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THE FOUNTAIN OF SILOAM.
of the opposite village gained access to the city by means of the conduit of this pool, which again rises to the surface at a well placed within the enclosure of the Mosque of Omar. Dr. Richardson conjectured that this subterranean passage proceeded under the mountain, but until now no proof could be given of its doing so, nor was it known to travellers that it communicated with the interior of the city. The passage is evidently the work of art. The water in it is generally about two feet deep, and a man may go through it in a stooping position. May it not have been so constructed by the ancient inhabitants for a sally-port, or secret outlet from the temple ? for it cannot have been made to conduct the water from the fountain into the city, inasmuch as it is lower than that point, and the stream flows down from it. The descriptions given of this remarkable well, both in the Scriptures and by Josephus and the early writers on the localities of the Holy City, and the position which it holds with regard to the ancient walls—as I have shown in the preceding part of this volume when treating of the topography-leave little doubt upon my mind regarding its identity. I do not think that it is connected with or receives its supply from the aqueduct that brings the water from the cisterns of Solomon, to be noticed hereafter, especially as that water is tasteless; whereas this is a mineral spring of a brackish taste, and somewhat of the smell of Harrogate water, but in a very slight degree.*
It is said to possess considerable medicinal properties; and is much frequented by pilgrims. The remains of a church surround the vault at the top; and by the Latin fathers it is called the “ Fountain of the Blessed Virgin,” from the supposition that she washed the linen of our Lord in its sacred waters.t
* I brought home a jar of this water, and am informed by Professor Kane, who has analysed it, that it is a strongly saline and sulphureous spring, whose specific gravity is 1003,5; that it contains much common salt, some carbonate and sulphate of lime, a trace of muriate of magnesia, together with a quantity of sulphureted hydrogen gas.
+ An apparent contradiction and discrepàncy is evident in the works of the early writers with regard to this upper fountain of Siloam. It is quite evident that the localities of the two reservoirs of water, which bear the name of Siloam, have been confounded. Dr. Robinson quotes at great length all these authorities, and inclines to the belief that this well or foun
THE LOWER POOL OF SILOAM.
Continuing our course round the probable line of the ancient walls, along the gentle slope of Sion, we pass by the site of the King's gardens, and arrive at the Lower Pool of Siloam, placed in another indentation of the wall, at the southern extremity of Sion. It is a deep square cistern, lined with masonry, adorned with columns at the sides, and having a flight of steps leading to the bottom, in which there were about two feet of water. It communicates by a subterranean passage with the fountain just described, from which it is distant about six hundred yards. The water enters the pool by a low arched passage, into which the pilgrims, numbers of whom are generally to be found around it, put their heads as a part of the ceremony;* and wash their clothes in the purifying stream that issues from it.
A very remarkable circumstance is related of this pool and fountain :-It is reported that the water in them is subject to a daily tide ; and by some old writers (Jerome, for instance, in A.D. 333) it is stated to ebb and flow under lunar influence. I must confess that, on my first visits to the place, I was much astonished; for not only did I see the mark to which the recently fallen water had risen, but I also perceived that its height was greater at different times of the same day. Many ingenious
tain of the Virgin is not the Siloam of Scripture and Josephus; but independent of its being cut out of the solid rock, and bearing the evidence of much greater antiquity than that called the Lower Pool of Siloam-which is obviously of comparative modernness—we have the direct testimony of Josephus for stating it to be in the mouth or embrasure of the Tyropeon valley, where the eastern curves of Sion and Moriah divaricate. And Dr. Robinson himself, while he acknowledges the authority of the Jewish historian on this very point, has shown by his description of the remains of the ancient arch that spanned the Tyropæon, that this valley here emerged into that of Jehoshaphat; whereas the lower pool is wholly distinct from the Tyropæon and placed in the junction of Hinnom and Jehoshaphat, opposite the village of Siloa, and above the fountains of Nehemiah or En Rogel. The account of these fountains given by the American traveller is, however, most interesting and learned. The Doctor and his companion passed through the tunnel cut in the solid rock between the two fountains, and found it to measure 1750 feet.
* In Ireland a similar rite is observed by pilgrims, of putting their head into a hole at several of the stations; particularly at that curious old chapel on the summit of Croagh Patrick.
hypotheses and many learned arguments have been adduced to account for this extraordinary phenomenon; the wonder and admiration of the pilgrim and the traveller. I think, however, that it can be thus simply accounted for—The stream or outlet from the lower pool is conducted by artificial channels through the gardens or parterres that lie immediately beneath it in the valley; and it is the chief source of their fertility ; for as they are mostly formed of earth which has been carried from other places, they possess no original or natural soil capable of supporting vegetation. Now, immediately on the water-course leaving the pool, it is divided into numbers of small aqueducts, for the purpose of irrigating these different plots; but as there is little water in the pool during the dry season, the Arabs dam up the several streams, in order to collect a sufficient quantity in small ponds adjoining each garden ; and this they must all do at the same time, or there would be an unfair division of the fertilizing fluid. These dams are generally made in the evening, and the water is drawn off in the morning, or sometimes two or three times a day, and thus the reflux of the water which they hold, gives the appearance of an ebb and flow.
The surplus water is finally collected into a small stream that joins the brook Gihon, near its junction with the Kedron; but both these latter streams were dry during our visit. This lower pool is that mentioned by Josephus, under the name of “Solomon's pool ;” and by Nehemiah, as “ the pool that was made.”
We next turn into the valley of Hinnom, which is bounded on the north by the southern slopes of Sion, that are here cultivated and divided into olive yards and corn fields. A few caves and rock-carved vaults occur in this locality ; one in particular our guide pointed out to us as the cave where Peter hid himself after the denial of his Master. The south side of the valley is steep and rugged, and gradually rises into a hill having two summits ; both of which are, however, lower than that of Sion. The western of these elevations is of a remarkable conical shape, corresponding to the description given of it by the sacred historians. It has been called the Mount of Offence, because on it are supposed to have been erected the high places to Ashtoreth and Molech; which Clarke supposed he discovered in the remains of a cistern on the Mount of Olives. The locality is very likely to be that on which they were erected; for the valley im
GROTTOS IN THE VALLEY OF HINNOM.
mediately beneath it was long noted as a place desecrated by the idolatrous worship of Tophet and Molech. Sandys states that, from the church of the Arminians on Mount Sion, he “descended into the valley of Gehinnon, which divideth Mount Sion from the Mountain of Offence; so called, for that Solomon by the persuasion of his wives here sacrificed to Chamock and Molech ; but now by the Christians called the Mountain of Il Council, where they say the Pharisees took council against Jesus, whose height yet shows the relics of no mean buildings."
Toward the eastern extremity of this valley, and in the side of the hill that forms the eastern elevation of the Mountain of Offence, are the sepulchres of the sons of David, that I noticed before ; and also those discovered by Dr. Clarke. Among these there is one pointed out as the tomb of Isaiah, who, tradition says, was sawn asunder at the Oak Rogel, beside the well where Nehemiah is reported to have discovered the sacred fire on the return from the captivity, probably the En Rogel of the sacred writers. These places are pointed out near the spot where the watercourses of Gihon and Kedron unite in the neighbouring valley. There is here also another crypt called the cave of the apostles, on the walls of which are some remains of fresco, in a very tolerable state of preservation; and it is placed among those which contain the Greek inscriptions before alluded to, particularly that of the word “Sion.” I am inclined to think, however, that those sepulchral grottos, which contain paintings and Greek inscriptions, were used as small oratories or chapels during the times of persecution, some hundred years ago; and at a period subsequent to the establishment of the Greek church; for the style of the painting is undoubtedly that of the modern Grecian <a style whose peculiarities are so obvious and remarkable, as to prevent its being mistaken for any other; and the inscription, with a cross before it, is in all probability coeval with the date of of such use. These many-chambered sepulchres are all hewn out of the solid rock ; but they invariably correspond to the type of the eastern tomb, having horizontal benches for the bodies ranged along the sides.
At the foot of this hill, where it rises from the valley, is pointed out the Aceldama, or Field of Blood, said to be that
purchased by the Jewish priests with the thirty pieces of silver that Judas had received for betraying his Master, but which he after
THE FIELD OF BLOOD.
wards returned in remorse. The transaction is thus recorded by the evangelist :-“Then Judas which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, what is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, it is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took .counsel, and bought with them the potter's field to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called The Field of Blood, unto this day." (Matth. xxvii. 3—8.) This same transaction is thus noticed in the Acts of the Apostles—“Now this man (Judas) purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem ; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, * that is to say, The Field of Blood.”—(Acts, i. 18, 19.) This Field of Blood still retains its name, and is called in every language, and by every people within or about Jerusalem, Jews, Christians, and Mohammadans—Aceldama. It is not far distant from the stream of Gihon ; and at the period of our visit, there were still the marks and remains of bricks and pottery-ware in the adjoining ravine ; a place always likely to be used for their manufacture, as it contains the clay suited for such purposes, and was
*“ Aceldama—This proper tongue was not the Hebrew, for that had long ceased to be the proper tongue in Palestine ; it was a sort of Chaldaio. Syriac which was commonly spoken. The word in the Syriac version is Chacal-demo, and literally signifies the field of blood, because it was bought by the price of the life or blood of the Lord Jesus.”—Adam Clarke.
The same learned commentator thus reconciles the discrepancy of the account of the same transaction, given in Acts and in Matthew :-“ Probably Judas did not purchase the field himself, but the money for which he sold his Lord was thus applied. See Matt. xxvii. 6–8. It is possible, however, that he might have designed to purchase a field or piece of ground with this reward of his iniquity, and might have been in treaty for it, though he did not close the bargain, as his bringing the money to the treasury proves; the priests knowing his intention might have completed the purchase, and,