A nearly 3,000-year-old water reservoir in which Jesus allegedly restored a blind man’s sight will be excavated and open to the public in the coming months.
The ancient Pool of Siloam, which presumably served Jerusalem’s population during biblical times, will be fully excavated and opened up for visitors for the first time after it was rediscovered 18 years ago.
It was reportedly built by King Hezekiah near the southern part of the city in the 8th century BC in order to provide water to the City of David’s inhabitants.
Reports stated that the Pool was ornamented with impressive flagstones and approximately the size of five dunams (1.2 acres) at the peak of its glory.
The announcement was reportedly made through a joint statement by the Israel Antiquities Authority, the City of David Foundation and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority on Tuesday, 27th December.
Egyptian authorities revealed in the statement obtained by Newsflash: “The Pool of Siloam served as the reservoir for the waters of the Gihon Spring, which were diverted through an underground water tunnel, and it was thus already considered one of the most important areas in Jerusalem in the First Temple period.
“Due to its location and importance, the Pool of Siloam was renovated and expanded some 2,000 years ago at the end of the Second Temple period.
“It is believed that the Pool was used during this time as a ritual bath (‘mikveh’) by millions of pilgrims who converged at the Pool of Siloam before ascending through the City of David to the Temple.”
According to the Gospel of John, Jesus had allegedly sent “a man blind from birth” to the pool in order to complete his healing.
The Pool which grasped archaeologists’ focus since the end of the 19th century, has been associated with many traditions through the years.
It reportedly first gained media attention after a group of British-American researchers led by Frederick Jones Bliss and Archibald Campbell Dickey uncovered some of its steps in the 1890s.
It was later excavated by British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon during the 1960s.
The Pool was finally exposed after some of its steps were revealed during infrastructure works carried out by the Hagihon water company in 2004.
Authorities disclosed that visitors will be able to observe the archaeological excavations at the beginning, before the Pool gets completely open for tourist access in the coming months.
Mayor of Jerusalem Moshe Lion, praised the beginning of the project and said: “The Pool of Siloam in the City of David National Park in Jerusalem, is a site of historic, national and international significance.
“After many years of anticipation, we will soon merit being able to uncover this important site and make it accessible to the millions of visitors visiting Jerusalem each year.”
The announcement of the project was met with left-wing claims that excavations were part of a right-wing Jewish campaign aiming to take control over certain politically sensitive parts of East Jerusalem currently inhabited by Palestinians.