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W. Garrett Horder, comp. The Poets’ Bible: New Testament. 1895.

The Pool of Bethesda

Bernard Barton (1784–1849)

AROUND Bethesda’s healing wave,

Waiting to hear the rustling wing

Which spoke the angel nigh who gave

Its virtue to that holy spring,

With patience, and with hope endued,

Were seen the gathered multitude.

Among them there was one whose eye

Had often seen the waters stirred;

Whose heart had often heaved the sigh,

The bitter sigh of hope deferred;

Beholding, while he suffered on,

The healing virtue given—and gone.

No power had he; no friendly aid

To him its timely succour brought;

But, while his coming he delayed,

Another won the boon he sought;

Until the Saviour’s love was shown,

Which healed him by a word alone!

Had they who watched and waited there

Been conscious who was passing by,

With what unceasing, anxious care

Would they have sought his pitying eye;

And craved, with fervency of soul,

His power divine to make them whole!

But habit and tradition sway’d

Their minds to trust to sense alone;

They only hoped the angel’s aid;

While in their presence stood, unknown,

A greater, mightier far than he,

With power from every pain to free.

Bethesda’s pool has lost its power!

No angel by his glad descent

Dispenses that diviner dower

Which with its healing waters went;

But He, whose word surpassed its wave,

Is still omnipotent to save.

Saviour! thy love is still the same

As when that healing word was spoke;

Still in thine all-redeeming name

Dwells power to burst the strongest yoke!

Oh, be that power, that love displayed!

Help those whom thou alone canst aid.