What is the Pool of Siloam mentioned in the Bible? What do we know about it?
The Pool of Siloam appears in one place in the Old Testament and two places in the New Testament: John 9:7 and 11. The pool is significant because John 9:1-12 tells us about a man who was born blind at birth and was miraculously healed by Jesus Christ at this location. The purpose of the account is to teach us that Jesus is God who has authority and power to heal. A secondary purpose of telling us about this event is to teach us that illness and disease is not always due to one’s personal sin. It is often due to the fact that we live in a fallen world riddled with sin and evil.
The first time the Pool of Siloam is mentioned in the gospels is John 9:7.
He smeared the mud on the blind man’s eyes and said to him, “Go wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated “sent”). So the blind man went away and washed, and came back seeing. John 9:6b-7 (NASB)
Meaning and Significance of the Pool of Siloam
The gospel of John gives us the meaning of the word “siloam” as being “sent.” The Greek word is Σιλωάμ. A fuller explanation of the word is provided by Thayer as “a sending out, gushing forth’ (of water).” The meaning of Siloam suggests that the water was gushing or being sent into the pool. The pool itself has no spiritual meaning. But the reference to the pool in the account of the blind man who was healed demonstrates that the gospels are historical. The New Testament refers to actual historical individuals: Herod the Great (Matthew 2:1), Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 3:7), Pontius Pilate (Mathew 27:2), Caesar Augustus and Quirinius (Luke 2:1-2), King Agrippa and Bernice (Acts 25:13) and Herod Antipas (Revelation 2:13). It refers to actual historical cities and locations and the Pool of Siloam is one example of a historical location. This gives historical credibility to the gospels. It is not full of myths as some atheists are passionate to claim.
Historical Overview of the Pool of Siloam
The pool first appears in 2 Kings 20:20.
The rest of the events of Hezekiah’s reign and all his accomplishments, including how he built a pool and conduit to bring water into the city, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Judah. 2 Kings 20:20 (NASB)
The conduit referred to in verse 20 was a tunnel that brought water from the Gihon Spring into this pool. The pool was located within the walls of Jerusalem. Historical records by Flavius Josephus help us understand 2 Kings 20:20. According to Josephus the Pool of Siloam was located in the southeast corner of the wall of Jerusalem at a turn.
Historically, the pool that was considered the Pool of Siloam is actually an upper pool. In 2004 another pool, a lower pool, was found and it is believed to be the actual Pool of Siloam. Biblical Archaeology reports,
Traditionally, the Christian site of the Siloam Pool was the pool and church that were built by the Byzantine empress Eudocia (c. 400–460 A.D.) to commemorate the miracle recounted in the New Testament. However, the exact location of the original pool as it existed during the time of Jesus remained a mystery until June 2004.
The pool that was found in 2004 is,
. . . 225 feet long, with corners that are slightly greater than 90 degrees, indicating a trapezoidal shape, with the widening end oriented toward Tyropoeon valley.”
Location of the Pool of Siloam
A map showing the general location of the pools is provided below by a public domain historical map.
The Pool of Siloam is important in the account of the blind man who was healed by Jesus. The pool was not small but was in fact so large that a man could step down into it. The blind man may have washed his entire body or just face and eyes. The blind man responded in obedience to Christ and as a result he could see. The Light of the World sent to the world to heal and save. In John 9 He gave sight to a man who had never seen light. It reminds us that Jesus is the Light of the World and He forgives the sins of those who believe in Him and trust Him to forgive them. Are you searching and seeking God so that you can be a Christian and go to heaven?
1. Joseph Henry Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Being Grimm’s Wilke’s Clavis Novi Testamenti. Christians Copyrights. 1983, 575.
2. Flavius Josephus, Wars of the Jews. Book 5, 140–145
3. Biblical Archaeology (www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-sites-places/biblical-archaeology-sites/the-siloam-pool-where-jesus-healed-the-blind-man/)
4. The Siloam Pool: Where Jesus Healed the Blind Man. (www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-sites-places/biblical-archaeology-sites/the-siloam-pool-where-jesus-healed-the-blind-man/)
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