Josephus and the Pool of Siloam

The expression "pool of Siloam (which is translated, Sent)" is found 3 times in Scripture-- (Neh 3:15, "Pool of Shelah"; Is 8:6, "waters of Shiloah"; Jn 9:7, "pool of Siloam"). Josephus frequently mentions Siloam, placing it at the termination of the Valley of the Cheesemongers or the Tyropoeon Valley (Wars 5.4.1)--but outside the city wall (Wars 5.9.4)--where the old wall bent eastward (Wars 5.6.1), and facing the hill upon which was the rock Peristereon, to the E (Wars 5.12.2). From these descriptions it is quite evident that Josephus speaks of the same place as the present Birket Silwan, on the other side of the Kidron. John's account (Jn 9:7) of the blind man sent by Jesus to wash at the pool of Siloam seems to indicate that it was near the Temple. It was from Siloam that water was brought in a golden vessel to the Temple during the feast of Tabernacles; our Lord probably pointed to it when He stood in the Temple and cried, "If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink" (7:37). The pool of Siloam is fed by a conduit that is cut for a distance of 1,780 feet through solid rock, and which starts at the so-called Virgin's Spring (En-rogel). The reason for which it was cut is unmistakable. The Virgin's Spring is the only spring of fresh water in the immediate neighborhood of Jerusalem, and in time of siege it was important that, while the enemy should be deprived of access to it, its waters should be made available for those who were within the city. But the spring rose outside the walls, on the sloping cliff that overlooks the valley of Kidron. Accordingly, a long passage was excavated in the rock, by means of which the overflow of the spring was brought into Jerusalem; the spring itself was covered with masonry, so that it could be "sealed" in case of war.

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