pool of gibeon

Pool of Gibeon. Photo courtesy of BiblePlaces.com.

Seven miles north of Jerusalem, American excavations in 1956 brought to light not only traces of the walls of the town of Gibeah, which is so frequently mentioned in the Bible, but also uncovered the scene of a bloody encounter in these olden days. As we are told in II Samuel, once upon a time on this spot there took place a murderous hand-to-hand combat between supporters of the rival generals Joab and Abner — twelve on each side, the one lot on the side of David, the other owing allegiance to the surviving son of Saul.

According to 2 Sam. 2-13, they “met together by the pool of Gibeon.” Beneath a field of tomatoes in el-Jib, as the place is now called, Professor J. B. Pritchard, of Columbia University, discovered the “Pool of Gibeon,” apparently in its day a well known spot. He found a circular shaft, over thirty feet in diameter and thirty feet deep, which had been driven vertically into bed rock. A spiral path led down a ramp cut into the inside wall. Below that a winding staircase, with two openings for light and air, descended for a further forty-five feet to the reservoir itself, chiselled out of solid limestone. When the rubble which covered the whole lay-out had been cleared away, the great cistern began to fill slowly again with water from the fissures in the rock as it had done 3,000 years ago. This Biblical “Pool of Gibeon” had also provided the town with an ample supply of fresh drinking water during an emergency or in time of siege.

Werner Keller. The Bible as History. Bantam Books. New York. 1982. p.196.