For years, some scholars have doubted the historical accuracy of the fourth Gospel. But a dip in the pool of Siloam will cure that.
The Gospel of John chapter nine tells the story of Jesus’ healing of a man born blind. After telling his disciples that the man’s blindness had nothing to do with either the man’s sins or those of his parents, Jesus applied mud to the man’s eyes and told him to wash it off at the Pool of Siloam.
Since at least the fifth century, Christians had identified a spot in Jerusalem as the Pool of Siloam and the site of the miracle. But it was not until a decade ago that archaeologists found what they are certain is the ancient pool of Siloam.
Like so many such finds, it was almost by accident. During construction work to repair a water pipe near the Temple Mount, Israeli archaeologists Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron found “two ancient stone steps.”
According to Biblical Archaeology Review, “Further excavation revealed that they were part of a monumental pool from the Second Temple period, the period in which Jesus lived.” The pool was trapezoidal in shape and 225 feet long.
The Gospel of John isn’t the only book of the Bible being archaeologically verified in the immediate area. As the Review tells readers, “the origins of the Siloam Pool reach back even further in history—at least seven centuries before the time of Jesus.”
The pool was part of the preparations that King Hezekiah—the subject of a recent BreakPoint—made in anticipation of a siege by King Sennacherib of Assyria. According to 2 Chronicles 32, “it was Hezekiah who blocked the upper outlet of the Gihon spring and channeled the water down to the west side of the City of David.”
While the existence of such a tunnel has been known since the late 19th century, many scholars were hesitant to associate it with the one mentioned in 2 Chronicles. Reich’s and Shukron’s extensive excavation of the area has led them to conclude that the account in 2 Chronicles attributing it to Hezekiah is in fact correct.
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