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fountain Summary and Overview

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fountain in Easton's Bible Dictionary

(Heb. 'ain; i.e., "eye" of the water desert), a natural source of living water. Israel was a "land of brooks of water, of fountains, and depths that spring out of valleys and hills" (Deut. 8:7; 11:11). These fountains, bright sparkling "eyes" of the desert, are remarkable for their abundance and their beauty, especially on the west of Jordan. All the perennial rivers and streams of the country are supplied from fountains, and depend comparatively little on surface water. "Israel is a country of mountains and hills, and it abounds in fountains of water. The murmur of these waters is heard in every dell, and the luxuriant foliage which surrounds them is seen in every plain." Besides its rain-water, its cisterns and fountains, Jerusalem had also an abundant supply of water in the magnificent reservoir called "Solomon's Pools" (q.v.), at the head of the Urtas valley, whence it was conveyed to the city by subterrean channels some 10 miles in length. These have all been long ago destroyed, so that no water from the "Pools" now reaches Jerusalem. Only one fountain has been discovered at Jerusalem, the so-called "Virgins's Fountains," in the valley of Kidron; and only one well (Heb. beer), the Bir Eyub, also in the valley of Kidron, south of the King's Gardens, which has been dug through the solid rock. The inhabitants of Jerusalem are now mainly dependent on the winter rains, which they store in cisterns. (See WELL T0003803.)

fountain in Smith's Bible Dictionary

(a spring in distinction from a well). The springs of Israel, though short-lived, are remarkable for their abundance and beauty, especially those which fall into the Jordan and into its lakes, of which there are hundreds throughout its whole course. The spring or fountain of living water, the "eye" of the landscape, is distinguished in all Oriental languages from the artificially-sunk and enclosed well. Jerusalem appears to have possessed either more than one perennial spring or one issuing by more than one outlet. In Oriental cities generally public fountains are frequent. Traces of such fountains at Jerusalem may perhaps be found in the names of Enrogel, #2Sa 17:17| the "Dragon well" or fountain, and the "gate of the fountain." #Ne 2:13,14|

fountain in Schaff's Bible Dictionary

FOUNT'AIN . Springs of water are often mentioned in the Bible. Palestine, in contrast with Egypt, was a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths, Deut 8:7. Hundreds of fountains may be counted with ease on either side of the Jordan. Some have peculiar properties. There are intermittent, thermal, brackish, sulphur, and hot springs. Perpetual fountains or springs of living water were greatly valued. Ps 36:8-9; Isa 49:10; Jer 2:13; Joel 3:18; Zech 13:1; John 4:10; Rev 7:17. In the expressive language of the Hebrews and the modern Arabs, a fountain is the "eye" of the locality. The importance of water is attested by the numerous names of localities into which enters the Hebrew en or the Arabic ain, "fountain," such as "En-rogel," "Engedi" (Arabic 'Ain-jidy), "En-had-dah." Damascus is the best supplied with water of all the Eastern cities; Jerusalem also had so abundant a supply that during its numerous sieges there was never a complaint on this score. Public fountains are frequent in the towns. The "fountain sealed" of Song 4:12 is a well-spring covered with a stone and sealed with the king's own signet. The word "fountain " was used figuratively; thus, Deut 33:28 and Ps 68:26, it is applied to Israel as the ancestor of the chosen people of God, and in Prov 5:18 to a beloved wife.

fountain in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

A spring of water flowing from a hole in the earth. The limestone rock of Israel is especially suited for the formation of springs. In semi-arid country springs are highly prized as water sources and often determine the location of settlements. Thus the frequency of the Hebrew root En, meaning spring, in place names: En-dor (Joshua 17:11); En-eglaim (Ezekiel 47:10); En-gannim (Joshua 15:34); En-gedi (Joshua 15:62); En-haddah (Joshua 19:21); En-hakkore (Judges 15:19); En-hazor (Joshua 19:37); En-rimmon; (Nehemiah 11:29); En-rogel and En-shemesh (Joshua 15:7); and En-tappuah (Joshua 17:7). Enaim (Enam, Joshua 15:34) means "two springs." The goodness of Canaan was seen in its abundant water supply, "a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills" (Deuteronomy 8:7 NRSV). The Old Testament portrays the earth's dry land resting on foundations over the fountains of the deep (Genesis 7:11). The unleashing of these waters amounted to a return to the chaos before the creation (Genesis 1:1,Genesis 1:9). Provisions of spring water is an expression of God's providential care (Psalms 104:10). God's special concern for the poor and needy is pictured in terms of providing fountains and springs (Isaiah 41:17-18). The blessedness of the endtime includes pictures of fountains flowing from the Temple (Ezekiel 47:1-12; Joel 3:18), Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:8), or the throne of God (Revelation 22:1-2) with amazing life-giving powers. The metaphorical use of fountain for source is common. The teaching of the wise is a fountain (source) of life (Proverbs 13:14; contrast Proverbs 25:26).