What's in a name?


Biblical Chapel Names: Bethesda

Bethesda is mentioned only once, in John 5:2. It has been thought that the name meant originally “House of Mercy". This was a place of mercy in a special sense. It was a pool where sick people could be healed. One particular person was healed there by Jesus.

As most modern versions of the Bible indicate, there are variations on the name in the manuscripts and versions of The Gospel of John. But it is not difficult to see why Bethesda - a name with such beautiful associations - came to be chosen by some of our forebears for places of worship.

One variation on the name meant a “house", or place, where water is poured out. This, too, would have been appropriate for the pool in the story. I myself think it also has associations appropriate for a place of Christian worship, where those who gather know the meaning of John 4:13-14 and John 7:37-39.

Why not read these verses in your own Bible and see what you think?