Return to Zion and the Second Temple Period
Return to Zion and the Second Temple Period

The Shiloah (Siloam) Pool in the Second Temple Period

With regard to the rite of water libation performed in the Temple during the Festival, how was it performed? A golden flask, that could hold three logim was filled from the Shiloah [spring].


In the picture: The Pool of Shilocah (Siloam) was discovered in excavations conducted by Prof. Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron in the southern City of David. Broad steps surrounded the pool, which was fed by the water of the Gihon Spring that flowed into Hezekiah’s Tunnel from the time of the First Temple.

This pool may also have been used for ritual immersion by some of the tens of thousands of pilgrims who streamed to Jerusalem on the three pilgrimage festivals, Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot. During the Second Temple period, the custom was to bring water in a grand procession from the Pool of Siloam to the Temple and pour it out on the altar on the Festival of the Drawing of the Water during the Sukkot holiday. The Christian tradition of the healing of a blind man by Jesus is associated with this pool.

In the picture: A reconstruction of the Pool of Shiloach in the Second Temple period, according to Dr. Eyal Meiron. Illustration: Shalom Kweller.