1. Review of the geographic location of the Gihon River in the time of  King David

Today we will  discuss two manmade diversions of the River Gihon.  A review of the river’s geography will help us to understand the events that took place. In the post, The River Eden Parted Into Four Heads, I wrote that:

In the time of  King David, the Gihon River flowed on the East of Jerusalem.  It … originated in a cave…located above the Kidron Valley. Water flowed from this point of origin into the valley.

The Kidron Valley (Valley of Jehoshaphat) begins northwest of Jerusalem, at a height of 2,585 ft. It then continues eastward for about 1½ miles (2½ km.) as Naḥal Egozim/Wadi Jauz.

The valley turns south at a height of 2,346 feet (715 m.). The Gihon, (jewishvirtuallibrary.org).


2. King Hezekiah diverted  the Gihon River from its  route along the upper watercourse so that it now flowed down the West side of the City of David:

According to the scriptures:

Hezekiah also stopped the upper watercourse of Gihon, and brought it straight down to the west side of the city of David…

And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might, and how he made a pool, and a conduit, and brought water into the city, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?  (2 Kings 20: 20; 2 Chronicles 32: 30). 

King Hezekiah of Judah made a strategic move to prevent the invading Assyrian army from accessing the water of the Gihon which flowed outside of the city.  He diverted the Gihon from its upper watercourse by cutting a tunnel into the rock underneath the City of David.

The tunnel was “S” shaped and 533 m.  It was dug from both ends of the city and met in the middle.  The water of the Upper Gihon was thus diverted from the  East to West Jerusalem

Water flowed from the spring along Hezekiah’s Tunnel/Siloam Tunnel  to the Siloam Pool or Pool of Siloam (John 9:7) which is located in the low, southern part of the Tyropoeon Valley, west of the City of David.   King Hezekiah also had a wall built around the Siloam Pool.


3. Warren’s shaft

The shaft was discovered in C. Warren in 1867 and named after him.  According to jewishvirtuallibrary.org  Warren’s Shaft System is located in the middle of the eastern slope of the City of David, within the ancient city’s walls.

It consisted of an underground, rock-cut tunnel with a shaft at its end.  On entrance, the tunnel slopes steeply downward in a stepped passage.  This portion is covered by a well-constructed vault from the Second Temple period, which prevented soil and rocks from falling into the system.

The tunnel becomes less steep as it progresses. At first, it extends in a northeasterly direction, then angles sharply to the southeast.

The total length of the tunnel is 41 m, depth 13 m. and width 2.5-3.0 m. The height varies from 1.5 m. at the entrance to a maximum of 5 m.

At its easternmost end is a narrow, irregularly shaped vertical shaft some 2 m. wide and 12.5 m. deep. This shaft leads to the waters of the Gihon Spring.  Residents of Jerusalem could go down the tunnel to the shaft and draw water with a container fastened to a rope.

Thus, in time of siege it was possible to safely draw water from the spring without venturing outside the walls. The narrow vertical shaft at the end of the system was impenetrable from the outside.  Studies have established that the shaft and most of the tunnel were derived from natural karstic fissures in the rock. The planners of the system had taken advantage of these, combining and adapting them to enable subterranean passage from the city to the spring possible.

Maybe this tunnel was naturally derived from the underground sinkholes and streams beneath the City of Jerusalem.


Further Reading

The Siloam Tunnel

Hezekiah’s Tunnel

More on Hezekiah’s Tunnel






Have a great week, beloved saints. Blessings, peace and angelic prosperity.