In John 5, the fourth evangelist describes the pool north of the temple's sheep gate in Jerusalem. John 5:2 says:
John 5:2, Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes.
For about all of the history of the church (up until about 100 years ago), John 5 was the only witness to this pool. It was not in Josephus, or other historians of the area. This led many people to believe that the pool was allegorical and that John was a much later Greek author and the gospel could be dated to the late second century (e.g. 150 - 175AD). These scholars thought that John fabricated the pool as a metaphor.
Then archaeologists found the pool right where John says it was. This means that John had deep insights into pre-70AD Jerusalem and temple geography and is a large reason for the change in dating of the gospel anywhere from 65AD - 90AD (or being formed over that period). But, the archaeological reconstruction of the ruins shows a picture with seven porticoes, not five (see below). There seem to be four porticoes around the square upper pool, and then three porticoes around the lower pool.
Does anyone have any sense of what this might mean? For the fourth gospel, the number seven is very important. Seven signs, seven "I am the ..." statements, and seven "I am (Ego Eimi)" statements amongst others. For the Torah, the number seven is obviously of great importance. The first seven words of the bible form the statement of the first act of creation ... which occurs in seven days... etc. There are seven day purification intervals in the torah... The author seems to have rare/unique knowledge of Jerusalem, backed up by archaeological evidence, but has described Bethesda as having five porticoes instead of either 4 (for the upper pool only) or seven, for the entire structure.
Am I misunderstanding the archaeological reconstruction? How many porticoes are there?