A historic site believed to be where Jesus healed a blind man and where Jewish pilgrims took ritual baths will be excavated and opened to the public soon. On Tuesday, the City of David Foundation, the Israel National Parks Authority, and the Israel Antiquities Authority announced the commencement of the excavation of the Pool of Siloam in the city.
“The Pool of Siloam in the City of David National Park in Jerusalem is a site of historic, national, and international significance. After many years of expectation, we will soon begin uncovering this important site and make it accessible to the millions of visitors and tourists who visit Jerusalem every year,” said Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion.
Religious tourists from all over the world will be able to visit the site
Visitors will be permitted to view the site’s excavation in a few months. Tourists will be able to access the pool and travel in the footsteps of the pilgrims who purified themselves at the pool on their journey to the Temple. The tourist route will start at the city’s southernmost point and end at the Western Wall.
The pool was constructed over 2,700 years ago, in 8 B.C., during the reign of King Hezekiah. He was said to have “brought water to the city” in 2 Kings 20:20.
Archaeologists uncover the hidden history of the site
The pool served as a reservoir to collect water from the Gihon Spring. It delivered water to Jerusalem through an underground tunnel. “Due to its importance, the Pool of Siloam was renovated and expanded in the late Second Temple period, some 2,000 years ago. It is believed that at this time the pool served as a ‘mikveh’, a ritual bath, for the thousands of pilgrims who converged at the Pool of Siloam before ascending via the City of David to the Temple,” said the IAA’s in a statement.
Biblical texts shed light on the historical site
In John 9:6-7, this pool is mentioned as the place where Christ healed a man who was born blind, by restoring his vision. The verse describes how Jesus spat on the ground, made a mud paste with his saliva, and placed it on the man’s eyes.
“After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam.” So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.”
According to the IAA’s statement, a group of British-American archaeologists uncovered some parts of the pool’s steps in the 1890s. Later, a British archaeologist named Kathleen Kenyon excavated the Pool of Siloam in the 1960s.