Home Christian News Excavation of Ancient Pool of Siloam Evidences Scriptural Accounts

Excavation of Ancient Pool of Siloam Evidences Scriptural Accounts

Pool of Siloam
Northern perimeter of the Pool of Siloam. Photo by Koby Harati, City of David Archives courtesy of Baptist Press.

JERUSALEM (BP) – Assyria’s King Sennacherib was planning to capture Judah. Somehow, King Hezekiah had workers dig a tunnel through solid rock and divert Judah’s water supply to the Pool of Siloam, hiding it from the enemy.

That was 2,700 years ago.

Rendering of the Pool of Siloam, Second Temple period. Credit: Shalom Kveller, City of David Archives

Clues to how the work was done, as well as biblical evidence from Jesus’ earthly ministry, might be unearthed as Israel excavates the full Pool of Siloam that has fascinated archeologists for more than 150 years.

New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary professor Jim Parker viewed the excavation site and tunnel on a current instructional tour he’s leading of Jerusalem through Jan. 13, he told Baptist Press.

“It’s still a great mystery how they did it,” said Parker, NOBTS professor of biblical interpretation and executive director of NOBTS’ Michael and Sara Moskau Institute of Archeology. “He (Hezekiah) was able to protect and defend the water system.”

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The work is referenced but not detailed in 2 Kings 20:20, which indicates the details are written in “The History of the Kings of Judah,” an extrabiblical historical book.

“We don’t know that there were written sources that went forward that went into the (biblical) canon,” Parker said. “It seems like there was another set of writings where they kept up with all of the details of what the king did and everything. But today, we don’t have those. Those are lost.”

Excavation of the full pool, believed to be about one acre in size, will be valuable in affirming Scripture, Parker told Baptist Press.

NOBTS Professor Jim Parker, center, with First Baptist Church of New Orleans Pastor Chad Gilbert and the pastor’s wife Cole, who participated in the Jerusalem tour.

“It affirms the biblical fact that this pool existed, and the tunnel existed, and it operated together,” he said. “It also gives an idea into some of the rituals of the temple.”

The Pool of Siloam is where Israelites washed to spiritually purify themselves before entering the temple. At the pool, Jesus healed a blind man, as told in John 9:1-11.

The site of the pool was discovered in 2005 when workers unearthed steps to the pool while repairing a sewage line, but only a small portion of the site has been excavated. The pool was the reservoir for the waters of Gihon Spring, which were diverted through Hezekiah’s tunnel.

“This was all pure water,” Parker said, “and coming out of a spring, it’s called living water. Water that’s moving, by nature, it’s called living water.”

The Israel Antiquities Authority, the Israel National Parks Authority and the City of David Foundation announced in December 2022 the beginning of the full excavation of the pool.

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“The Pool of Siloam, located in the southern portion of the City of David and within the area of the Jerusalem Walls National Park, is an archeological and historical site of national and international significance,” the groups said in a press release. “Due to its location and importance, the Pool of Siloam was renovated and expanded some 2,000 years ago at the end of the Second Temple period. It is believed that the pool was used during this time as a ritual bath by millions of pilgrims who converged at the Pool of Siloam before ascending through the City of David to the Temple.”