Ancient Jerusalem's Water Systems

Holy Land Revealed

Jerusalem, one of the oldest cities in the world, has always been a center of religious and cultural significance. But what allowed this ancient city to flourish in an arid region with scarce water resources? The answer lies in the remarkable water systems built by the city’s early inhabitants.

Ancient Jerusalem

Ancient Jerusalem’s water systems were built to provide water for the city’s inhabitants and to sustain its agricultural activities. These systems were based on an extensive network of channels, cisterns, and aqueducts that collected and transported water from springs and wells in the surrounding hills.

The City of David
The First Temple Pool of Siloam

One of ancient Jerusalem’s most impressive water systems is the Hezekiah Tunnel, also known as the Siloam Tunnel. This tunnel was built in the 8th century BCE by King Hezekiah to protect the city’s water supply during a siege by the Assyrian army. The tunnel was carved through solid rock for over 500 meters, allowing water to flow from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam.

Warren’s Shaft

Another notable water system in ancient Jerusalem is Warren’s Shaft system. This system was built during the Jebusite period (approximately 1800 BCE) and provided water to the city’s inhabitants and irrigated its agricultural fields. The system consisted of a vertical shaft dug into the rock and connected to underground chambers. Water was collected in these chambers and then distributed throughout the city.

Pool of Bethesda

The ancient inhabitants of Jerusalem were also skilled in constructing cisterns, which were used to store rainwater for use during drought. These cisterns were carved into the rock and could hold large quantities of water. The largest of these cisterns is the Pool of Bethesda which could hold up to 3 million liters of water.

Jerusalem Ultimate Guide
The Miracles of Jesus Pool-of-Siloam
Herodian Pool of Siloam

Overall, the water systems of ancient Jerusalem were a remarkable engineering feat and played a crucial role in the city’s survival and growth. These systems allowed the inhabitants to withstand long sieges, maintain a stable water supply, and irrigate their fields, which helped sustain the city’s economy and culture. Many of these water systems can still be seen and visited in Jerusalem, providing a glimpse into the city’s rich history and engineering achievements.


Hi! My name is Arik Haglili, an Israeli native who decided to dedicate his life to share my knowledge about the Holy Land to those that are interested to know more about this amazing piece of land. My career as a private tour guide started at the International School For the Studying of the Holocaust and the rest is history.

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