Verse > Anthologies > W. Garrett Horder, ed. > The Poets’ Bible: New Testament
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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,        5
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;        10
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,        15
  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,        20
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        25
  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.        30
 
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,        35
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!        40
Oh, be that power, that love displayed!
Help those whom thou alone canst aid.
 
 
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