Bethsaida (Oliver Holden)

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Editor: Barry Johnston (submitted 2015-09-12).   Score information: Letter, 1 page, 54 kB   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes: Oval note edition, as written in 1800. The seven other stanzas of Newton's hymn added below.
Editor: Barry Johnston (submitted 2015-09-12).   Score information: 7 x 10 in (landscape), 1 page, 58 kB   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes: Note shapes added (4-shape). The other seven stanzas of Newton's hymn added below.

General Information

Title: Bethsaida
First Line: Beside the gospel pool
Composer: Oliver Holden
Lyricist: John Newton

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: Sacred   Meter: 66. 86 (S.M.)

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1800 in Plain Psalmody, p. 24

Description: Words by John Newton, 1779, entitled The Pool At Bethesda, with eight stanzas.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

1. Beside the gospel pool
Appointed for the poor;
From year to year, my helpless soul
Has waited for a cure.

2. How often have I seen
The healing waters move;
And others, round me, stepping in,
Their efficacy prove.

3. But my complaints remain,
I feel the very same;
As full of guilt, and fear, and pain,
As when at first I came.


4. O would the Lord appear
My malady to heal;
He knows how long I’ve languished here,
And what distress I feel.

5. How often have I thought
Why should I longer lie?
Surely the mercy I have sought
Is not for such as I.

6. But whither can I go?
There is no other pool
Where streams of sovereign virtue flow
To make a sinner whole.


7. Here then, from day to day,
I’ll wait, and hope, and try;
Can Jesus hear a sinner pray,
Yet suffer him to die?

8. No: He is full of grace;
He never will permit
A soul, that fain would see His face,
To perish at His feet.

The Pool of Bethesda by John Newton, based on John 5:2-4)