This episode in Jesus' ministry took place in Jerusalem. The pool of Bethesda was originally a watering place for sheep, but had been built up to become a sanatorium or hospice where many chronically ill people were brought. The man who features in this narrative was paralysed and had been lying there for thirty-eight years. He had no proper medical care, no-one sat with him to help him, and he saw himself as having no hope for the future. It was enough for him to exist and, provided food was brought from time to time, he could do that.