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Jn 9:6-11  [H]e spat on the ground and made some mud with the saliva. He smeared the mud on the blind man’s eyes 7 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. 8 Then the neighbors and the people who had seen him previously as a beggar began saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some people said, “This is the man!” while others said, “No, but he looks like him.” The man himself kept insisting, “I am the one!” 10 So they asked him, “How then were you made to see?” 11 He replied, “The man called Jesus made mud, smeared it on my eyes and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and was able to see.” (NET)  See also Isaiah 8:6 and Nehemiah 3:15.

Historically there have been three pools called Siloam.  The first was built by Hezekiah (it has not been discovered).  The second was the one that existed in Jesus’ day, built in the early 1st century BC.  The third was the site at which Empress Eudocia built a church in the 5th century.

While repairing a sewage pipe in Jerusalem in June 2004, workers discovered some stone steps.  Archaeologists Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron identified the stone steps as the Pool of Siloam that existed in the time of Christ.  The pool is ~225 feet long.  Each side consists of three groups of steps, each with five stairs.  The corners are greater than a 90 degree angle, indicating that the original structure was a trapezoid rather than a square.

Archaeologists are confident the pool was built in the 1st century BC because the workers who built it buried four coins of Alexander Jannaeus in the plaster (the steps were originally plastered, but in the second phase of construction they were overlaid with stone).  He was a Jewish king who ruled in Jerusalem from 103-76 BC.  Also, in the soil near the corner of the pool were buried 12 coins dating from the period of the Jewish revolt (AD 66-70), giving us an end-date for its use.  

The pool was lost for so long because it exists at the lowest point in Jerusalem.  Each year the winter rain would cause mud to flow down into the pool.  With no one to clean the mud out of the pool, it accumulated and eventually buried the pool.


  1. This find demonstrates that the author of John’s Gospel was familiar with pre-70 AD Palestine, lending credibility to his claim to be an eye-witness of events.