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 Vol. 3, No. 5 

Page 15

May, 2001

The Pool of Siloam

By Hugo McCord

In Jerusalem in May of 1971, I walked through a dark tunnel in gently moving loin-deep water coming from "the waters of Gihon" (2 Chronicles 32:30), a spring at the foot of Mt. Ophel's eastern side. My exit was at the foot of Mt. Ophel's western side, where the waters form the Pool of Siloam. I jogged back wet to my hotel room, but I was thrilled!

I. Hezekiah and the Pool of Siloam

Hezekiah, the son of Ahaz, reigned as king over Judah 29 years, 727-698 B.C. (2 Kings 18:1-2). The spring called "Gihon" was outside Jerusalem, and Hezekiah wanted the waters of the spring inside the city so that in the event of an army attacking Jerusalem, Hezekiah asked, "Why should the kings of the Assyrians come, and find much water?" (2 Chronicles 32:4).

So Hezekiah "fortified his city, and brought water into the midst thereof" by digging "rock with iron, and made a well for water" (Ecclesiasticus 48:19). His workmen, with iron tools, hewed out from the limestone a tunnel clear through Mt. Ophel. Then they "stopped the upper spring of the waters of Gihon" (2 Chronicles 32:30), "and brought water into the city" (2 Kings 20:20). There the waters were dammed to form the Pool of Siloam.

The above record of the formation of the Pool of Siloam, though very clear in the Old Testament and in the apocryphal book ECCLESIASTICUS, was not mentioned by secular historians for some 2500 years. But, in 1880, an Arabian lad, playing in the pool, noticed on the north side an opening into Mt. Ophel. His spreading the news of a tunnel brought scholars with torches, and they quickly found writing on the tunnel wall. They cleaned the letters with acid, made squeezes, and soon scholarly eyes were amazed at finding Hebrew letters of the 8th century B.C. They were convinced that this was the conduit, the aqueduct, through which Hezekiah had brought "the waters of Gihon . . . straight down" into "the city of David" (2 Chronicles 32:30).

Apparently, an excited eyewitness wrote on the tunnel wall that "on the day of the boring through . . . there flowed the waters to the pool for a thousand and two hundred cubits" (J. McKee Adams, ANCIENT RECORDS AND THE BIBLE, p. 203). The "actual measured distance is 1740 feet" (ibid.). Hugo's walk from the Gihon spring through the tunnel and on into the Pool of Siloam left him with a feeling of the accuracy of the Bible.

II. Jesus and the Pool of Siloam

To this day, tourists in Jerusalem are shown the Pool of Siloam. Jesus spread a patty of mud on the eyes of a blind man, and said, "Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam" (John 9:7). Somehow, the blind man found the pool, washed his eyes and was "able to see" (John 9:7).

No one thinks that there was any power in the water to make the blind man able to see. Similarly, there is no power in the water of baptism to wash sins away. If water had such power, Jesus was foolish to die to wash sins away with his blood (Matthew 26:28; Revelation 7:14).

The blind man would have stayed blind if he had refused to wash his eyes in the water of the Pool of Siloam. Similarly, the "chief of sinners" would have stayed guilty if he had refused to be baptized to "wash away" his "sins" (1 Timothy 1:26; Acts 22:16).

Copyright 2001 Louis Rushmore. All Rights Reserved.
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