Ancient Jerusalem was a strong defensive position with a glaring weakness. The city was on a hill surrounded on three sides by steep valleys, but the water supply was a spring down at the bottom of the hill. During a siege, the residents needed safe, consistent access to the water in order to survive.
The most innovative solution to this problem came in the days of King Hezekiah, the late 8th-early-7th century king of Judah. His engineers carved a tunnel under the mountain, channeling the spring’s water to a pool inside the city walls. After blocking and camouflaging the spring’s outside entrance, Jerusalem had the water and the enemy did not. This made Jerusalem a much tougher nut to crack in wartime. The Bible briefly describes this project in 2 Kings 20:20 and 2 Chronicles 32:30.
Visitors can walk through the entire 1,750-foot tunnel today. Water from the Gihon Spring still flows through it as in ancient times. Flashlights are required (you can buy one at the site for about $1) and water shoes are recommended.
You can follow the adventure “Live” with this short video.
Here are a few things we found this weekend near the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City.