Archaeologists in Jerusalem have reportedly unearthed steps descending into the Pool of Siloam, where Biblical records show Jesus Christ healed a blind man over 2,000 years ago at one of the most significant heritage sites in the world.
“It’s exciting to be a part of a story that’s bigger than ourselves — to be a part of bringing a story to life that has significance not for millions, but for billions,” Ze’ev Orenstein, director of international affairs for the City of David Foundation, told Fox News Digital.
The discovery comes amid an excavation project in the ancient city of the Middle East carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Israel National Parks Authority, and the City of David Foundation, which works to preserve and develop the city and its environs by connecting people through different faiths and backgrounds in Jerusalem.
Construction crews and archaeologists began working on an excavation project at the historic site of Biblical Jerusalem in 2004 after a large water pipe south of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, at the southern end of the ridge known as the City of David, burst, according to the Biblical Archaeology Society.
In recent weeks, however, archaeologists discovered a set of eight steps at the project site — about the size of two Olympic swimming pools — dating back to the days when Jesus and millions of others used the pool as an ancient ritual bath.
According to the Gospel of John, the story of Jesus and the blind man at the pool began when Jesus and His disciples encountered a man who had been blind since birth. The disciples asked Jesus if the man or his parents caused him to be born blind. Jesus answered that neither caused his disability, but rather, the man had been born blind so that God’s work might be revealed in him.
“We must do the work of him who sent me while day lasts; night is coming when no man can work,” Jesus said. “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
Jesus then put clay made from the ground and his saliva over the blind man’s eyes and said to him, “Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam.”
The blind man went to the pool, washed the clay from his eyes, and returned with his vision restored.
Construction of the pool reportedly began more than 2,700 years ago when Judean King Hezekiah first 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, according to the Biblical Archaeology Society.
Hezekiah foresaw the likelihood of a looming attack from the Assyrians and presumed the water supply would help the Judeans survive. The tunnel continued to carry fresh water into the part of Jerusalem that would lead to the construction of several different pools, including the Second Temple pool that Jesus knew.
More than 2,000 years later, the biblical site revered by Christians and Jews worldwide marvels at the discovery.
“The ongoing excavations within the City of David — the historic site of Biblical Jerusalem — particularly of the Pool of Siloam and the Pilgrimage Road, serve as one of the greatest affirmations of that heritage and the millennia-old bond Jews and Christians have with Jerusalem,” Orenstein said.
The site, which runs from the Pool of Siloam in the south along the Pilgrimage Road and up to the footsteps of the Western Wall, Southern Steps, and Temple Mount, represents the most significant half-mile on the planet, he added.
“There is no half mile that means more to more people that affirms Jerusalem’s biblical heritage not simply as a matter of faith, but as a matter of fact,” he said.
“And obviously living in a time where so much of biblical heritage is being questioned — to be able to be unearthing all of this historical heritage and antiquity that shows that whether for Jews or Christians, that you could see it, you could touch it, you could walk on it, that really our heritage in Jerusalem going back thousands of years, not simply a matter of faith, but a matter of fact, being unearthed here in the city of David,” he added.
In January, Rev. Johnnie Moore, president of the Congress of Christian Leaders, told Fox News Digital, “In the Pool of Siloam, we find evidence of history preserved for us, revealed at just the right time.”
“Theologically, it affirms scripture, geographically it affirms scripture, and politically, it affirms Israel’s unquestionable and unrivaled link to Jerusalem. Some discoveries are theoretical,” he said. “This one is an undeniable. It is proof of the story of the Bible and of its people, Israel.”
Visitors have accessed a small section of the pool previously excavated, but the City of David plans to open the entire historic site once crews complete the project.
“It’s a big responsibility. And it’s also a big privilege, and the best is truly yet to come,” Orenstein said.