Did an angel actually stir the waters at Bethesda, or was it only a local tradition?


I have a question about one of the study lessons on your site. In 'Jesus Authority Questioned', it talks about the Pool of Bethesda, and in the lesson it says that 'angels stirred the waters'. My question is - Where or how do we know this to be true? I looked for references in my Bible, but could not find any. Is this said by God, or is this one of those 'tradition' things, where the people thought maybe that was what was happening, and down through time, they just accepted it to be true, when really they truly didn't know if it was or not? Can you help me with this please?


"Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had" (John 5:2-4).

While it is tempting to dismiss this as wishful desires among the people, John doesn't say that it was reported that an angel stirred up the water. He states it as a fact.

Because this healing is not mentioned in other historical documents before or after this time, it is assumed that these healings only occurred for a short period of time, around the time of Christ.

Your answer still confused me, as I had read this section, John 5: 2-4, several times during this study. So, I went back to this verse and looked again. No wonder I didn't see it. Verse 4 has been omitted from my Bible which is Revised Standard Version.

While looking for references about the angels stirring the water, I had checked the references on the bottom of the page, but did not see it, so did not realize verse 4 had been omitted. Until, just now, I found it in very small print where it says some 'ancient authorities insert', and there it was.

I must admit, this was confusing, and I am going to have to be more careful from now on, to check the bottom of each page as I study. Thank you for your help. It led me to find out important things.

Yes, there are some poor versions which don't include John 5:4, but the problem is that all versions do include "The sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me"" (John 5:7). That statement by the sick man makes no sense if verse four was not in the original. Thus, the Revised Standard Version testifies against itself.

The reason the Revised Standard Version dropped this verse is not based on true contextual evidence but because the translators on its committee had a strong bias against miracles. It is this same version that they reworded Isaiah 7:14 to say "young woman" instead of "virgin." They typically took the non-miraculous direction on the least possible suspicion that an alternative reading was possible.