The Jerusalem Water Aqueduct 12km from the Solomon's Pools:

  1. Solomon built a complex water aqueduct system from Hebron, through Bethlehem to Jerusalem in about 950 BC. Evidently this water system was incorporated as a major design of the Temple itself. Solomon knew that the Gihon spring in the city of David did not have enough "head" (water pressure or lift) to supply the Temple above. Water would be a major need to wash the blood away and keep the area from putrefying. A large water supply would be needed. Solomon's pools are about 12 km south east of the Jerusalem.
    Click to View
  2. The water conduit that supplied the temple in Jerusalem began in the area of the Hebron mountains, passed through Solomon's Pools at Etam, near Bethlehem, and flowed to Jerusalem. Here is an photo of the three pools Solomon built as holding tanks for the water that was collected from the Hebron mountains upstream:
    Click to View
  3. To get the water from the Solomon's Pools to Jerusalem a special aqueduct had to be built. Here are two photos of that aqueduct. One is actually looking inside a portion of the aqueduct that is still buried where Solomon built it. The second photo is of two rock carved sections of Solomon's aqueduct in the Rockefeller Museum today. The individual sections were buried then sealed so they were water tight. This way they could actually create a siphon that would traverse down the valleys and back up again.
    Click to ViewClick to View
  4. The use of a sealed siphon system is like a water hose. Lets say you want to drain your above ground swimming pool in your back yard. You stick the one end of the hose in the pool and the other on the ground. The net different of "head" is determined by the height difference between the level of the water in the pool and where the water leaves the hose. As you lift the hose from the ground to the top of the water in the pool, the water flow rate diminishes, then stops when there is no difference in elevation. Municipal water towers use exactly the same principle are only used when there is a power failure and the electric pumps cannot create the water pressure. In the event of a power failure, they immediately start drawing water from the water tower, which because it is 100 feet in the air, creates enough water pressure (head) to makes the taps flow until the electric power is restored. It doesn't matter how high or low the water hose is in the middle, as long as the place the water comes out is lower than where the water enters. In this way they could get water all the way from just north of Bethlehem about 10 miles to Jerusalem to supply the Temple with all the water it needed to wash away the blood from the sacrifices. Here is a section of that water conduit that can be seen near Solomon's Pools that feeds water from Ein Arrub Springs near Hebron:
    Click to View
  5. The lowest of two aqueducts reached the Temple Mount through the Jewish Quarter and the Wilson Bridge. According to the ancient authorities, the this aqueduct supplied water to the High Priests' mikveh (ritual bath) located above the Water Gate, and it also supplied water for the rinsing of the blood off the Azarah. Solomon's water system would supply this. We can see that there was significant potential water pressure with 21 meters of gross head at the highest point of the temple mount. The level at Solomon's Pools near Bethlehem is 765 meters above sea level. The level at the top of the Rock under the Dome is 744 meters. We know Solomon used a sealed conduit system, so we know there was ample water pressure to supply lots of water to the temple mount based on the laws of physics including a friction loss calculation. Its really that simple. Imagine a water tower installed on the temple platform that is 21 meters (69 feet) in the air. This would give excellent water pressure. Could it be that the Dome of the Rock is Solomon's old water tower rebuilt by the Muslims?!
    Click to View
  6. "Living water" non biblical: The idea that the temple area must be washed with "Living water," (from a spring) rather than from a cistern is not biblical. However later manmade traditions and rules were added to the law of Moses that were incorporated into temple worship. God doesn't care if the water is from a spring or from pots carried on people's heads. If He did care, God would have told us in the Bible and He didn't! When Jesus was falsely accused of uncleanness by the Pharisees for eating with unwashed hands, Jesus condemned them: "The Pharisees and some of the scribes gathered around Him when they had come from Jerusalem, and had seen that some of His disciples were eating their bread with impure hands, that is, unwashed. (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they carefully wash their hands, thus observing the traditions of the elders; and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they cleanse themselves; and there are many other things which they have received in order to observe, such as the washing of cups and pitchers and copper pots.) The Pharisees and the scribes asked Him, "Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with impure hands?" And He said to them, "Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me. 'But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.' "Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men." He was also saying to them, "You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition." (Mark 7:1-9) The "living water" rule is just another example of what Jesus was talking about. If God wanted the priests to only use "running spring water" at the temple, he would have told us this in the Bible.
  7. Temple not located Over the Gihon Spring: The Herbert W. Armstrong sect and many splinter groups believe the only way to harmonize the need for "living water" is to locate Solomon's temple directly over the Gihon Spring in the City of David. Remember that the temple site was first used as a threshing floor that David purchased from Ornan the Jebusite (1 Chronicles 21:18-29). Remember also, that the Gihon spring was Jerusalem's only natural water supply for a 5 mile radius. Threshing floors were never placed near springs of water, for the same reason you don't put a toilet in the middle of your dinner table. (read more why) Solomon built the temple over a threshing floor, nowhere near the Gihon Spring. Need we remind them that the whole idea of "living water" at the temple is also not found in the Bible? But the Armstrong sect has a long history of bizarre doctrines that both contradict the Bible and assault common sense.
  8. There are several places where the end of Solomon's ancient aqueduct pipes can be seen in the temple mount area. The one that is believed to supply the water to the Temple is broken off at a level of 737 meters. Because this is well below the platform that the Dome of the Rock currently sits on at 742 meters, some believe this is proof that the temple mount platform was about 18 meters lower in the past, than it is today. Of course, this idea demands that the temple be located over the Al-Kas fountain because the Dome is already sitting on bedrock, but you can dig down 60 feet below the fountain. Here are two places you can still see the end of Solomon's conduit very near the temple mount:
    Click to ViewClick to View
  9. Temple located under the Al-Kas Fountain and over the threshing floor We believe that the temple of Solomon was indeed located 10-20 meters below the Al-Kas fountain halfway between the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque. However, the fact that the aqueducts are broken off at least 20 meters too low to supply the current temple, is not really proof that the temple platform is too high today. We believe that it was indeed 10-20 meters lower in the time of Jesus, you just cannot use the level where the aqueducts end as proof. The reason is simple. If they used a sealed siphon to get the water across the 6 mile valley between Bethlehem and the temple mount, they just continued the "garden hose" right up to the top of the temple mount! What we see today is not all there was in the past. Obviously then, if we continued the sealed siphon aqueduct from where we see it broken today up to the Temple, there would be a at least 21 meters (65 feet) of "gross" head. We would hardly think that Solomon would not have done such, if it was required, regardless of the level of the temple platform.
    Click to View
  10. "The Temple Court was in all a hundred and eighty-seven cubits long and a hundred and thirty-five cubits wide. From east to west it was a hundred and eighty-seven cubits: the place which the Israelites trod was eleven cubits; the place which the priests trod was eleven cubits; the Altar thirty-two; between the Porch and the Altar was twenty-two cubits; the Sanctuary a hundred cubits, and eleven cubits behind the place of the Mercy Seat. From north to south was a hundred and thirty-five cubits: the Ramp and the Altar measured sixty-two; from the Altar to the rings was eight cubits; the place of the rings was twenty-four; from the rings to the tables was four cubits; from the tables to the pillars four; from the pillars to the wall of the Temple Court was eight cubits; and the remainder lay between the Ramp and the wall and in the place of the pillars. There were six chambers in the Temple Court, three to the north and three to the south. Those to the north were the Salt Chamber, the Parwah Chamber, and the Rinsing Chamber. In the Salt Chamber they put the salt for the offerings; in the Parwah Chamber they salted the hides of the animal-offerings, and on its roof was the place of immersion for the High Priest on the Day of Atonement. The Rinsing Chamber [was so named] because there they rinsed the inwards of the animal-offerings; and a passage-way led from it to the roof of the Parwah Chamber. Those to the south were the Wood Chamber, the Golah Chamber, and the Chamber of Hewn Stone. 'The Wood Chamber' R. Eliezer b. Jacob said: I forget what was its use. Abba Saul [b. Batnith] said: It was the chamber of the High Priest and it lay behind the other two; and the roof of the three of them was on the same level. 'The Golah Chamber' the Golah cistern was there, and a wheel was set over it, and from thence they drew water enough for the whole Temple Court. 'The Chamber of Hewn Stone' there used the Great Sanhedrin of Israel to sit and judge the priesthood; and if in any priest a blemish was found he clothed himself in black and veiled himself in black and departed and went his way; and he in whom no blemish was found clothed himself in white and veiled himself in white, and went in and ministered with his brethren the priests. And they kept it as a festival-day for that no blemish was found in the seed of Aaron the priest. And thus used they to say: 'Blessed be God, blessed be he! for that no blemish has been found in the seed of Aaron. And blessed be he that chose Aaron and his sons to stand and serve before the Lord in the House of the Holy of Holies!'" (The Mishnah - Middoth Perek, V. 4, 5:1-4)
  11. Faulty aqueduct argument: Some use the fact that the end of the aqueduct today is (737m) is over 20 meters too low to freely flow by gravity to serve either the Azarah or the Water Gate. Tuvia Sagiv states it this way: "There are no water facilities near the Temple Mount which can supply water by means of gravity to the High Priest's ritual bath (Mikveh), according to all the known water systems except the Northern system - which would lower the level of the Temple Mount by 20 meters." (Lecture in Jerusalem, June 2006) The problem with this conclusion is the phrase: "by means of gravity". Yes, by gravity there is no way for water to flow from the current end of the aqueduct to serve the Temple unless of level of the platform is lowered by 20 meters. But we know that Solomon used a sealed siphon through the Bethlehem/Jerusalem valley not simple gravity to transport the water. Obviously then, this almost certainly not the original end of the sealed siphon aqueduct, which has long been destroyed. Most importantly, there was enough "head" from Solomon's Pools in Etam, to bring water to the highest point, anywhere on the temple mount. In other words, if we hooked up a modern water hose to the end of the aqueduct at the 737m, it would have enough pressure to bring water above the temple platform we see today. There is better evidence the temple was located 20 meters below the Al-Kas fountain than the gravity feed from the current end of the aqueduct argument. We need to drop the aqueduct argument because it is as invalid as it is weak and focus on better evidence.
  12. Tables:

Water Facilities around the Temple Mount and Jerusalem: 30.48 cm = 1.0 feet


Level in meters above sea level

Sources and Notes

A. Level of the Solomon's Pools at Ein Eitan


"Ancient Water Aqueduct" p 187, A. Mazar. "Bethlehem Survey of the Water Aqueduct to Jerusalem"

B. Level of Upper Aqueduct in Jerusalem


"Ancient Water Aqueduct" p 187, A. Mazar. "Bethlehem Survey of the Water Aqueduct to Jerusalem"

C. Level of the Lower Aqueduct in the Jewish Quarter


Survey by Caspi. Warren, map No. XXVI (This level is mentioned in the survey of the water aqueduct, p. 187, but it is incorrect.)

D. Level of the Lower Aqueduct at the Temple Mount


Calculated assuming a 0.1% grade for open air, gravity flow.

E. Level of the Israel Pool at the apex of the water level


Warren, "Underground Jerusalem," p 346

F. Level of the Israel Pool at the apex of the wall


Warren, map No. XVI

G. Level of the Hasmonean Aqueduct near the Western Wall


Survey by Sharon

H. Level of the Struthion Pool at the water outlet


Survey by Sharon

I. Level of the Northen Aqueduct near the Struthion Pool


Graphic Survey

Elevations on Mount Moriah (Harem Es-Sharif): 30.38 cm = 1.0 foot


Levels in meters above sea level

Sources and Notes

A. Level of the rock in the Dome of the Rock


Warren, map No. XII

B. Level of the Dome of the Spirits


Warren, map No. IV

C. Level of the Upper Court


Warren, map No. XII

D. Level of the Gate the Chain


Warren, map No. XXXIV

E. Level of the Mugrabim Gate


Warren, map No. XXXII

F. The approach of Robinson's arch


Warren, map No. XXVII

G. The approach of Wilson's arch


Warren, map No. XXXIV

H. Height of the apex of Wilson's arch


Warren, map No. XXXII

I. Height of the apex of Barclay Gate


Warren, map No. XXXIV

J. Height of the base of Barclay Gate


Warren, map No. XXXII

K. Height of the base of the Double Gate


Warren, map No. XX

L. Height of the base of the Triple Gate


Warren, map No. XXVI, XXVII

M. Height of the base of Warren Gate


Unknown Source

N. Level of the rock at El Omariah


Warren, map XXVII

O. The foot of the rock at El Omariah


Wilson, map No. 1864 Warren, map No. XXXVII




By Steve Rudd: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections.


Click to View