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Article Info
published: 3/31/13

The Pool of Siloam in the Bible



The Pool of Siloam in the New Testament

The water from the Siloam aqueduct, emerging at `Ain Silwan, flows today into a narrow shallow pool, approached by a steep flight of modern steps. From the southern extremity of this pool the water crosses under the modern road by means of an aqueduct, and after traversing a deeply cut rock channel below the scarped cliffs on the north side of el-Wad, it crosses under the main road up the Kidron and enters a number of channels of irrigation distributed among the gardens of the people of Silwan. The water here, as at its origin, is brackish and impregnated with sewage.

The modern Birket es-Silwan is but a poor survivor of the fine pool which once was here. Bliss showed by his excavations at the site that once there was a great rock-cut pool, 71 ft. North and South, by 75 ft. East and West, which may, in part at least, have been the work of Hezekiah (2 Ki 20:20), approached by a splendid flight of steps along its west side.


The pool was surrounded by an arcade 12 ft. wide and 22 1/2 ft. high, and was divided by a central arcade, to make in all probability a pool for men and another for women. These buildings were probably Herodian, if not earlier, and therefore this, we may reasonably picture, was the condition of the pool at the time of the incident in Jn 9:7, when Jesus sent the blind man to "wash in the pool of Siloam."

This pool is also probably the Pool of Shelah described in Neh 3:15 as lying between the Fountain Gate and the King's Garden. It may also be the "king's pool" of Neh 2:14. If we were in any doubt regarding the position of the pool of Siloam, the explicit statement of Josephus (BJ, V, iv, 1) that the fountain of Siloam, which he says was a plentiful spring of sweet water, was at the mouth of the Tyropoeon would make us sure.

 

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Source:

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, which is in the public domain.