“Go Wash in the Pool of Siloam”
AFTER treating a blind man with softened clay, Jesus said to him: “Go wash in the pool of Siloam.” The man complied and “came back seeing.” (John 9:6, 7) Where was the Pool of Siloam? A recent archaeological discovery casts new light on its location.
Many tourists have visited a site in Jerusalem known as the Pool of Siloam, believing that it is the actual pool mentioned at John 9:7. The site is located at the end of Hezekiah’s tunnel—a 1,750-foot-long [530 m] water tunnel constructed in the eighth century B.C.E. This pool, though, dates from the fourth century C.E. It was built by Byzantine “Christians” who mistakenly assumed that the pool mentioned in John’s Gospel would have been located at the end of this tunnel.
In 2004, however, archaeologists found what they concluded was the Pool of Siloam as it existed when Jesus was on earth. It is located a few hundred feet [about 100 m] southeast of the site that was mistakenly thought to be the Pool of Siloam. How did they discover it? The city authorities needed to repair a sewer pipe in the area, so they sent in workers with heavy equipment. An archaeologist working nearby watched the digging operation and saw two steps appear. The work was halted, and the Israeli Antiquities Authority approved an excavation of the area. One side of the pool, about 225 feet [70 m] in length, and two corners have already been excavated.
Some coins found during the excavation date back to the second, the third, and the fourth years of the Jewish revolt against Rome. That revolt took place between 66 and 70 C.E. The coins give evidence that the pool was in use until 70 C.E. when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. The journal Biblical Archaeology Review concludes: “The pool was therefore used until the end of the revolt, after which it was abandoned. This area, the lowest spot in all Jerusalem, was not inhabited again until the Byzantine period. Every year the winter rains flowing down the valley deposited another layer of mud in the pool. And after the Roman destruction of the city, the pool was no longer cleaned. Over the centuries a thick layer of mud accumulated and the pool gradually disappeared. The archaeologists found it under nearly 10 feet [3 m] of mud in places.”
Why are sincere Bible students interested in the location of the Pool of Siloam? Because this helps them to get a better understanding of the geography of first-century Jerusalem, so often mentioned in the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry.
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Newly discovered Pool of Siloam
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