The biblical site of the Pool of Siloam will be fully open to the public for the first time in 2,000 years following excavation, according to a recent announcement from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), the Israel National Parks Authority (INPA) and the City of David Foundation (CDF).
The Pool of Siloam is recorded in the Bible in 2 Kings 20:20 after King Hezekiah made the pool to bring water to Jerusalem and again in John 9:1-11 when Jesus healed a blind man with mud, according to the Biblical passage. The IAA announced the excavation on its Facebook page last week. (RELATED: New Jerusalem Train Station To Be Named After Trump)
“For the first time in modern history, the Israel Antiquities Authority official archeological excavation will enable the exposure of the entire Pool of Siloam,” the announcement read. “At the first stage, visitors will be able to observe the archaeological excavations, and in the coming months, the Pool of Siloam will be accessible, as part of the tourist route that will begin at the southernmost point of the City of David and culminate at the Western Wall.”
Ze’ev Orenstein, director of International Affairs, City of David Foundation, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the site represented “one of the most significant sites affirming Jerusalem’s Biblical heritage.”
“Despite ongoing efforts at the United Nations and by Palestinian leadership to erase Jerusalem’s heritage, in a few years time, millions of people each year will literally be able to walk in the footsteps of the Bible, connecting with the roots of their identity, culture, and faith when visiting the City of David – the place where Jerusalem began – one of the world’s foremost heritage sites,” Orenstein stated.
The Pool of Siloam was originally a “strategic” method for bringing water into the Holy City via underground tunnels, according to the announcement. Viewed for thousands of years as a holy site, worshipers would bathe in ritualistic cleansing or a “mikveh.”
The current excavation project will eventually completely open the pool to the public along a tourist route that eventually leads to the holy site of the Western Wall of the temple in Jerusalem, according to the announcement. The pool was thought to be originally 1 1/4 acres when it was built by King Hezekiah and was later renovated after the construction of the Second Temple.
The historic site has been undergoing archaeological excavations since the 1890s when British-American archaeologists discovered the pool’s steps, and then 80 years later the site was further excavated by British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon, according to the announcement.
“In 2004, during infrastructure works carried out by the Jerusalem Gihon Water Company, some of the pool’s steps were exposed,” the announcement explained. “Subsequently, the Israel Antiquities Authority undertook a systematic excavation under the direction of Prof. Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron, exposing the northern and some of the eastern sides of the pool. The perimeter of the pool was stepped, allowing bathers to sit and immerse themselves in the waters of the pool.”
The IAA and the INPA did not respond to DCNF’s request for comment.
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