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Story behind Mingo County’s “Pool of Bethesda”

Logan Banner photo
Logan Banner photo

LOGAN, W.Va. — “Unless you believe, you shall not understand.” — Bible, Isiah 7:9

What does a 1943 drama film, the Gospel of John , a 2006 letter from then Governor Joe Manchin and a woman living over 500 miles from Logan have to do with a spring of flowing water located about one mile from Holden, but in Mingo County? You might be surprised.

A recent newspaper article regarding a popular spring that has been utilized by hundreds, if not thousands of area people over the years, has produced the answers the May 11th story sought. In the Logan Banner story, it was pointed out that people are regularly seen gathering water from the spring located on U.S. 119 toward Williamson. It was mentioned that a marker had been placed there bearing the inscription: “PLEASE DON’T POLLUTE WHAT GOD HAS GIVEN.” There were important unanswered questions which needed addressed. Who placed the marker at the site, and why? In addition, there were health concerns about the water itself.

Originally, this writer’s curiosity led one to believe Mingo Countians were in need of public water. However, an official with that county’s health department said public water “is available throughout Mingo County.” However, he added the water located at what some are now calling Mingo County’s version of the “Pool of Bethesda,” was in the past tested and the results came back “very bad.” So, why are so many people gathering this water? And, why are there no complaints of illness from drinking it?

According to biblical scripture found in John 5 verse 6 through 8, Jesus performed one of his miracles at the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem by allowing an invalid man of 38 years to get up and walk. This writer knew there had to be a religious and newsworthy reason for the marker as the word “Bethesda” in Greek literature means “house of mercy”.

Pamela Boland, now a resident of Island, Ky., a small town located five hours and 44 minutes away in the western portion of the Bluegrass state, telephoned a couple of days after she became aware of the article. Mrs. Boland said she is responsible for the marker which is cemented to the ground. The stone marker was placed at the site at 12 noon September 29, 2006. Her story follows:

“The Lord spoke to me one day saying, ‘Go wash in the spring’. Three days after the Lord spoke, my cousin, Janet Marcum, called and was talking about a spring of water. I hadn’t mentioned anything to her about the Lord speaking to me,’’ she explained. “I was living in Herrin, Illinois at the time and specifically came in to see what she was talking about. We anointed the ground using oil and asked God’s blessings for the spring.”

Boland was born at Logan in 1949…

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