An ancient coin is seen with other items discovered at the site where
archaeologists believe they have uncovered the remains of the Siloam Pool in the
Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem, Thursday, Dec. 23, 2004. Archaeologists in
Jerusalem have uncovered the pool's stone remains and its still-running water,
believed to have been used by Jesus to restore a blind man's eyesight. The pool was
used by Jews for ritual immersions from about 50 B.C. until A.D. 70, when the Romans
destroyed the Jewish Temple. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer)
JERUSALEM Dec 23, 2004 — Archaeologists in Jerusalem have identified the remains of the Siloam Pool, where
the Bible says Jesus miraculously cured a man's blindness, researchers said
Thursday underlining a stirring link between the works of Jesus and ancient
The archaeologists are slowly
digging out the pool, where water still runs, tucked away in what is now the
Arab neighborhood of Silwan. It was used by Jews for ritual immersions for
about 120 years until the year 70, when the Romans destroyed the Jewish
Many of Jesus' acts are directly linked to Jewish rituals,
and the miracle of the blind man is an example. According to the Bible, the
man was undergoing ritual immersion in the Siloam Pool for entry into the
Temple compound, and Jesus used the occasion to cure his blindness.
In the last four months, archaeologists have revealed the
pool's 50-yard length and a channel that brought in water from the Silwan
spring. In the past week, a section of stone road that led from the pool to
the Jewish Temple was uncovered.
"The moment that we revealed and discovered this four
months ago, we were 100 percent sure it was the Siloam Pool," said
archaeologist Eli Shukron.
"We know today that the Siloam Pool is connected to the
Temple Mount. There is a road that connects the two elements. The entire
system is clearer today," Shukron said.
Stephen Pean, a Bible
scholar, said the pool's waters were considered so pristine they could purify even a
Pean said Jesus likely chose to cure the blind man using the
purest water available, because people with any disabilities were barred from the
"The whole point is that people will not only be healed physically
but also healed spiritually," he said. "This discovery helps bring the Gospel alive
in the context of Jewish practice."
The archaeologists excavating the site are with the Israeli
government's Antiquities Authority. They found biblical-era coins marked with
ancient Jewish writing, along with pottery shards and a stone bottle cork helping
them confirm the area was the Siloam Pool.
The stone-lined pool has steps leading into it from all sides,
said Ronny Reich, a University of Haifa archaeologist. One side of the pool, two
corners, a part of the esplanade around it and the water channel leading to it have
been uncovered, he said.
Jesus, according to the New Testament, put clay on a blind man's
eyes and then sent him to wash them out in the pool's purifying waters, giving him
Jews, who traditionally made three pilgrimages a year to
Jerusalem, would immerse themselves in the Siloam Pool before heading down the stone
pathway to the temple. They also used the pool for drinking water and camped around
"Jesus was a pilgrim in Jerusalem … so this would be a natural
place for him to be … enjoying the water supply," Reich said.
The Israeli Antiquities Authority is negotiating with the Greek
Orthodox Church, which owns the land, to continue the dig. Archaeologists believe
the pool is under the thick green covering of an overgrown vegetable garden and
several large trees.
Nine-foot-tall stone walls topped by old sewage and drainage pipes
separate the new discovery and the pool's stone steps, uncovered in the 1960s. Now
archaeologists hope to remove the old pipes and connect the esplanade and water
channel to the steps that lead into the pool.
"Here we can judge and see how large it is the grandeur of the
city in those days," Reich said.