The Pool with the Five Porches

In the fifth chapter of John we read the story of Jesus' healing of the man at the pool of Bethesda, which was located by the sheep market, and around which were five porches.

A young student of Christian Science, reading the story in the Lesson-Sermon for the first time, pondered the meaning of this pool and the five porches. She had glimpsed the fact which Mary Baker Eddy states in the Christian Science textbook. "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 269): "Metaphysics resolves things into thoughts, and exchanges the objects of sense for the ideas of Soul." She endeavored to see in what way this man's experience at the pool could be of value in one's experience today. She prayed for wisdom to understand and interpret the lesson this record of healing contained, realizing that the spiritual interpretation of the Bible is that on which Christian Science is based.

First it came to her to look up in the chapter entitled "Glossary," in Science and Health, the meanings of all words found in the story which were defined in this chapter. This she did and received much enlightenment. The words "having five porches" then reminded her of the five physical senses, through which we seem to become conscious of the material world. She saw that she, as well as mankind in general, was accepting the testimony of these material senses as reality. She began also to discern why the man waiting at the pool was called impotent or powerless. Had not he and the others with him accepted the suggestion that man is both good and evil, that he can express both health and sickness, can experience both pleasure and pain in matter through the five physical senses: in other words, did they not believe that man is composed of opposite qualities continually at war with one another?

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April 20, 1946

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