“Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep [market] a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.”
The third word “is” could be important here. At the time the apostle John wrote this, the pool was still there. Jesus had predicted that whole Jerusalem would be destroyed and no stone would be unturned. Except of the Roman Fortress Antonia with the Wailing Wall this was really what happened in 70 AD. Whole Jerusalem was turned upside down. The Romans were searching for the gold that the Jews had hidden in the walls of their houses. But what about the pool? Some say that also the pool was left undamaged because the Romans could have very well used it for bathing. Maybe this is the case, but also maybe not. If the pool was destroyed too then this means that Romans 5:2 was written in the present tense far before 70 AD when Jerusalem was destroyed. Apart from the prediction that was made by Jesus we read in the New Testament nothing about the destruction of Jerusalem. So the whole Bible must have been written before 70 AD.
In John 5:5 we read about a beggar who was disabled and had waited for 38 years at the pool until an angel would descend from heaven to heal him. Of course there were other beggars so even if an angel would descend into the pool the question was if this specific beggar would be healed. Note that 38 years is a very long time. This man was a prisoner of a superstitious belief system that had kept hem 38 years waiting. Even if some day an angel would heal him then the question was why the man had been waiting so long?
Then Jesus came along and He asked the man if he wanted to be healed (verse 6). Isn’t this a strange question? Maybe it was, but the man had always been a beggar and now after his healing he had to earn his own money, he had to learn how to get him a job or a profession. His whole life would change. Begging had always been his profession. A healing of his physical condition would have big implications for the rest of his life. Where would he life? How did he get money from now on… Jesus realised this. He realised the true position of this man. Healing him could make the situation only much worse for him. Religious, political and economical systems make us often prisoners and make it often impossible for us to escape from this position because the consequences of a life change could be enormously.
Addition by Ruth from Gstaad, “A French psychiatrist (name not remembered) explained this precise acting by the true healer Christ, saying that this is the key question to ask an ill person who with time had become hopeless and resigned. The person is called to formulate his desire and to become active himself, which awakes the healing forces in him. Healing starts in the head, so Christ had to mentally reanimate this man before he could physically heal him.”