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Ancient Water System for Temple revealed on the Temple Mount

Norma Robertson (Jan 10, 2016)

Is this something no one has seen before? No, but it is the first time it has been recognized and understood for what it was.
I have been studying the Temple Mount since 2000, but a map of the water system made by Sir Charles Warren didn't make it on to the Internet until 2009. Charles Warren was one of the early explorers in 1864 that had been allowed by the Muslims to explore below the surface of the Temple Mount. I first saw the map hung on a wall in a photograph someone had taken in a museum in Israel.  My jaw dropped because I had been using Warren's maps for nine years to illustrate where the old Temple was once located on the Mount. How could I have never seen this map? 

Warren Water Chnnels Map

Complete Map of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, with southern water channels.

Water Channels (conduits) at the southern end of the Temple Mount. 
A quote from Warren's writings. "Access was obtained to the water conduits through a hole in one of them in front of AI-Aksa, and they were traced as far as possible, but the rubbish has fallen in in many places, and with the exception of two or three the branch ducts are too small to admit of the passage of a man. From the number of openings seen, there must be a perfect net-work of small subterranean channels in this part of the area, but without excavation they could not be traced. It is very difficult to judge of the age of these conduits, but where cut in the rock they have been probably made at the same period as the cisterns, as the one which enters the large cistern east of the "Great Sea,' and this was found to be in connexion with another conduit leading down to the "Well of the Leaf" and one running up in the direction of the Fountain Al-Kas (the cup); the connecting branches were in part cut out of the rock, in part made of masonry and roofed with large stones. Besides these conduits which appear to have been in connexion with the aqueduct from the Pools of Solomon, there are number of others apparently of more modern construction for collecting the surface drainage into the cisterns: No regular system of water channels could be found in the northern part of the area, except those of very modern date, but it is not improbable that such may exist."

 I saw immediately that it was the ancient water system for the Temple.  I knew at a glance that my diagram of the Temple complex would fit over the top of it perfectly, revealing what Solomon had done. I searched the Internet and finally found a copy of the original map. Pasting it into a paint program and overlaying it with my diagram of the Temple complex, which I had created in 2000, was great conformation that my diagram was correct.

Water Channel Pool       .

 Temple water Solomon

Temple water channel Herod

SW corner of the Temple Mount.  Water flowed from the Lower Aqueduct to the water system. The pool was used to submerge the giant Copper Laver for the Priest to wash their hands and feet throughout the day.

The Lower Aqueduct

The aqueduct coming from Bethlehem (Solomon's Pools) that entered the temple mount over Wilson's Arch was called Ein Etam by the Jews. This Lower Aqueduct was built by Solomon bringing water to the Temple from the Etam Spring (Ain Atan) near Solomon’s pools. The Jerusalem Talmud  (Yoma 3, 8, 41, 1) says that a conduit ran from Atan (Ain Atan, Ein Etan, Spring Etam) to the Temple.  See Etem 

 Abaye, a Jewish sage of the 4th century was quoted as saying; "If these orifices be now opened, the water rushes in from all sides, and the marble floor of the sanctuary is washed clean of the blood of the sacrifices, if it be ever so much, and thus cleansed of itself, and in the easiest manner. There can be, moreover, never a want of water in these artificially constructed tubes, as it is conducted hither FROM A LARGE NATURAL SPRING (ETAM), which to a certainty can never dry...

Tosefta Pesachim, Ch. 3, Par. 12, "How is the Azara cleaned? Seal the area and let the water from the aqueduct enter till it becomes clean like milk."
(Quotes  "The Hidden Secrets of the Temple Mount" by Tuvia Sagiv)

THE EIN ETAM IS 23 CUBITS HIGHER THAN THE AZARAH (the priest's court)". (Bab. Tal. Yoma 31a), From: "The Spring (Fountain) of Siloah...En Shiloach" (The Springs and Pools of Jerusalem) and that using the aqueduct waters derived from the Etam Spring the “high priest would immerse himself on the Day of Atonement” (Bab. Tal. Zebahim 54b)

Also see: Who Built the Lower Aqueduct?

Many of the early explorers drew maps with the Temple placed at the SW corner of the Temple Mount right where this water system was located. I made a short video about the water system and also included information about the Trumpeting Stone, which was found at the SW corner during the excavations. Josephus wrote that the Place of the Trumpeting was within the Temple complex, which tells us that Herod’s Temple was not located in the City of David, as some claim. Water System & Trumpeting Stone

 Water system on the Temple Mount

Here are the Maps of a few of the Early Explorers. As you can see they agreed only concerning the SW placement and disagreed about almost everything else. 

Josephus gives the dimensions of the Herodian Temple complex as a square, each side one furlong (approximately 600 ft) in length.   Josephus also states that the length of Herod’s Royal Stoa, located at the southern end of the Temple complex, was a furlong in length.  How anyone can stretch the size of that Temple complex to fit the whole width of the Temple Mount is beyond me, because the Temple Mount is 995 feet wide, not 600 feet 

So why hadn’t Charles Warren, Charles Wilson, or James Ferguson, and a few other early explorers, understand what this water system was?  These early explorers of the Temple Mount placed the Temple at this southwest corner because it was the only place on the Mount that fit the description given by Josephus, a Jewish historian that lived in Jerusalem in the first century. Josephus later wrote about the Temple and its destruction in 70 CE in his books. These early explorers also had the evidence of the ruins deep within the Mount itself. They noticed that it was 600 feet, or one furlong, from the southwest corner to Triple gate, the exact measurement that Josephus had given for the width of the Herodian Temple complex. Why do I see it and they could not?  I have an advantage they didn’t have, which is the excavations of the Ophel, which is located beyond the south wall of the Temple Mount. They could’t imagine a Temple complex that continued beyond such a formidable wall.  If you have watched my videos or read my book you will agree it was very possible.  Josephus refers to the southern court, which contained Herod’s Stoa, as the lower court. He explains that one had to ascend steps 22 feet high to enter the upper gates leading into the sacred area of the Israeli court and priest court.  The lower court was 22 feet lower on the hill than the entrance to the Temple court, not only in Herod’s Temple but also in Solomon’s.   Those 22 feet high steps can be found at the south wall of the Temple mount leading up to Double Gate.  But in the 1800 hundreds those steps were hidden under tons of dirt and rubble.  In fact, they were not revealed until after 1968 when the excavations of the Ophel area began.  Because these men did not have the advantage that I have, they could not fit the water system to the Temple.  The Temple house itself would have had to be located too close to the south wall and would leave no room for a the southern court of the Temple.

Locating Solomon's Temple 
by Norma Robertson



Locating Solomon's Temple
Book 1

Book 2