Studium Theologicum Salesianum
Salesian Pontifical University : Faculty of Theology - Jerusalem Campus

Topographical Visit to the City of David, Hezekiah’s Tunnel,
Pool of Siloam


23 March 2017 STS-Jerusalem
 Sr. ZHANG Hai Yun (Theresa) & LANGAN John Gerard
March 24, 2017

On Thursday March 23rd 2017, the first year students from STS, along with Fr. Gustavo Cavagnari, SDB, were led by our professor Fr. Paul Vonck on a Topographical Visit. We gathered at the Dung gate early in the morning and then made our way down to the City of David.
The City of David is the oldest part of Jerusalem and is located on the Ophel Ridge between two valleys, the Kidron and the Tyropoeon. The Jebusites lived within the city walls until David came to the city around 1000 BC. When David arrived at the city, the Jebusites said to David: “you will not get in here, even the blind and the lame can ward you off” (2 Sam 5:6).  However, it is believed that David and his men snuck through the water tunnels and conquered the city from within. David built up the city, including a palace for himself. Today there are two main structures at the top of the city that are called LSS, or Large Stone Structure, and SSS, or Step Stone Structure. The SSS is a series of steps, walls, and rooms built on the side of the hill believed to function as a retaining wall for the hill itself. The LSS is situated just above the SSS and is believed to be the remains of King David’s Palace, due to the intricate stonework and large number of seals used for official documents found there.
We continued down the hill and entered the water system of the City of David. This system of the city is fed by Gihon Spring; an impressive tunnel system was discovered by an English Archeologist named Sir Charles Warren.  The main water shaft is named Hezekiah’s tunnel because it was built by command of King Hezekiah when he recognized the need to maintain a water supply in times of siege. The tunnel runs from Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam and is 538 meters long. Thanks in large part to the water supply, when the King of the Assyrians, Sennacherib, attacked the city, he was not able to breach the walls.
At the end of Hezekiah’s tunnel lies the pool of Siloam, which was also protected by the immense city walls. The original pool has not been fully excavated yet, but this is the location where Jesus healed the blind man, “The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went there and washed and was able to see” (John 9:11). At this point, Fr. Vonck read the entire account from John 9 and led us all in a prayer.
Finally, we ascended from the Kidron valley by walking up the Jerusalem Pilgrim Road, a path used during the second temple period for those who washed in the pool of Siloam and then proceeded up to the temple to participate in the rituals.

All in all, it was an exciting and educational experience to walk these ancient locations and we are very grateful for Fr. Vonck’s generosity in sharing his knowledge and passion for the history of Jerusalem.





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