In early June, 2004, an announcement was made by Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron of the discovery of a pool dating to the Second Temple period (Herod’s temple). Continuing excavations have revealed three sets of stairs leading down into the pool. Most of the pool has not yet been uncovered. In November, 2005, I spoke with Professor Reich at the pool and he explained several things about the discovery.
A feature article was published in Biblical Archaeology Review, Sept.-Oct., 2005. Todd Bolen of BiblePlaces.com, who assisted in the excavations at the site, included some comments on his BiblePlaces Blog here in August, 2005. Many reports that appear in the news media are incomplete and sometimes misleading.
Pool of Siloam. View toward East. Byzantine pool is to our back. Photo by F. Jenkins.
See Todd’s photos and comments about The Pool of Siloam Revealed at BiblePlaces.com.
Our photo shows the northern steps and the eastern corner of the pool. You can detect the present road level at the top of the wooden steps. In the distance, across the Kidron Valley, you can see a hill south of the Mount of Olives, sometimes called the Hill of Evil Counsel. Beyond that lies the Judean Wilderness.
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.
In a post to follow we will discuss the newly discovered Pool of Siloam from the Roman period.
Our recent group to Jerusalem was able to see a few of the new discoveries made in the City of David excavations. Everyone can enjoy and profit by looking at this great website. Israel21c reports,
Israel may have missed out at the Oscars in Hollywood, but an Israel website, http://www.cityofdavid.org.il, won first prize at the UN-sponsored World Summit Awards (WSA) in Venice recently.
Selected as “the best in e-content and creativity in the category of e-culture,” “this outstanding website brings remote visitors face to face with the protagonists and locations of the living Bible,” the WSA stated in its laudatory citation.
“Its fabulous visuals and rich description of the site – in English, Spanish, Hebrew, French and Russian – bring to life the only place on earth where the only guidebook needed is the Bible itself.”
Read the full article here.
View the website of the City of David. It is a beautiful site filled with small photos, videos, and timelines. Below is a photo of the entrance to the City of David park. This entrance is located a little south of Dung Gate on the road that leads down to the point where the Kidron, Tyropean, and Hinnom valleys meet.
This area is not without political controversy and ramifications. An alternative web site, From Shiloah to Silwan, has good material.