The lavatory of Bethany.

Pardon the word which I am forced to frame, lest, if I had said the bath, or the laver, they might straiten the sense of the thing too much. That place whereof we are now speaking was a pool, or a collection of waters, where people were wont to wash; and it agreeth very well with those things that were spoken before concerning purifications. Here either unclean men or unclean women might wash themselves; and presently buying in the neighbouring shops what was needful for purification, they betook themselves to Jerusalem, and were purified in the Temple.

Of this place of washing, whatsoever it was, the Gemarists speak in that story, "A fox rent a sheep at the lavatory of Beth Hene: and the cause was brought before the wise men, and they said, It is not a rending." We doubt not that Beth Hene is Bethany: and this cause was brought thence before the wise men of Jerusalem, that they might instruct them whether it were lawful to eat of the carcase of that sheep, when the eating of a beast that was torn was forbidden. See, if you please, their distinction between snatching away by a wild beast, and tearing, in the place cited, where they discuss it at large [Bab. Cholin, fol. 53. 1.].

Travellers speak of a cistern near the town of Bethany, "near which, in a field, is shewn the place where Martha met our Lord coming to Bethany." They are the words of Borchard the monk. Whether the thing itself agrees with this whereof we are speaking, must be left uncertain.