Archaeologists in Israel announced this week that the site where Jesus Christ healed a blind man by the Pool of Siloam will be excavated and made open to the public for the first time.
On Tuesday, the Israel National Parks Authority, the Israel Antiquities Authority and the City of David Foundation announced the excavation of the Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem.
“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 expectation, we will soon begin uncovering this important site and make it accessible to the millions of visitors and tourists who visit Jerusalem every year,” said Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion in a statement.
Tourists will be able to view the excavation of the holy site and will be able to access the pool within a few months. In doing so, they will be able to travel in the footsteps that the pilgrims took when they purified themselves in the pool before entering the Holy Temple. Visitors will begin the route at the southernmost point of the City of David and finish at the Western Wall.
“Due to its importance, the Pool of Siloam was renovated and expanded in the late Second Temple period, some 2,000 years ago,” the IAA’s announcement explains.
“It is believed that at this time, the pool served as a ‘mikveh,’ a ritual bath, for the thousands of pilgrims who converged at the Pool of Siloam before ascending via the City of David to the Temple.”
The Pool of Siloam was built some 2,700 years ago, in the eighth century B.C., during King Hezekiah’s reign. Hezekiah is attributed to having “brought water to the city” in 2 Kings 20:20.
The site served as a reservoir for gathering water from the Gihon Spring and delivering water to the city through an underground tunnel, The Christian Post reports.
The pool of Siloam is best known as the site where Jesus healed a blind man in John 9:1-7. In the passage, the Lord spat on the ground and created mud using His own saliva. He then applied the mud to the blind man’s eyes, and he was healed after washing in the Pool of Siloam.
“‘Go,’ he told him, ‘wash in the Pool of Siloam’ (this word means ‘Sent’). So, the man went and washed, and came home seeing,” verse 7 reads.
In the 1890s, a group of British-American archaeologists uncovered some of the pool’s steps, while British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon excavated the Pool of Siloam in the 1960s.
According to the IAA, some of the pool’s steps were uncovered by the Jerusalem Gihon Water Company while doing some infrastructure work.
The recent excavation of the site is led by Prof. Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron, as the IAA uncovered the pool’s northern side and some of the eastern side. This is the first time the entire pool of Siloam will be exposed.