Our inquiry into Bethesda (if I be not greatly mistaken) must take its rise from the fountain of Siloam.
I. The proper and ancient name for the fountain of Siloam, was Gihon, 1 Kings 1:33; "Bring ye him [Solomon] down to Gihon." Targum, to 'Siloam': Kimchi, "Gihon is Siloam, and is called by a twofold name." The tables that describe Jerusalem speak of a 'mount Gihon'; by what warrant I cannot tell: if they had said the 'fountain Gihon,' it might have pleased better.
II. How that name 'Gihon' should pass into 'Siloam,' is difficult to say. "The waters" of it are mentioned, Isaiah 8:6, to signify the reign and sovereignty of the house of David. So the Targum and Sanhedrin. "Rabh Joseph saith, If there had been no Targum of this Scripture, we had not known the sense of it, which is this: Forsomuch as this people is weary of the house of David, whose reign hath been gentle as the flowing of the waters of Siloam, which are gentle," &c. Therefore it was not in vain that David sent his son Solomon to be anointed at Gihon or Siloam, for he might look upon those waters as some type or shadow by which the reign of his house should be deciphered.
III. The situation of it was behind the west wall, not far from the corner that pointed towards the southwest. "The wall bent southward above the fountain of Siloam, and then again inclined towards the east."
The waters of this spring, by different streams, derived themselves into two fish-pools, as seems hinted in 2 Chronicles 32:30: "Hezekiah stopped the upper water-course of Gihon, and brought it straight down to the west side of the city of David"; where a MS of the Targum, "He stopped up the upper waters of Gihon, and brought them in pipes." But to let this pass, that which I would observe is this: that there was a water-course from Gihon or Siloam, which was called the "upper water-course," which flowed into a pool, called also the "upper pool," Isaiah 36:2; and, as it should seem, the "old pool," Isaiah 22:11; by Josephus "the pool" or "fish-pool of Solomon"; for so he, in the place before cited.
"The wall again inclined eastward, even to Solomon's fish-pond, and going on to the place called Ophel, it came over-against the eastern porch of the Temple." From whence we may gather that Solomon's fish-pool was within, hard by the east wall of the city, and on this side the place they called Ophel: which does so well agree with the situation of Bethesda within the sheep-gate, that it seems to me beyond all doubt or question, that Solomon's pool and the pool of Bethesda were one and the same.