The Siloam Pool: Where Jesus Healed the Blind Man

A sacred Christian site identified by archaeologists

This Bible History Daily feature was originally published in 2011.—Ed.


In 2004, the stepped remains of the ancient Siloam Pool, long thought to be located elsewhere, were uncovered near the City of David. According to the Gospel of John, it was at this sacred Christian site that Jesus healed the blind man. Photo: Todd Bolen/

The Siloam Pool has long been considered a sacred Christian site, even if the correct identification of the site itself was uncertain. According to the Gospel of John, it was at the Siloam Pool where Jesus healed the blind man (John 9:1–11).

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.

During construction work to repair a large water pipe south of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, at the southern end of the ridge known as the City of David, archaeologists Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron identified two ancient stone steps. Further excavation revealed that they were part of a monumental pool from the Second Temple period, the period in which Jesus lived. The structure Reich and Shukron discovered was 225 feet long, with corners that are slightly greater than 90 degrees, indicating a trapezoidal shape, with the widening end oriented toward Tyropoeon valley.

The Siloam Pool is adjacent to the area in the ancient City of David known as the King’s Garden and is just southeast of the remains of the fifth-century church and pool traditionally believed to be the sacred Christian site.

In the free ebook Who Was Jesus? Exploring the History of Jesus’ Life, examine fundamental questions about Jesus of Nazareth. Where was he really born—Bethlehem or Nazareth? Did he marry? Is there evidence outside of the Bible that proves he actually walked the earth?


Artist’s rendering of the Siloam Pool, the Biblical Christian site where Jesus healed the blind man. Image: Jason Clarke.

What was the function of the Siloam Pool during Jesus’ time? Because the pool is fed by waters from the Gihon Spring, located in the Kidron Valley,  the naturally flowing spring water would have qualified the pool for use as a mikveh for ritual bathing. However, it could also have been an important source of fresh water for the inhabitants on that part of the city. One scholar has even suggested that it was a Roman-style swimming pool. Whatever its original purpose, the Siloam Pool where Jesus healed the blind man is an important Christian site, and its discovery represents a watershed moment in the field of Biblical archaeology.

As with many sites in the Holy Land, the origins of the Siloam Pool reach back even further in history—at least seven centuries before the time of Jesus. Judah’s King Hezekiah (late eighth century B.C.) correctly anticipated a siege against Jerusalem by the Assyrian monarch Sennacherib.

To protect the city’s water supply during the siege, Hezekiah undertook a strategic engineering project that would be an impressive feat in any age: He ordered the digging of a 1,750-foot tunnel under the City of David to bring water from the Gihon Spring, which lay outside the city wall, inside the city to a pool on the opposite side of the ridge. In the years that followed, “Hezekiah’s Tunnel” continued to carry fresh water to this section of Jerusalem, and different pools were built here over the centuries, including the Second Temple pool that Jesus knew.


Based on “Issue 200: Ten Top Discoveries,” Biblical Archaeology Review, July/August September/October 2009.

Learn more about Hezekiah’s Tunnel, including recent attempts to redate the water tunnel and assign its construction to King Hezekiah’s predecessor or successors, in “Hezekiah’s Tunnel Reexamined.”


Related reading in Bible History Daily:

Where Is the Original Siloam Pool from the Bible?

Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible: Lawrence Mykytiuk’s full article from the January/February 2015 issue of BAR with voluminous endnotes

How December 25 Became Christmas: Andrew McGowan’s full article from the December 2002 issue of Bible Review

Where Was Jesus Born?

Who Was Jesus’ Biological Father?

Has the Childhood Home of Jesus Been Found?

Mysterious Podium Uncovered Near Temple Mount

This Bible History Daily feature was originally published in May 2011.


Posted in Biblical Archaeology Sites.

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17 Responses

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  1. Richard says

    The article mentions the shape of the pool as trapezoid, but the artist rendering appears to portray it as rectangular. Am I missing something?

  2. REV says

    neat drawing but it does not look anything like the valley and terrain there. Where is the city wall? Therefore the picture gives a totally false concept of the setting.

  3. Joy says

    pl add me to your mailing list.

  4. tapani says

    Thank You for fundamental facts. Hygieny was not good, if same water was used for drinking, swimming and washing? John 5 tell from another pool which water was stirred. Was it like a bubbling pool? In both cases Jesus cured ashore.

  5. James says

    I’m particularly intrigued with the engineering instincts of King Hezekiah’s tunnel construction. That’s wow! That rubbish the concept of #evolution; man has always been intelligent!

  6. paulette says

    Your ‘artist’s impression’ is a million miles from what the pool looks like – see archeological re-discovery. ‘”There is nothing picturesque about it, certainly. The crumbling walls, and fallen columns in and around it, give it an air of neglect.” It is a parallelogram about fifty-three feet long and eighteen feet wide. . . . Dr. Thomson says he has seen this pool nearly full, but that now the water merely passes through it. “The intermittent flow is supposed to be due to a natural syphon”. And it was a part of a pagan temple and the stories about the waters being stirred by and angel was just a money spinner. Jesus walked into that superstitious environment and showed who really had the power to heal!

  7. paulette says

    Oh dear, my mistake – I was thinking of the pool of Bethesda (John 5) – for which my comments and the quotation are accurate. Sincere apologies for any confusion I may have caused.

  8. silas says

    am helped

  9. GaryFPatton says

    There is nothing “sacred” about this pool or any other …just “The God-man”, Jesus, who performed a miracle there.

    Jesus still grants miracles for those whom will believe as Romans 10:8-12 says about, “How To Personally Connect With the One Living God”, at

  10. Kurt says

    Some coins found during the excavation date back to the second, the third, and the fourth years of the Jewish revolt against Rome. That revolt took place between 66 and 70 C.E. The coins give evidence that the pool was in use until 70 C.E. when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. The journal Biblical Archaeology Review concludes: “The pool was therefore used until the end of the revolt, after which it was abandoned. This area, the lowest spot in all Jerusalem, was not inhabited again until the Byzantine period. Every year the winter rains flowing down the valley deposited another layer of mud in the pool. And after the Roman destruction of the city, the pool was no longer cleaned. Over the centuries a thick layer of mud accumulated and the pool gradually disappeared. The archaeologists found it under nearly 10 feet [3 m] of mud in places.”

  11. Morkh says

  12. David says

    The artist’s impression is not good. Here is a much more realistic rendering of the pool.

  13. Tom says

    Comment #12, and the image it points to, are very helpful. That depiction of the pool (q.v.) shows a large square structure with an internal, colonnaded space. That, in fact, is meant to be the UPPER Siloam Pool– in the late 2nd Temple period. Dan Bahat’s historical atlas of Jerusalem shows the upper pool in very much the same way, but from a different perspective. That upper pool (of which the visible “traditional” Pool of Siloam is only a small remnant) was actually explored archaeologically by Bliss & Dickie already in the 1890s, using a system of underground shafts and galleries, and they deemed it to date from the Roman period.

    Yet the writers of this article cling to the mistaken notion that there was no upper pool extant in the 1st century, dismissing it as dating only from the 5th century. Yes, the church once overhanging the upper pool was built in the 5th century, by the Empress Eudocia (it’s remains are known, but buried)– but it was built OVER, indeed focused upon, an existing pool from the time of Jesus. Reputable, latter-day experts are clear on this. BAS writers/editors: Please update your offerings to conform to the known facts and remains.

  14. Tom says

    Continuation of comment #13:

    Presenting the uncovering of the Lower Siloam Pool– as spectacular as it is– as a new and totally unexpected discovery is disingenuous, an unnecessary attempt to sensationalize the finding of what we are to believe is the “real” (and only) Siloam Pool. In reality, the topography itself dictates that there HAD to be a pool in that exact spot, behind the ancient dam across the mouth of Jerusalem’s central (Tyroepeon) valley– ALWAYS, probably beginning in the Bronze Age! Indeed, 19th century mapmakers knew this instinctively, labeling the area as “Presumed Pool” or with a similar designation.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. The Siloam Pool | Dr. Claude Mariottini – Professor of Old Testament linked to this post on August 18, 2011

    […] the article in its entirety by visiting Bible History Daily online.  The article contains a picture of the remains of the ancient Siloam […]

  2. The Siloam Pool | Claude Mariottini - Professor of Old Testament linked to this post on December 22, 2011

    […] the article in its entirety by visiting Bible History Daily online.  The article contains a picture of the remains of the ancient Siloam […]

  3. John 9 – Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind | Bob's boy's Christianity blog linked to this post on August 27, 2012

    […] Side note: Details and pictures of discoveries at the excavations at the Pool of Siloam are in this article at  That one is a well-written, but older article.  A more recent article can be found at this link to […]

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