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The Pool of Siloam by Hugo McCord

Updated: Mar 26, 2019

In Jerusalem in May of 1971, I walked through a dark tunnel in gently moving loin-deep water coming from "the waters of Gihon" (II Chr. 32:30), a spring at the foot of Mt. Ophel's eastern side. My exit was at the foot of Mt. Ophel's western side, where the waters form the Pool of Siloam. I jogged back wet to my hotel room, but I was thrilled!

Hezekiah and the Pool - Hezekiah, the son of Ahaz, reigned as king over Judah 29 years, 727-698 B.C. (II Kgs. 18:1-2). The spring called "Gihon" was outside Jerusalem, and Hezekiah wanted the waters of the spring inside the city so that in the event of an army attacking Jerusalem, Hezekiah asked, "Why should the kings of the Assyrians come, and find much water?" (II Chr. 32:4) So Hezekiah "fortified his city, and brought water into the midst thereof by digging "rock with iron, and made a well for water" (Ecclesiasticus 48:1 9). His workmen, with iron tools, hewed out from the lime stone a tunnel clear through Mt. Ophel. Then they "stopped the upper spring of the waters of Gihon" (II Chr. 32:30), "and brought water into the city" (II Kgs. 20:20). There the waters were dammed to form the Pool of Siloam.

The above record of the formation of the Pool of Siloam, though very clear in the Old Testament and in the apocryphal book ECCLESIASTICUS, was not mentioned by secular historians for some 2500 years. But in 1880 an Arabian lad, playing in the pool, noticed on the north side an opening into Mt. Ophel. His spreading the news of a tunnel brought scholars with torches, and they quickly found writing on the tunnel wall. They cleaned the letters with acid, made squeezes, and soon scholarly eyes were amazed at finding Hebrew letters of the 8th century B.C. They were convinced that this was the conduit, the aqueduct, through which Hezekiah had brought "the waters of Gihon, straight down" into "the city of David" (II Chr. 32:30). Apparently an excited eyewitness wrote on the tunnel wall that "on the day of the boring through ... there flowed the waters to the pool for a thousand and two hundred cubits" ( J. McKee Adams, ANCIENT RECORDS AND THE BIBLE, p. 203). The "actual measured distance is 1,740 feet" (ibid).

Jesus and the Pool - To this day, tourists in Jerusalem are shown the Pool of Siloam. Jesus spread a patty of mud on the eyes of a blind man, and said, "Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam" (John 9:7). Somehow the blind man found the pool, washed his eyes, and was "able to see" (John 9:7). No one thinks that there was any power in the water to make the blind man able to see. Similarly, there is no power in the water of baptism to wash sins away. If water had such power, Jesus was foolish to die to wash sins away with his blood (Matthew 26:28; Revelation 7:14). The blind man would have stayed blind if he had refused to wash his eyes in the water of the Pool of Siloam. Similarly, the "chief of sinners" would have stayed guilty if he had refused to be baptized to "wash away" his "sins" (I Timothy 1:26; Acts 22:16).

The above article, written years ago by brother Hugo McCord, draws history, the Bible and the lands of the Bible together in a powerful way. An ancient king of the Hebrew people cut a hole in the rock underneath the city of Jerusalem. Although he is long gone, the results can still be observed these many years since. The greatest work of Jesus was not to cause men to see physically, but to help them see spiritually. The power and testimony of the New Testament is that God worked through those who lived long ago to bring us a message of eternal life that is unchanged.

- Tim Orbison


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