The Water of Jerusalem

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Since the earliest of times, water served as a primary consideration when deciding upon the location of a city. It was a very important part of life and everyone needed it. That why Jerusalem had to have water near it. Evan today the water is a necessary thing to live by. The Gihon spring served as the primary source of water for Biblical Jerusalem. From the fountainhead of the spring, a number of waterworks were built throughout the Judean period, to transport the Gihon waters and to safeguard access to the city's water source. These included the Shiloah Tunnel, which ran outside the city, and the Hezekiah Tunnel, which took a very twisted pathway, inside the mountain itself. It was apparently built along a crack in the bedrock, much as was Warren's Shaft. The Shiloah tunnel was dug along the hill, from the spring southward to the outskirts of the city. It was apparently was meant to be used as an irrigation system. On the east wall of the tunnel there are "windows" that were usually blocked with stone closures. The interior of the tunnel could be blocked with these stones in order to raise the water level to the edge of the "window." The stone closures were then removed, and the water would flow eastward to the farming area that needed irrigation. The period in which this project was built is not clear. Many suggest that it is from the time of Solomon, because there was peace during his reign, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem could afford to maintain an unguarded water system.Southeast of the city is an area called "The King's Gardens", which was irrigated by the waters of the Shiloah pool. Even today it is the most fertile place in this section of the Kidron Brook. We can assume that one of the main economic endeavors in Jerusalem was agriculture. The agricultural lands were most probably outside of the city, near the beds of the brooks and wadis, where more water could be found Southeast of the city is an area called "The King's Gardens", which was irrigated by the waters of the Shilo pool. Even today it is the most fertile place in this section the Kidron Brook. We can assume that one of the main economic endeavors in Jerusalem was agriculture. The agricultural lands were most probably outside of the city, near the beds of the brooks and wadis, where more water could be found. The most magnificent waterworks of ancient Jerusalem is Hezekiah's Tunnel. The tunnel is hewn inside the hill in order to protect the access to water from enemies. It channels the water from the Gihon fountainhead to the Shiloah pool, which was within the new walls of the city built by Hezekiah. King Hezekiah built the tunnel in preparation for the Assyrian siege: "This same Hezekiah also stopped the upper watercourse of Gihon, and brought it straight down to the west side of the city of David." (Chronicles II, 32; 30) The external entrance to the Gihon spring was hidden: "... and many people gathered together, and they stopped up all of the fountains" (Chronicles II, 32; 4). Then the waters of the Gihon were channeled through the tunnel to the Shiloah Pool, also built by Hezekiah (Kings II, 20; 20). The pool was located outside the original fortifications of the City of David (Chronicles II, 32; 30), but within the wall that Hezekiah had built. This is the main reason for their construction of the southern part of the wall. Since the earliest of times, water served as a primary consideration when deciding upon the location of a city. It was a very important part of life and everyone needed it. That why Jerusalem had to have water near it. Evan today the water is a necessary thing to live by. The Gihon spring served as the primary source of water for Biblical Jerusalem. From the fountainhead of the spring, a number of waterworks were built throughout the Judean period, to transport the Gihon waters and to safeguard access to the city's water source. These included the Shiloah Tunnel, which ran outside the city, and the Hezekiah Tunnel, which took a very twisted pathway, inside the mountain itself. It was apparently built along a crack in the bedrock, much as was Warren's Shaft. The Shiloah tunnel was dug along the hill, from the spring southward to the outskirts of the city. It was apparently was meant to be used as an irrigation system. On the east wall of the tunnel there are "windows" that were usually blocked with stone closures. The interior of the tunnel could be blocked with these stones in order to raise the water level to the edge of the "window." The stone closures were then removed, and the water would flow eastward to the farming area that needed irrigation. The period in which this project was built is not clear. Many suggest that it is from the time of Solomon, because there was peace during his reign, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem could afford to maintain an unguarded water system.Southeast of the city is an area called "The King's Gardens", which was irrigated by the waters of the Shiloah pool. Even today it is the most fertile place in this section of the Kidron Brook. We can assume that one of the main economic endeavors in Jerusalem was agriculture. The agricultural lands were most probably outside of the city, near the beds of the brooks and wadis, where more water could be found Southeast of the city is an area called "The King's Gardens", which was irrigated by the waters of the Shilo pool. Even today it is the most fertile place in this section the Kidron Brook. We can assume that one of the main economic endeavors in Jerusalem was agriculture. The agricultural lands were most probably outside of the city, near the beds of the brooks and wadis, where more water could be found. The most magnificent waterworks of ancient Jerusalem is Hezekiah's Tunnel. The tunnel is hewn inside the hill in order to protect the access to water from enemies. It channels the water from the Gihon fountainhead to the Shiloah pool, which was within the new walls of the city built by Hezekiah. King Hezekiah built the tunnel in preparation for the Assyrian siege: "This same Hezekiah also stopped the upper watercourse of Gihon, and brought it straight down to the west side of the city of David." (Chronicles II, 32; 30) The external entrance to the Gihon spring was hidden: "... and many people gathered together, and they stopped up all of the fountains" (Chronicles II, 32; 4). Then the waters of the Gihon were channeled through the tunnel to the Shiloah Pool, also built by Hezekiah (Kings II, 20; 20). The pool was located outside the original fortifications of the City of David (Chronicles II, 32; 30), but within the wall that Hezekiah had built. This is the main reason for their construction of the southern part of the wall.

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