The Pool of Siloam

More than 700 years before Christ, the Judean King Hezekiah dug a tunnel to bring the water of the Gihon spring to a new pool which he constructed on the west side of the city of David (2 Kings 20:20; 2 Chron 32:30; Sirach 48:17). This pool would later be known as the pool of Siloam.

One of the great signs of Jesus, recorded in the Gospel of John, is the healing of a man born blind (John 9). Jesus spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle. He then applied the mud to the blind man’s eyes and told him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam.” We understand that mud made from saliva and water from Siloam will not normally cause a blind person to see. This sign demonstrates the power of Jesus over blindness and demonstrates the validity of His claim to be “the Light of the world” (9:5). The blind man’s faith to obey Jesus clearly played a role in his healing.

For many years we have been aware of the Pool of Siloam at the southern end of Hezekiah’s tunnel. A church dedicated to “Our Savior, the Illuminator” was built here in the fifth century by the Byzantine Empress Eudokia, but was destroyed in A.D. 614 and never rebuilt. Some columns from the building can still be seen. See Hoade, Guide to the Holy Land, and Murphy-O’Connor, The Holy Land, for details.

This photo shows the Byzantine pool at the southern end of Hezekiah’s tunnel. Note the present ground level along the blue fence.

Ruins of the Byzantine church at end of Hezekiah's Tunnel. Photo by F. Jenkins.

Ruins of the Byzantine church at end of Hezekiah's Tunnel. Photo by F. Jenkins.

In a post to follow we will discuss the newly discovered Pool of Siloam from the Roman period.

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