Ancient Steps Where Jesus Healed Blind Man Uncovered In Jerusalem
By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz/Israel 365 NewsSept 12, 2023
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Archeologists have uncovered eight steps leading into the pool of Siloam, which was mentioned in the Bible and is significant to Jews and Christians.
Earlier this year, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced that the ancient pool of Siloam, first mentioned in the biblical book of Kings II, was to be fully excavated and opened to the public.
In recent weeks, the archaeologists working on the project have made significant progress in uncovering eight steps that had not seen the light of day in approximately 2,000 years.
"The ongoing excavations within the City of David -- the historic site of Biblical Jerusalem -- particularly of the Pool of Siloam and the Pilgrimage Road, serve as one of the greatest affirmations of that heritage and the millennia-old bond Jews and Christians have with Jerusalem," Ze'ev Orenstein, director of International Affairs - City of David Foundation, told Fox News Digital
"Not simply as a matter of faith, but as a matter of fact," he added.
"The half-mile running through the City of David, from the Pool of Siloam in the south, continuing along the Pilgrimage Road, up to the footsteps of the Western Wall, Southern Steps and Temple Mount, represents the most significant half-mile on the planet," Orenstein said.
"There is no half-mile anywhere on Earth which means more to more people -- not to millions, but to billions -- than the half-mile that is the City of David," he added.
The structure is located just outside the walls of Jerusalem's Old City to the southeast, where several pools were fed by the waters of the Gihon Spring, carried there by the Siloam Tunnel. The Gihon was one of the four rivers that flowed out of Eden (Gen. 2:13).
During the Second Temple period, millions of pilgrims coming from outside of Jerusalem probably used the pool as a ritual bath (mikveh) before ascending to the Temple Mount through what archaeologists have dubbed as the "Pilgrimage Road," the city's main street that led directly to the sanctuary. By that point, the pool - which was the city's main water source - had been renovated and expanded to reach its largest size, approximately 5 dunams (1 1⁄4 acres).
According to the Bible, the structure was first built under King Hezekiah some 2,700 years ago to leave besieging armies without access to the spring's waters.
"The other events of Hezekiah's reign, and all his exploits, and how he made the pool and the conduit and brought the water into the city, are recorded in the Annals of the Kings of Yehuda," reads Kings II, 20:20.
A crucial archaeological discovery unearthed in 1880 also testifies to the importance of the site: an inscription in ancient Hebrew script from the 8th century BCE recording that the Gihon Spring's water was diverted to the Pool during the reign of King Hezekiah.
Excavated multiple times over the course of the decades, the pool was partially exposed in 2004 during works on Jerusalem's water infrastructure. The IAA excavation that followed under the direction of Professors Roni Reich and Eli Shukron uncovered the northern perimeter, as well as a small portion of the eastern perimeter of the Pool of Siloam.
The pool is also mentioned in the Gospel of John as the site where Jesus heals a blind man (John:9). Traditionally, the Christian site of the Siloam Pool was the pool and church that were built by the Byzantine empress Eudocia to commemorate the miracle recounted in the New Testament. However, the exact location of the original pool, as it existed during the time of Jesus, remained a mystery until it was rediscovered.
Visitors will now be able to observe the excavations and eventually visit the pool as part of a route starting at the southernmost point of the City of David and ending at the footsteps of the Western Wall.
The same route that Jewish pilgrims walked 2,000 years ago.
Originally published at Israel 365 News - reposted with permission.