John writes, "[T]here is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches." Bethesda means "house of pity or mercy." Locals believed that the pool could restore health to the sick and infirm. The pool had five porches like covered verandas, open on one side but protected from the sun and rain overhead. The community kindly provided these porches to protect from the elements the invalids who waited for someone to help them to the pool.
In Scripture, the number five often represents grace, and it is grace that was given at Bethesda. Certainly, the grace and mercy of God provides the Lamb of God for our spiritual healing (John 1:29). The Sheep Gate is where sheep were gathered, so perhaps Christ, the Lamb of God, chose this location to aid in identifying Himself to the people.
Christ chose to intervene for this one man, but why him and no one else? More revealing, perhaps, is why He healed any of them. They were all sinners; none of them deserved to be healed. Whenever God chooses to heal someone, it is an act of compassion and grace, but it must also fit into His purpose and time frame. God hated Esau but loved Jacob (Romans 9:13; Malachi 1:2-3). Both were sinners, but God chose only one to accomplish a specific purpose. Jesus chose the crippled man to glorify God and in a small way advance His plan of salvation for all mankind.
Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Healing a Cripple by a Pool (Part One)