Searching sewers reveals some ironic biblical mistakes

CITYsights: A recent excavation reveals the "pool of Siloam," where Jesus is said to have miraculously cured a blind man.

By ITRAVELJERUSALEM.COM TEAM
April 5, 2011 16:28
1 minute read.
iTravelJerusalem guide Danny Herman

iTravelJerusalem guide Danny Herman 311. (photo credit: iTravelJerusalem)

 
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One of history’s little ironies - and there are many - is that for centuries upon centuries, the site where Jesus is said to have miraculously cured a blind man, was believed to be at a place known as the Pool of Siloam, at the end of Hezekiah’s Tunnel, while the true location of the pool lay hidden from the eyes of archaeologists. In fact, the mistake, which is emblematic of the density of the archaeological strata in the City of David, was so deeply ingrained that it led the Byzantines to build a church at the wrong site.

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As iTravelJerusalem guide Danny Herman explains in the video, this changed in 2004, when excavations for a sewer revealed the lower Pool of Siloam some 70 meters from the first pool, corroborating Second-Temple-era writings that described the existence of such a site. Despite being the site of Jesus’ miracle making, however, the Pool of Siloam has yet to become a central tourist attraction. This is perhaps due mostly to the fact that Hezekiah’s Tunnel, which leads to the other pool, is an extremely important site in its own right.

It also doesn’t hurt to be at the end of a 533-meter-long, water-filled tunnel that has been drawing visitors for years, as much for its fun factor as for its educational value. Leading from the Gihon Spring, Hezekiah’s Tunnel (also known as the Shiloah Tunnel) is one of only a few 8th-century-BC structures worldwide that are fully accessible to the public. As the Bible tells us, the tunnel was dug by King Hezekiah so that he could fortify the city against the invading Assyrian armies without compromising its main water source, the Gihon, which lay outside the walls.

Besides the awesome experience of being inside an almost 3,000-year-old man-made tunnel, visitors – children especially – will enjoy the simple pleasure of wading through water that is waist-high in some places.

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