Monday, June 05, 2006

Bethesda Fountain

I loved this view of the "Angel of the Waters" holding a pigeon. I just wished that the pigeon was looking at me.

Last Sunday, big brother and I did a walking tour of Central Park with the Big Onion tour company. Our tour guide was pretty good; he was a grad student in history, as are all of their tour guides.

When we got to Bethesda Fountain, he read John 5:2-4 with a bit of incredulity. I guess I probably would, too, if I didn't believe that God's Word was inspired and the only infallible rule for faith and practice. I mean, seriously, an angel stirs the water of a pond, and the first cripple to crawl into the water gets healed?
Begone unbelief, My Savior is near,
And for my relief Will surely appear:
By faith let me wrestle, with God in the storm
And help me my Savior, the faith to adorn
And help me my Savior, the faith to adorn

Here's what the Central Park website had to say about Bethesda Fountain, and why this name.
In their 1858 Greensward Plan, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux called the architectural heart of the Park "The Water Terrace," for its placement beside the Lake and the grand fountain in the center. Once the Angel of the Waters fountain was unveiled in 1873, however, the area became forever known as Bethesda Terrace. At the dedication, the artist's brochure quoted the Biblical verse from the Gospel of St. John 5:2-4: "Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called… Bethesda…whoever then first after the troubling of the waters stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had." The artist likened the healing powers of the angel to that of the clean and pure Croton water, delicately cascading down the fountain, that brought health to the people of New York City. The lily in her hand represents purity while the four figures below represent Peace, Health, Purity, and Temperance. Stebbins, the sister of the president of the Board of the Commissioners of Central Park, was the first woman to receive a sculptural commission in New York City.


Anne said...

I love "Begone Unbelief"!

Molly said...

Anne -- I agree; isn't that a great song? I've been listening to Indelible Grace IV over and over the last few days. "Begone Unbelief" and "Beams of Heaven" are at a tie for my favorite, though the lyrics all of the songs are very rich.

TBR -- Thanks for knowing your Bible much better than I do :)

There's still lots in the Bible to "inspire" unbelief, so my point isn't entirely moot!