning of the Bible strongly believe in interpreting a passage in its context. But context is more than words. When one reads the Bible, it becomes clear how geography is the stage on which the redemptive narrative takes place.

The land God chose was not arbitrary, for He designed even the land itself to develop the spiritual lives of His people. The land was never intended to be just a place to live.

The same is true where you live.

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Tel Dan Stele—Providential Ironies in Favor of King David (And You)

How a stone inscription offers encouragement to your spiritual life.

Sometimes archaeology gives us a gift. The ancient site of Tel Dan in Israel has a large, rock wall—a city gate from the time of Solomon’s temple. There archaeologists unearthed the Tel Dan Stele —a marvelous vindication to biblical history.

Tel Dan Iron Age gate near where the stele was discovered

(Photo: Tel Dan Iron Age gate near where the stele was discovered. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

In the courtyard of Tel Dan’s gate complex, a large engraved stone—an ancient basalt stele— gave hard evidence that King David was no King Arthur legend of Hebrew history.

It also offers encouragement to your spiritual life. Here’s how.

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Tel Arad—Israel’s Point of Impatience with God

How traveling along the path of the unknown gives us the chance to give God greater glory.

At Tel Arad, the whole land of Canaan lay before the Hebrews. They had waited and wandered forty years in the wilderness. The Promised Land was theirs for the taking. Right there before them!

Tel Arad—Israel’s Point of Impatience with God

(Photo: Arad Israelite fort, courtesy of Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Instead, God led the Hebrews on a major detour.

Tel Arad in Israel’s Negev offers many benefits to its visitors. It’s an oasis of ancient archaeology. It gives a rare glimpse of Judah’s idolatry.

And it speaks to us today of the need to tap the brakes on our impatience with God’s leading.

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How Jerusalem’s Mountains are Like God’s Presence in Your Life

Jerusalem's Geography Can Relieve Your Doubts

Life is full of moments that expose our doubts. In spite of all the Scripture we’ve learned and all the past victories the Lord has given us, occasionally something will happen that causes serious doubt.

How Jerusalem's Geography Can Relieve Your Doubts

(Photo: Jerusalem’s Temple Mount near sunset. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Maybe it’s a financial situation that undercuts future security. Or it might be a miserable marriage. Perhaps it’s a pastor or a leader who has failed. Maybe it’s our own failure.

Whatever the reason, seasons of doubts and confusion can come even to the most committed followers of Jesus:

  • John the Baptist struggled with doubts about his own beliefs about Jesus (Matt. 11:2-3).
  • The apostle Thomas found the resurrection of Christ something he had to see before he’d believe (John 20:25).
  • Some of the disciples had doubts about Jesus’ appearing to them, even at the Great Commission (Matt. 28:17).

I confess, I’ve had my doubts as well. Sometimes circumstances literally demanded I doubt God. A simple walk in Jerusalem one evening gave me an essential reminder.

I’m convinced it can help you.

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