Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Sunday 19 September |
Our Lady of La Salette
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

Jerusalem’s lower aqueduct brought to light after 2,000 years

BBC News

J-P Mauro - published on 07/17/19

This water source was still in use up until the 20th century, when it was replaced with a modern, electric system.

During a recent effort to construct a new sewage line in Jerusalem, workers unearthed part of an ancient aqueduct, built more than 2,000 years ago. While aqueducts are known for their beautiful arches which stretch on for miles to bring water from a source to a city, the construction workers discovered a “lower aqueduct,” or a water passage that was buried underground, to be less intrusive to a city.

Resembling a pipeline, or maybe even a gutter, this lower aqueduct dates as far back as the Hasmonean dynasty (140 B.C. to 37 B.C) and precedes the reign of Herod the Great. It is quite possible that when Jesus came to Jerusalem, he drank water which was brought in on this aqueduct.

Live Science reports, the aqueduct, which was measured to be about 13 miles long, fed from the En Eitam spring near three ancient reservoirs known as Solomon’s Pools, roughly three miles from the city. The water traveled down a gentle slope in order to provide a replenishing source of water for drinking and the carrying away of waste.

Ya’akov Billig, director of the aqueduct excavation with the Israel Antiquities Authority, said in a statement that the aqueduct provided water for Jerusalem for 2,000 years, but there were renovations to the water system:

“At first, the water was conveyed inside an open channel, and about 500 years ago, during the Ottoman period, a terra cotta pipe was installed inside the channel in order to better protect the water,” Billig said.

That it was a primary source of water for so long explains why it was kept so well over the last two millennia. It continued to serve the people of Jerusalem until about 100 years ago, when the city switched to an electrically operated water-distribution system.

In a video by the Israeli Antiquities Authority, archaeologists explain that the Jewish people used water for more than cleaning, drinking, and waste management. They required sources of what they called “living water” or water that comes from a natural source such as rain and streams for ritual cleansing. The aqueducts provided such water, as it was all fed by streams and storms.

For more images, watch the video below.


Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Pope considers what to do with pro-abortion Catholic politicians
Esteban Pittaro
Argentine “Mother Teresa” was a former model and actress who embr...
Berthe and Marcel
Lauriane Vofo Kana
This couple has the longest marriage in France
Philip Kosloski
Your body is not a “shell” for your spirit
Kathleen N. Hattrup
On same-sex unions, Pope says Church doesn’t have power to change...
Mathilde De Robien
How a lost masterpiece of sacred art was discovered thanks to chi...
Philip Kosloski
How receiving Holy Communion can drive away demons
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.