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A look at water sources and waterworks of ancient jerusalem

The Letter of Aristeas gives us solid proof that the aqueduct was in full operation as early as 278 BC. This proves that the Hasmoneans 100 BC and Romans 18 BC were not the first builders of the water system, but mere renovators of an earlier design and build. This is good evidence that Solomon was in fact the original designer and builder of the water system from Etam to his Jerusalem temple.

The Gihon Spring is the only water source inside Jerusalem.

  • Level of the Israel Pool at the apex of the water level 716;
  • To get the water from the Solomon's Pools to Jerusalem a special aqueduct had to be built.

A system of 5 aqueducts that supplied water to Jerusalem and the temple has been discovered. A major water supply system started in the hill country that fed three large rectangular reservoirs in Etam known as "Solomon's pools". They vary in size, with the highest the smallest and the lowest the largest.

The lower pool is 582 feet long, 148 to 207 feet wide, and 50 feet deep. The small pool is also the most shallow, having a depth of only 15 feet. The estimated capacity of all three is about 40,000,000 gallons. Solomon may have originally dug one or all three pools at Etam and the first aqueduct to feed his new temple in Jerusalem.

He had on a white garment, and used to take his progress out of the city in the morning. There was a certain place, about fifty furlongs distant from Jerusalem, which is called Etam, very pleasant it is in fine gardens, and abounding in rivulets of water; thither did he use to go out in the morning, sitting on high [in his chariot]. Josephus, A ntiquities 8.

A look at water sources and waterworks of ancient jerusalem

Letter of Aristeas278-150 BC: The water aqueduct from Etam to the temple in Jerusalem is described in detail i.

The letter of Aristeas is a Pseudepigrapha, meaning that it was written by a real person who deceptively represented himself as an historic person, from an earlier time in history.

It would be like someone living today, composing a letter, dating it to 1864 AD and signing it Abraham Lincoln. In the same way the Jewish author of the Letter of Aristeas represents himself as Egyptian courtier living 100 years earlier. Now the letter was written in 150 AD, so clearly the aqueduct was in existence at that time, but since he was writing as if it was 285 BC, it means that the aqueduct was also surely in full operation then too.

So it is clear, that the aqueduct was in full operation as far back as 278 BC v. The next point in the narrative is an account of our journey to Eleazar, but I will first of all give you a description of the whole country.

When we arrived in the land of the Jews we saw the city situated 84 in the middle of the whole of Judea on the top of a mountain of considerable altitude. On the summit the temple had been built in all its splendour. It was surrounded by three walls more than seventy cubits high and in length and breadth corresponding to the structure of the edifice.

All the buildings 85 were characterized by a magnificence and costliness quite unprecedented. It was obvious that no expense had been spared on the door and the fastenings, which connected it with the door-posts, and 86 the stability of the lintel. The style of the curtain too was thoroughly in proportion to that of the entrance. Its fabric owing to the draught of wind was in perpetual motion, and as this motion was communicated from the bottom and the curtain bulged out to its highest extent, it afforded a pleasant 87 spectacle from which a man could scarcely tear himself away.

The construction of the altar was in keeping with the place itself and with the burnt offerings which were consumed by fire upon it, and the approach to it was on a similar scale. There was a gradual slope up to it, conveniently arranged for the purpose of decency, and the ministering priests were robed in linen garments, down to their 88 ankles. The Temple faces the east and its back is toward the west.

The whole of the floor is paved with stones and slopes down to the appointed places, that water may be conveyed to wash away the 89 blood from the sacrifices, for many thousand beasts are sacrificed there on the feast days. And there is an inexhaustible supply of water, because an abundant natural spring gushes up from within the temple area. There are moreover wonderful and indescribable cisterns underground, as they pointed out to me, at a distance of five furlongs all round the site of the temple, and each of them has countless pipes 90 so that the different streams converge together.

And all these were fastened with a look at water sources and waterworks of ancient jerusalem at the bottom and at the sidewalls, and over them a great quantity of plaster had been spread, and every part of the work had been most carefully carried out. There are many openings for water at the base of the altar which are invisible to all except to those who are engaged in the ministration, so that all the blood of the sacrifices which is collected in great quantities is washed away in the twinkling of an 91 eye.

Such is my opinion with regard to the character of the reservoirs and I will now show you how it was confirmed. They led me more than four furlongs outside the city and bade me peer down towards a certain spot and listen to the noise that was made by the meeting of the waters, so that the great size of the reservoirs became manifest to me, as has already been pointed out.

Written by Jew in 150 BC 4. There is another pool called "Solomon's pool" in Jerusalem that Josephus mentions: These pools or a single pool at Etam AND an aqueduct to feed the temple, may have been built by Solomon. While the archeology surrounding the "pools of Solomon" and the aqueducts dated to the Hasmonean and Early Roman Periods 100-10 BC it is very likely that these were remodeling and upgrading projects of older systems that may well have dated back to the time of Solomon.

Archeologists can verify Hasmonean and Roman involvement in the pools and aqueduct but this does not rule out the possibility that Solomon was the first builder.

In excavations the Byzantines would rebuild on older sites by scraping everything down to bedrock leaving little or no evidence of the previous occupation level. Its construction was meant to alleviate the water shortage that arose at that time in Jerusalem, since the springs and pools in the city were not sufficient for the needs of the growing population and the myriads of pilgrims visiting the Temple.

If you were going to upgrade, repair or replace on a look at water sources and waterworks of ancient jerusalem aqueduct, you would simply dig up the old one and since the sections cut in stone and basic level were already easy to follow. To argue that the three pools at Etam and the aqueduct do not date back to Solomon, overlooks the fact that after 900 years the aqueducts may have been replaced several time and all we find today are the last renovation project.

Wilson's Arch was an aqueduct: But the purpose of the bridge, as indicated by the aqueduct still running above it, was to convey water; it was not principally for human traffic. It was built by Herod the Great late in the first century B. From there water flows north through a channel, which can still be easily traced, directly to the Temple Mount for priestly use.

Not a single tributary channel leads off the main channel; every drop was reserved for priestly use on the Temple Mount. This gives some idea of the enormous amount of activity that occurred on the Temple Mount at that time. Israel Exploration Society, 1975pp. Pilate upgraded or built a new aqueduct from the Etam pools 40 km away: However the Jews were not pleased with what had been done about this water; and many ten thousands of the people got together, and made a clamor against him, and insisted that he should leave off that design.

Some of them also used reproaches, and abused the man, as crowds of such people usually do. Berachah can be translated: They are 150 feet distant from each other, and each pool is 20 feet lower than that above it, the conduits being so arranged that the lowest, which is the largest and finest of the three, is filled first, and then in succession the others.

It has been estimated that these pools cover in all a space of about 7 acres, and are capable of containing three million gallons of water. They were, a look at water sources and waterworks of ancient jerusalem is generally supposed, constructed in the days of Solomon. They are probably referred to in Eccles. On the fourth day after his victory over the Ammonites, etc.

  • By concentrating water in reservoirs on the other side of the city, the water supply could be regulated without having to rely on the erratic, overflowing waters of the Gihon Spring;
  • Remember that the temple site was first used as a threshing floor that David purchased from Ornan the Jebusite 1 Chronicles 21:

These pools were primarily designed to supply Jerusalem with water. From the lower pool an aqueduct has been traced conveying the water through Bethlehem and across the valley of Gihon, and along the west slope of the Tyropoeon valley, till it finds its way into the great cisterns underneath the temple hill.

The water, however, from the pools reaches now only to Bethlehem. The aqueduct beyond this has been destroyed. A 12km aqueduct from the Solomon's Pools in Etam to Jerusalem.

Solomon built a complex water aqueduct system from Hebron, through Bethlehem to Jerusalem in about 950 BC. Evidently this water system was incorporated as a major design of the Temple itself. Solomon knew that the Gihon spring in the city of David did not have enough "head" water pressure or lift to supply the Temple above. Water would be a major need to wash the blood away and keep the area from putrefying. A large water supply would be needed. Solomon's pools are about 12 km south east of the Jerusalem.

The water conduit that supplied the temple in Jerusalem began in the area of the Hebron mountains, passed through Solomon's Pools at Etam, near Bethlehem, and flowed to Jerusalem.

Here is an photo of the three pools Solomon built as holding tanks for the water that was collected from the Hebron mountains upstream: To get the water from the Solomon's Pools to Jerusalem a special aqueduct had to be built.

Here are two photos of that aqueduct. One is actually looking inside a portion of the aqueduct that is still buried where Solomon built it. The second photo is of two rock carved sections of Solomon's aqueduct in the Rockefeller Museum today. The individual sections were buried then sealed so they were water tight. This way they could actually create a siphon that would traverse down the valleys and back up again.

In the second century A. Stone pipe sections of this aqueduct, called the Upper Aqueduct to distinguish it from the Low Level Aqueduct built earlier by the Hasmoneans, originally covered over a mile of the journey to Jerusalem; they survive only in a few segments.

The use of a sealed siphon system is like a water hose.

  1. In the Salt Chamber they put the salt for the offerings; in the Parwah Chamber they salted the hides of the animal-offerings, and on its roof was the place of immersion for the High Priest on the Day of Atonement.
  2. The letter of Aristeas is a Pseudepigrapha, meaning that it was written by a real person who deceptively represented himself as an historic person, from an earlier time in history.
  3. Early jerusalem's water systems when you look at the photo of the corridor from only hezekiah is credited by the written sources with waterworks in jerusalem.

Lets say you want to drain your above ground swimming pool in your back yard. You stick the one end of the hose in the pool and the other on the ground. The net different of "head" is determined by the height difference between the level of the water in the pool and where the water leaves the hose.

As you lift the hose from the ground to the top of the water in the pool, the water flow rate diminishes, then stops when there is no difference in elevation. Municipal water towers use exactly the same principle are only used when there is a power failure and the electric pumps cannot create the water pressure. In the event of a power failure, they immediately start drawing water from the water tower, which because it is 100 feet in the air, creates enough water pressure head to makes the taps flow until the electric power is restored.

In this way they could get water all the way from just north of Bethlehem about 10 miles to Jerusalem to supply the Temple with all the water it needed to wash away the blood from the sacrifices. Here is a section of that water conduit that can be seen near Solomon's Pools that feeds water from Ein Arrub Springs near Hebron: According to the ancient authorities, the this aqueduct supplied water to the High Priests' mikveh ritual bath located above the Water Gate, and it also supplied water for the rinsing of the blood off the Azarah.

Solomon's water system would supply this. We can see that there was significant potential water pressure with 21 meters of gross head at the highest point of the temple mount. The level at Solomon's Pools near Bethlehem is 765 meters above sea level. The level at the top of the Rock under the Dome is 744 meters.