Bethesda And Its Miracle -- By: James M. Macdonald

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 027:105 (Jan 1870)
Article: Bethesda And Its Miracle
Author: James M. Macdonald


Bethesda And Its Miracle1

Rev. James M. Macdonald

There is no better example of the great value of the “Researches in Palestine,” of the late Dr. Robinson, than in those made by him in connection with the Pool of Siloam. It was the first object that attracted his attention on arriving at Jerusalem.

Leaving the high level part of Zion, not included within the walls of the modern city, where the Christian cemeteries are located, he proceeded eastward along the southern wall of the city, and, passing by the Zion gate, descended along the slope towards the valley of the Tyropœon, or Cheese-makers. Entering a path which soon left the wall, he descended obliquely down the slope southeast, in the direction of Siloam. In this part the Tyropœon forms a deep

ravine with banks almost precipitous. At its lower end it opens into the vale of Kidron. Here, still within the Tyropœon, is the Pool of Siloam, a small, deep reservoir in the form of a parallelogram, into which the water flows from under the rocks out of a smaller basin, hewn in the solid rock, a few feet further up. This is wholly an artificial work; and the water comes to it through a subterraneous channel from the fountain of the Virgin, or the fountain of Mary, so called, situated at a point above in the valley of Jehoshaphat. The ridge or hill Ophel lies here, between the Tyropœon and the valley of Jehoshaphat, and ends just over the Pool of Siloam in a steep point of rock forty or fifty feet high. Along the base of this the water is conducted from the pool in a small channel hewn in the rocky bottom, and is then led off to irrigate gardens of fig and other fruit-trees and plants lying in terraces quite down to the bottom of the valley of Jehoshaphat; a descent still of some forty or fifty feet.2

He now passed up the valley of Jehoshaphat, which is here narrow, and the sides high and steep. On the right, clinging to the rocky sides of the Mount of Offence, are the hovels of the straggling village of Siloam, many of which are built before caves, or rather excavated sepulchres; in many cases the sepulchres themselves being used as dwellings. A little further up the valley, under the opposite or western hill, is the Fountain of the Virgin, a deep excavation in the solid rock, evidently artificial, into which one descends by two successive flights of steps. The water is apparently brought hither by some unknown and perhaps artificial channel, and flows off through a subterraneous passage under the hill Ophel to the Pool of Siloam. Above this fountain the valley becomes very narrow. It is everywhere only a watercourse be...

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