« PreviousContinue »
Gate, where they have their huts or dwellings. These miserable creatures intermarry and have children, thus transmitting and perpetuating their loathsome and mysterious disease.
Since the chief supply used in the Temple area is now derived from SOLOMON'S POOLS, as it was in his day, and doubtless has been ever since, with very few intermissions, as at sieges, etc., it will be interesting to give a short account of these pools. They are situated at Etham, eight miles from the city, southwest of Bethlehem.
The SEALED FOUNTAIN (mentioned in Canticles iv. 12) is a few rods above the pools, and is 30 feet under ground, in a rock-hewn room, containing a fine copious fountain, and an entrance room arched over and roughly walled; the work of Solomon. This is the main source of supply for the pools.
The water first flows into the upper pool (380 by 236 feet, and 25 feet deep); and then from that 160 feet to the second (423 by 250 feet, and 39 deep); and then 248 feet farther to the third (582 by 207 fect, and 50 deep), and from the last pool the water is conveyed by an aqueduct to Jerusalem.
All of these pools are built of large hewed stones, and are well lined with cement, with a rocky bottom in terraces. Broad flights of steps lead down into them. There are rooms under the lower pool, at its lower end, having walls and arches similar to those at the Sealed Fountain. These arches are in a good
state of preservation, key-stones and all, and are good evidences of the antiquity of the whole.
The aqueduct is made of cylinders of red pottery from 12 to 15 inches long by 8 to 10 inches in diameter, cemented and covered with earth over two feet. There are several places provided with stone open mouths, where the water can be dipped out. The valley of Hinnom is passed above the pool of Gihon on 10 arches (which are now almost covered with rubbish), and winding around Zion reaches the great pool at Jerusalem. (See Engv*) The water-supply of the city is not very abundant, nor of a very good quality; but anciently, before Hezekiah stopped the great fountains in Gihon, and when even the present sources were better cared for, there must have been plenty of good water. Nearly every house has now one or more cisterns for holding rain or spring
THE POOL OF SILOAM.
This is one of the most noted fountains about Jerusalem. The Saviour, having anointed the eyes of the blind man with a mixture of dust and spittle, said: "Go wash in the pool of Siloam," and he went and washed," and came seeing." Above this pool is the fountain of Siloam or Virgin fountain, from which the water flows to the pool of Siloam through a subterranean passage 1,750 feet in length, chiselled by the hand of man through the solid rock of Ophel! At the upper end of this pool is an old arched stairway, now tumbling into ruins, by which a descent Engraving in first part of the Book.
can be made to the mouth of the subterranean pas sage through which the water enters. Six ancient pillars of Jerusalem marble are embedded in a portion of the eastern wall of the pool, which, in connection with others that have now disappeared, once supported a roof over the pool.
THE UPPER POOL OF GIHON.
This pool is in the centre of the basin which constitutes the head of the valley of Hinnom, and is about 127 rods from the Jaffa Gate. It is 315 feet long, 208 feet wide, and 20 feet deep. This pool supplies the Hezekiah pool, just inside of the Jaffa Gate.
THE LOWER POOL OF GIHON
Is in the valley, nearly opposite the southwest angle of the city, and about 23 rods below the Jaffa Gate. It is 600 feet long, 260 feet broad, and 40 feet deep. These two pools are capable of holding water for many thousands of people. There are several notices of them in the Bible. The Prophet Isaiah was commanded by God to go forth and meet Ahaz "at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway in the Fullers' Field."
At the same place Rabshakeh stood when he delivered the royal message of his imperious master, the king of Assyria, to the messengers of Hezekiah (See Isa. xxxvi. 2 and 3.)