Was near (hn eggu). See 2 Chronicles 2:13 for the same phrase. This last passover was the time of destiny for Jesus. Before the passover to purify themselves (pro tou pasca ina agniswsin eautou). Purpose clause with ina and the first aorist active subjunctive of agnizw, old verb from agno (pure), ceremonial purification here, of course. All this took time. These came "from the country" (ek th cwra), from all over Palestine, from all parts of the world, in fact. John shifts the scene to Jerusalem just before the passover with no record of the way that Jesus came to Jerusalem from Ephraim. The Synoptic Gospels tell this last journey up through Samaria into Galilee to join the great caravan that crossed over into Perea and came down on the eastern side of the Jordan opposite Jericho and then marched up the mountain road to Bethany and Bethphage just beside Jerusalem. This story is found in Luke 17:11-19:28 ; Mark 10:1-52 ; Matthew 19:1-20:34 . John simply assumes the Synoptic narrative and gives the picture of things in and around Jerusalem just before the passover ( Matthew 11:56 Matthew 11:57 ).