THE POOL OF SILOAM.
by David Roberts
The site of this memorable fountain is not determinable from any of its notices in Scripture, 1) but Josephus describes it as in the valley of the Tyropoeon (“Valley of the Cheesemakers”), on the south-east part of the ancient city, the precise situation in which we find the pool now bearing the name. 2)
Jerome, about the close of the fourth century, describes it as “a fountain at the foot of Mount Sion, whose waters do not flow regularly, but on certain clays and hours, and issue with great noise from caverns in the hard rock.” 3) It is subsequently mentioned by a long succession of authorities, and Phocas (a.d. 1185) states it to have been “surrounded by arches and massive columns, with gardens below.”
It is a small, deep reservoir, in the form of a parallelogram, into which the water flows from under the rocks, out of a smaller basin, or fissure in the rock, a few feet farther up. The reservoir is an artificial work, and the water comes to it through a subterranean channel from the Fountain of Mary, higher up in the Valley of Jehoshaphat.
The ridge Ophel ends here, just over the Pool of Siloam, in a steep point of rock, forty or fifty feet high. Along its base the water is conducted from the pool in a small channel hewn in the rock, and led off, to water the gardens of fig and other fruit-trees lying in terraces, which extend to the bottom of the Valley of Jehoshaphat, a descent of forty or fifty feet. 4)
Siloam is now used as a public fountain; but it seems to have been once sacred to the uses of the Temple. Its perpetual stream was the subject of allusion by our Lord, and it was made the visible instrument of one of those mighty acts which He wrought among the people. 5)
1) Isaiah, viii. 6 – Nehemiah, ii, 15. 2) Bel. Jud. v. 4. 1. 3) Hieron. Comm, in Esaiam, viii. 6. 4) Biblical Researches, vol. i. p. 493, 501, &c. 5) John, ix. 7—11.
The Fountain of Siloam by Luigi Mayer, 1804.
THE FOUNTAIN OF SILOAM
by Luigi Mayer
Is on the south-cast of the city, and opposite the site of the temple. It has a considerable flow of brackish water; but Josephus says it was much more abundant than usual during the siege of Jerusalem by Titus, to which he was an eyewitness, supplying the roman army with plenty of water; and he adds, that Nebuchadnezzar experienced the same benefit from it. This is the pool, to which, as we are informed by John, chap, xi, Christ sent the man that was born blind to wash his eyes.
- The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt, & Nubia, by David Roberts, George Croly, William Brockedon. London: Lithographed, printed and published by Day & Son, lithographers to the Queen. Cate Street, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, 1855.
- Views in Palestine, from the original drawings of Luigi Mayer: with an historical and descriptive account of the country, and its remarkable places by Luigi Mayer. London: Printed by T. Bensley for R. Bowyer, 1804.