Healing of the man born blind




Use your own words to offer this meditation to God.

Bible reading

Read John 9.

Background information/commentary

The traditional Pool of Siloam

For some centuries people have visited what was thought to be the location of the Pool of Siloam where Jesus sent the blind man.  The pool is in the southeast corner of Jerusalem.  In the 19th century the pool was found to be connected with a long water tunnel that ran to the Gihon Spring.  The tunnel was identified as Hezekiah’s tunnel.  It is about 1,800ft (554m) long. (1)

Hezekiah’s tunnel

King Hezekiah ruled the Southern Kingdom of Judah from 715 – 686 BC (2) and the capital of his tiny kingdom was Jerusalem.  The neighbouring Assyrian King was bent on conquest and Jerusalem had a major strategic weak spot: its water supply.  Its only source was the Gihon Spring and as this lay outside the city walls there was always the danger that an invader would disrupt the city’s water supply making resistance impossible.

Hezekiah’s brilliant solution was to have a tunnel cut in the rock which channelled the spring water from its source to a pool inside the city walls.  His astonishing feat is recorded in the Old Testament, “…King Sennacherib of Assyria came and invaded Judah and encamped against the fortified cities, thinking to win them for himself.  When Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come and intended to fight against Jerusalem, he planned with his officers and his warriors to stop the flow of the springs that were outside the city…A great many people were gathered, and they stopped all the springs…”.  “This same Hezekiah closed the upper outlet of the waters of Gihon and directed them down to the west side of the city of David” (NRSV, 2 Chronicles 32:1-4, 30).  (See also 2 Kings 20:20).

In Hezekiah’s tunnel was found an inscription carved in the wall to commemorate completion of the project.  It records that one team excavated the tunnel from the east and the other team from the west.  At last they could hear the sound of each others’ voices and finally the two teams met.  The style of the script fits the period of Hezekiah (8th century BC) (3) and carbon 14 dates the wood, coal and ash found in the plaster of the tunnel to the 8th century BC.  This date is confirmed by tests on uranium and thorium in the tunnel’s stalactites. (4)

Prev Next »