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Healing of the Paralytic

jesus bed directed water

The Gospels recount several episodes and different versions of Jesus’ miraculous healings of crippled or lame people. Mark (2:1-12) and *Luke (5:17-26) describe how a palsied man was brought to Jesus, who was preaching in a house in Capernaum. The crowd outside was so great that the sick man had to be lowered on his bed through the roof of the house. Jesus healed the man and directed him to take up his bed and depart. The subject appears in sixth-century mosaics and later examples and is usually recognizable by the motif of the sick man being lowered into the room containing Jesus and other figures.

John’s Gospel (5:1-9) tells another episode, more frequently illustrated, of a lame man who waited for thirty-eight years by the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem hoping to be cured in the water (which was yearly “troubled” or stirred by an angel and acclaimed for its curative powers). Jesus healed the man and (as above) directed him to take up his bed and walk. Sarcophagi and ivories from the fourth and fifth centuries depict simply the man walking, carrying his bed on his back; Jesus gestures toward him, and sometimes other witnesses are present. Byzantine and western examples, especially in manuscript illustration from the eleventh and twelfth centuries, include other details; the pool of Bethesda is shown (sometimes as a fountain or basin), and an angel hovers above it, often stirring the water with a stick. The subject is less frequently illustrated in Gothic and later medieval art.

HEALTH DISPARITIES IN THE UNITED STATES [next] [back] Healing of the Demoniac

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