Discovering the Water Systems of the City of David in Jerusalem

The Jerusalem Post has an article called “Mythical Water Pipe Discovered”. In the accompanying video, tour guide Danny Herman explains the various components of the water system in the City of David and how it developed over the ages. If you haven’t been in the City of David for a while, you may find this video interesting.

Over the last 150 years or so, researchers have attempted to understand the water systems in Jerusalem and the City of David in particular. During the 19th Century, illustrious researchers, such as Wilson, Warren, Conder, Schick, Weill and others have discovered and recorded parts of underground water channels and tunnels, which were all connected with the Gihon Spring in one way or another. The discovery of a vertical shaft from inside the so-called Hezekiah’s Tunnel by Charles Warren, has since 1878 been identified with the ‘tsinnor’ by which Joab presumably climbed into the City of the Jebusites, so that David could capture it, according to the account in 2 Sam. 5. This has now been discounted by the latest excavators.

The Siloam Pool and Reservoir at the southern end of the City of David. © Leen Ritmeyer

The first scientific recording of this water system in the 20th Century was done by Vincent, who accompanied the Parker Mission in 1911. He published very valuable plans and sections in ‘Jerusalem Sous Terre’ (1912). Later researchers, such as Kathleen Kenyon and Yigal Shiloh did further exploration of these tunnels and channels, but the most extensive research was done from the end of the 20th Century up till now by Ronnie Reich and Eli Shukron. Despite all their investigations, it is not altogether clear how all the different channels, pools and reservoirs work together, but we are a lot closer to understanding the water systems now than ever before.

 

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