A RANGE OF ROCK-CUT POOLS ON THE SOUTHERN SLOPE OF THE WADI HILWEH, OUTSIDE THE WALLS OF THE OLD CITY OF JERUSALEM, ARE CALLED THE POOL OF SILOAM AND ARE LOCATED AT THE SOUTHERN END OF THE CITY OF DAVID.
According to the Hebrew Bible, Hezekiah (715–687/6 BC), the 13th king of Judah, constructed the Pool of Siloam. The Siloam Tunnel, also known as Hezekiah’s Tunnel, brought water from the Gihon Spring and provided the city’s residents with a consistent supply of drinking water, especially during times of siege.
The pools were rebuilt during the Second Temple period (516 BCE – AD 70) and most likely served as a “mikveh,” or ceremonial wash, for the hordes of pilgrims who gathered at the Pool of Siloam before climbing to the Temple via the City of David.
The Gospel of John relates how “Jesus sent a man blind from birth to the pool to complete his healing” at this point.
The Pool of Siloam has become the center of many traditions over the years, and since the end of the 19th century, it has drawn the attention of international archaeological expeditions.
Some of the pool’s steps were discovered in the 1890s by a team of British-American archaeologists led by F.J. Bliss and A.C. Dickey, and the site was explored by British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon in the 1960s.
When Second Temple-era stone steps were uncovered in 2004 during sewage excavation work, it was established that the pool was 225 feet (69 meters) broad and that steps were present on at least three of its sides.
The Pool of Siloam will be completely exposed, according to a new project being performed, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority. The Pool of Siloam will be accessible in the coming months as part of the tourist route that will start from the southernmost point of the City of David and end at the Western Wall. At the first stage, visitors will be able to view the archaeological digs.
Moshe Lion, the mayor of Jerusalem, declared: “The Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem’s City of David National Park is a location of historic, societal, and global significance. After many years of anticipation, we will shortly start excavating this significant site and opening it up to the millions of tourists and visitors that come to Jerusalem each year.
Plans for the excavation have generated some debate. The Times of Israel reports that protesters claim “the excavations are part of a strategy to expand right-wing Jewish authority over politically sensitive areas of East Jerusalem now occupied by Palestinians.”