The Pool of Siloam (John 9)

The water of the Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem was regarded as sacred. According to rabbinic tradition, during the celebration of the Feast of Booths water was drawn from the pool into a golden vessel and carried in procession to the temple (cf. John 7). Jesus instructed the man born blind to wash in this same pool (John 9:1-7), although it was Jesus – the source of “living water” (John 7:38) – who did the healing.

The question of where the Pool of Siloam was located has been examined on the basis of reports from the Bible, Josephus, ancient pilgrims and archaeological findings. There were actually two pools. The first, the “Lower” or older “Pool of Siloam” (cf. Isaiah 8:6, 22:9-11) collected water from the Gihon Spring, east of the city, via a short channel. The second, or “Upper” Pool, also received water from the Gihon Spring, but it came through an underground tunnel that had been cut through rock by King Hezekiah around 701 B.C. Hezekiah strategically situated the Upper Pool within the city walls to serve as a secure water supply. The Lower Pool would have been located outside the city of his day.

For a long time, the Upper Pool was considered the best candidate to be the Pool of Siloam of Jesus’ day. However, in 2004 the remains of a previously undiscovered pool were found to the southeast of the Upper Pool (picture above); it was closed to the Lower Pool and in the area known as the Kin’s Garden. Numismatic evidence – coins from the late Hasmonean period (ca. 90 B.C.) and from the Jewish Revolt period (ca. A.D. 63) – prove that this pool was in use in Jesus’ day. A stairway of three tiers leading down to the pool has been found, and the one side of the pool was 68,5 m long. This was no doubt the Pool of Siloam og John 9.

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