Raiders of the Lost Pool

New finds bolster the historicity of John's Gospel.

The Pool of Siloam, considered a metaphor in John's Gospel by some New Testament scholars, was in fact a huge basin at the lowest point in the city of Jerusalem. Recent excavations have uncovered two corners and one side of the pool that stretched for half the length of a football field.

"It's very exciting," James Charlesworth, a professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary, told CT. "It's very important for the study of the New Testament."

Some Johannine experts have suggested the story in John 9 of the blind man whom Jesus healed and told to wash in the Pool of Siloam wasn't much more than a metaphor.

"To dismiss John as not historically important is absurd," Charlesworth said. "Now it becomes clear that the Gospel of John does have reliable historical information. We have found there is such a pool, precisely as John describes it."

Tradition has always located the Pool of Siloam near the end of Hezekiah's water tunnel, which dates to the eighth century B.C. The pool under excavation is just a few yards from a much smaller Byzantine-era pool that visitors to the area had been calling the Pool of Siloam.

Several digs have been going on in the City of David area, the oldest part of Jerusalem. The narrow 10-acre ridge of land stretches from the Temple Mount down to the junction of the Kidron and Hinnom valleys.

Elsewhere in Jerusalem, Israeli archaeologist Eilat Mazar has discovered large foundation stones of a monumental building in an excavation that began earlier this year. Pottery shards found in one room date to the Iron Age II period, the 10th-9th century B.C., the time of David and Solomon. Underneath the building she found Iron Age I pottery, dating to just before the time of David.

Mazar believes she has ...

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