The Siloam Pool: Where Jesus Healed the Blind Man

The Siloam Pool has long been considered a sacred Christian site, even if the correct identification of the site itself was uncertain. According to the Gospel of John, it was at the Siloam Pool where Jesus healed the blind man (John 9:1–11).

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Traditionally, the Christian site of the Siloam Pool was the pool and church that were built by the Byzantine empress Eudocia (c. 400–460 A.D.) 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 June 2004.

During construction work to repair a large water pipe south of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, at the southern end of the ridge known as the City of David, archaeologists Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron identified two ancient stone steps. Further excavation revealed that they were part of a monumental pool from the Second Temple period, the period in which Jesus lived. The structure Reich and Shukron discovered was 225 feet long, with corners that are slightly greater than 90 degrees, indicating a trapezoidal shape, with the widening end oriented toward Tyropoeon valley.

The Siloam Pool is adjacent to the area in the ancient City of David known as the King’s Garden and is just southeast of the remains of the fifth-century church and pool traditionally believed to be the sacred Christian site.

What was the function of the Siloam Pool during Jesus’ time? Because the pool is fed by waters from the Gihon Spring, located in the Kidron Valley,  the naturally flowing spring water would have qualified the pool for use as a mikveh for ritual bathing. However, it could also have been an important source of fresh water for the inhabitants on that part of the city. One scholar has even suggested that it was a Roman-style swimming pool. Whatever its original purpose, the Siloam Pool where Jesus healed the blind man is an important Christian site, and its discovery represents a watershed moment in the field of Biblical archaeology.

As with many sites in the Holy Land, the origins of the Siloam Pool reach back even further in history—at least seven centuries before the time of Jesus. Judah’s King Hezekiah (late eighth century B.C.) correctly anticipated a siege against Jerusalem by the Assyrian monarch Sennacherib.

To protect the city’s water supply during the siege, Hezekiah undertook a strategic engineering project that would be an impressive feat in any age: He ordered the digging of a 1,750-foot tunnel under the City of David to bring water from the Gihon Spring, which lay outside the city wall, inside the city to a pool on the opposite side of the ridge. In the years that followed, “Hezekiah’s Tunnel” continued to carry fresh water to this section of Jerusalem, and different pools were built here over the centuries, including the Second Temple pool that Jesus knew.

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Two Israeli Arabs Arrested in Plot to Assassinate Netanyahu

Two Israeli Arabs were indicted on Friday for planning to assassinate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Hazam Sanduka, 22, an Arab resident of Jerusalem’s Old City, and Fahdi Abu Kia’an,19, an Israeli Bedouin from the Negev, were arrested last month as part of a Hamas cell and charged with assisting an enemy at wartime, contact with a foreign agent, plotting a terrorist attack and manufacturing explosives. Prosecutor Anat Greenbaum wrote in the indictment that they had helped Hamas operative Ahmad Jamal Mousa Azzam.

Azzam, a resident of Qalqilya in Samaria, rented an apartment in the Abu Dis neighborhood of East Jerusalem. Azzam and Sanduka acquired ingredients to make explosives and planned on carrying out several attacks.

Sanduka, who had worked in a security firm in the past, initiated the plan to plant explosives under the stage in Jerusalem’s Payis Arena where Netanyahu was scheduled to speak.

They also planned a large attack in Jerusalem for earlier this month. The plans were directed by Hamas in Gaza and the two men were in constant contact with the terror organization.

Kia’an was identified as a supporter of the Islamic State (ISIS) and planned on transporting weapons from Judea and Samaria to the interior of Israel in order to carry out attacks against Israelis. He had also agreed to carry out a mass suicide attack by driving a car loaded with explosives.

25 suspects were arrested last month as part of the investigation. Most were students in Abu Dis University

 

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Excavations at Sea of Galilee Uncover Evidence of City Where Jesus Cast Out Legion of Demons

 Archeologists have uncovered a rare marble slab near the Sea of Galilee that some believe provides evidence of a city mentioned in Scripture where Jesus cast a legion demons out of a man who lived among the tombs.The 1,500-year old slab was found in what is believed to have once been a synagogue in Kursi, and contains an inscription in Hebrew letters that includes the phrases “remembered for good” and “amen.”

The excavation and research effort was led by Dr. Haim Cohen and Professor Michal Artzy of the Hatter Laboratory at the University of Haifa, in cooperation with the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Nature and Parks Authority. The find is stated to provide proof that there was a Jewish or Christian settlement at the site.

“The presence of a Jewish site on the eastern shores of the Sea of Galilee is a very rare phenomenon,” Cohen told reporters. “Until now, we have not had any proof that Jewish settlements existed during this period along the eastern shores of the Sea of Galilee.”

Professor Artzy found the discovery to be a rare and fascinating find.

“The dedication comprises eight lines, so that it is very detailed or expansive. In most cases we do not find so many words in Hebrew letters engraved on stone, so the person to whom the inscription was dedicated must have had a tremendous influence on the local people,” she stated. “There is no parallel for such a detailed and expensive dedication in archeological findings to date in Israel.”

Researchers have believed for some time that Kursi might have been the “country of the Gadarenes,” the coastal region mentioned in the Scriptures where Jesus cast out legion of evil spirits from a demon-possessed man.

“And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. And when He was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,” Mark 5 reads. “And He asked him, ‘What is thy name?’ And he answered, saying, ‘My name is Legion: for we are many.’

When the demons asked to be sent into the nearby swine, Jesus commanded them to go, and the spirits entered into the pigs, which ran over a cliff and into the sea—presumably the Sea of Galilee.

“And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done,” the Scriptures outline. “And they came to Jesus, and saw him that was possessed with the devil and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. … And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.”

Jesus is believed to have arrived in Kursi after traveling over the Sea of Galilee.

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