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A tunnel was constructed from the spring at Gihon — what is now called the Virgin’s Fountain — under the city walls and through the rock to the southern end of the city of Jerusalem, to the pool of Siloam. This would be a difficult feat in these days of sophisticated surveying and measuring equipment. It was even more remarkable for the times of Hezekiah, because the impending invasion meant there was very little time, and gangs of workmen had to start from either end. When the tunnel was complete, the spring outside the city was blocked up and the water flowed into the city.
Gihon, The Same With the Fountain of Siloam
I. In 1 Kings 1:33,38, that which is, in the Hebrew, “Bring ye him to Siloam: and they brought him to Siloam.” Where Kimchi thus: “Gihon is Siloam, and it is called by a double name. And David commanded, that they should anoint Solomon at Gihon for a good omen, to wit, that, as the waters of the fountain are everlasting, so might his kingdom be.” So also the Jerusalem writers: “They do not anoint the king, but at a fountain; as it is said, ‘Bring Solomon to Gihon.’”
“Now there is at Jerusalem, by the sheep market, a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethes'da, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.” (John 5:2-4).
It is not possible to overestimate the importance of the Gihon spring and pool to the city of Jerusalem. Although, because of its position in the valley, the Jebusites could not include the spring in the walls of the fort which they built on the hill of Ophel, the site of the citadel was chosen because it was the only position in the neighhourhood which had access to an unceasing supply of water. As we saw when we considered the method by which David captured the city, they were sufficiently skilful engineers to bring the water inside the walls by means of the tunnel and shaft now called Warren’s shaft.¹ This expedient, however, was not altogether satisfactory. Although, when the spring overflowed, the tunnel and shaft were filled, they did not afford sufficient outlet for the rushing water. The pool itself overflowed and ran down the Valley to form the brook Kidron.
The Siloam Inscription
It has been said by critics of the Bible that the records which we have of the reign of King Hezekiah are far too advanced in their description of the civilisation of his times for the period to which they are said to relate, and that the writing would have been more fitting had it been applied to the time of the Babylonian captivity. In particular, a verse occurring in the 25th chapter of Proverbs, which refers to the time of Hezekiah, has been criticised. In this chapter we have some of the proverbs of Solomon referred to, and the first verse describes how they came to be grouped together.
The Water of Life
“For as much as this people refuseth the waters of Shiloah that go softly, and rejoice in Rezin and Remaliah’s son, now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory; and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks; And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, Ο Immanuel.”¹
(שׁלח, shālaḥ; ἀποστέλλω, apostéllō): “Sent” in the Old Testament is the translation of shālaḥ, “to send” (of presents, messengers, etc., Genesis 32:18; 44:3; Judges 6:14; 1 Kings 14:6; Esther 3:13; Proverbs 17:11; Jeremiah 49:14; Ezekiel 3:5; 23:40; Daniel 10:11; Obadiah 1:1); of shelaḥ, Aramaic (Ezra 7:14; Daniel 5:24); of shilluḥīm, “sending” (Exodus 18:2); in the New Testament of apostellō, “to send off” or “away,” “to send forth” (John 9:7, “the pool of Siloam (which is by interpretation, Sent)”); compare Luke 13:4; Nehemiah 3:15, the pool of Siloah, the Revised Version “Shelah”; Isaiah 8:6, “the waters of Shiloah that go softly,” where Septuagint has Silōam for Hebrew shilōaḥ, “a sending,” which, rather than “Sent,” is the original meaning—a sending forth of waters. See SILOAM}. “Sent” is also the translation of apóstolos, “one sent forth” (the original of the familiar word “apostle”); in John 13:16, “one that is sent” (margin, “Greek ‘an apostle'“); compare Hebrews 1:14.
Siloam; Siloah; Shelah; Shiloah
si-lō ́am, sī-lō ́am, si-lō ́a, shē ́la, shi-lō ́a: (1) השּׁלח מי, mē ha-shilōaḥ (shilōaḥ or shillōaḥ is a passive form and means “sent” or “conducted”) “the waters of (the) Shiloah” (Isaiah 8:6). (2) השּׁלח בּרכת, berēkhath ha-shelaḥ, “the pool of (the) Shelah” (the King James Version “Siloah”) (Nehemiah 3:15). (3) τὴν κολυμβήθραν τοῦ (or τὸν) Σιλωάμ, tḗn kolumbḗthran toú (tón) Silōám, “the pool of Siloam” (John 9:7). (4) ὁ πύργος ἐν τῷ Σιλωάμ, ho púrgos en tṓ Silōám, “the tower in Siloam” (Luke 13:4).
The Blind Man Washes in the Pool of Siloam
Christ at the Pool of Bethesda
Paralyzed Man at the Pool of Bethesda
The Paralyzed Man Took up His Bed and Walked
Pool of Bethesda
Pool of Bethesda
Pool of Siloam
The Pool of Siloam (Hebrew: בריכת השילוח, Breikhat Hashiloah) is a rock-cut pool on the southern slope of the City of David, the original site of Jerusalem, located outside the walls of the Old City to the southeast. The pool was fed by the waters of the Gihon Spring, carried there by two aqueducts.