Pool of Bethesda
Used for healing in ancient times, the Pool of Bethesda is a key stop for many Christian pilgrims and travelers to Old Jerusalem, who usually visit en route from the Lion’s Gate to the Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa).
Walking is the best way to explore Jerusalem’s Old City, and tours with a biblical theme usually stop by the Pool of Bethesda. Travelers with a deep interest in the Bible can also book multi-day Holy Land tours, spanning sights in Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and the West Bank.
Things to know before you go
- There is a small charge to visit the church, which includes access to the pools.
- The ruins have layers from many different periods and can be confusing. Visit with a guide who can bring them to life.
- While the Church of St. Anne has wheelchair access, you’ll need to climb steps to see the ruins of the Pool of Bethesda. For more on accessible travel in Old Jerusalem, download the Accessible JLM app.
- The Pool of Bethesda is not stroller friendly; families may want to prioritize other Jerusalem sights.
How to get there
The Pool of Bethesda lies within the grounds of the Church of St. Anne in Old Jerusalem, close to the Lion’s Gate. Catch bus #1 from Jerusalem Central Bus Station (next to Jerusalem Yitzhak-Navon, the main train station) and get off before the turn for Derech Haofel, just after Lion’s Gate Street.
When to get there
The Pool of Bethesda opens in the morning and the afternoon, with a lengthy lunch break in between. Hours are shorter on Sundays and during winter.
Miracle Sites to See in the Holy Land
Christian travelers will find plenty to love in Jerusalem, from the Pool of Bethesda to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where many believe Jesus rose from the dead. Kafr Kanna (biblical Cana) preserves a church commemorating the miracle of turning wine into water; the Tomb of Lazarus lies in Bethany on the West Bank; while a wealth of tours visit the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus is held to have walked on water.
- Church of St. Anne
- Kidron Valley
- Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa)
- Tomb of the Virgin Mary (Mary's Tomb)
- Church of All Nations (Basilica of the Agony)
- Dome of the Rock
- Temple Mount (al-Haram al-Sharif)
- Al-Aqsa Mosque
- Damascus Gate (Bab al-Amud)
- Western Wall Tunnels
- Old City of Jerusalem
- Dominus Flevit Church
- Christian Quarter
- Jerusalem Jewish Quarter