Click the photo for a close-up view
The Pool of Siloam Revealed
City of David
Archaeologists working in the City of David have uncovered the edge of what they believe is the Pool of Siloam from the time of Jesus (cf. John 9). The photo at left shows the city of Jerusalem with the Temple Mount and the City of David. The excavations are on the west side of the City of David. Letter “A” is located where the traditional “Pool of Siloam” is and Letter “B” shows the area of the present excavations.
The Pool Today
This is the pool that you’ll see today whether you walk through Hezekiah’s Tunnel and emerge here or walk above through the City of David. There are clear remains around this pool from the Byzantine church built by Empress Eudocia. This is the pool that has long been visited as the pool of Jesus’ miracle.
In the summer of 2004, work along a drainage pipe revealed some large stone steps. Archaeologists Eli Shukrun and Ronny Reich quickly revealed a series of steps leading down into the adjacent garden. In this photo you can see the grates of the drainage channel which will prove to be an obstacle for future excavation.
Photo taken on June 24, 2004
Photo taken November 7, 2004
The Steps Revealed
After some months of work, a large section of these steps were revealed, but work was hindered on one side by the drainage channel (visible as the concrete section on the left side of the photo) and on the other by property owned by the Greek Orthodox Church. At the far end, the corner of the steps is visible, but at this point, no other corners had been revealed.
Visitors to the site in the winter of 2005 were disappointed to see that the pool had been covered over. This was necessitated by the removal of the remaining street and drainage channel. In the meantime, excavations proceeded elsewhere, including in the section of the Siloam Channel visible on the right side of the photo.
Photo taken March 13, 2005
Photo taken May 19, 2005
By Passover the drainage channel had been moved (now visible as the black pipe at top) and the earth re-excavated from the steps. At this point, more of the pool has been revealed than ever before, including the northern corner of the steps at the far end of the photo. Pottery indicates that this pool was in use in the 1st century. The blind man washed the mud off of his eyes in this pool and received his sight (see John 9).
Where Does It Go?
This view is from across the valley (looking east) and shows the steps that have been excavated (as above). It also gives a perspective of how the rest of the pool is buried underneath the garden. Hopes are high that an agreement will be reached to allow the excavation of the rest of the pool.
Photo taken April 24, 2006
Excavations continue to reveal more sections of the pool on the northern and southern ends. Several shafts at the northern end of the pool have revealed large paving stones. On the southern end, excavations have uncovered a large wall and a section of the pool from the Old Testament period. These are in the pit below the wall in the foreground of the photo. Altogether about 20 steps (4 sets of 5 each) have been excavated leading from street level into the pool.
Putting It Together
This drawing, by Father Vincent in the early 1900s, shows the relationship of the two pools (west is at the top). The pool marked with a yellow arrow is the modern pool at the end of Hezekiah’s Tunnel. It is narrow and shallow. The new excavations are in the area labeled as “Birket el-Hamra” and marked with the red arrow. Scholars have long believed that this was the area of an ancient pool, but without excavations they have not understood its date, size, or other important details. A wild prediction: this will be the archaeological discovery of the decade for biblical studies. At least there is no chance of it being declared a forgery.
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Biblical Pool of Siloam uncovered in Jerusalem (LA Times – now available only by purchase) Primary article from the August 2005 press conference which was duplicated throughout the press. There is a partial copy in the DrudgeReport archive.
Report in Dec. 2004
Archaeologists identify traces of ‘miracle’ pool (MSNBC) News article from Dec. 2004 about the discovery of the Pool of Siloam, including an artist’s reconstruction of what the (newly-discovered) pool liked like in the time of Jesus.
Bible History Online – Pool of Siloam (Bible History Online) Brief description of pool with relevant Bible verses. Includes an artist’s depiction of the (Byzantine-era) pool.
Siloam, Pool of (WebBible Encyclopedia – ChristianAnswers.Net) Basic article on the pool that covers the main facts as known before the current excavations. With links to related subjects.
Pool of Siloam (Wikipedia) Brief article that gives the well-known facts and New Testament connection.