A tunnel 1750 feet long constructed by King Hezekiah to protect the water supply of Jerusalem from the Assyrians during Sennacherib’s siege of 701 B.C. has recently re-opened.
The remarkable tunnel which winds its way under the City of David in a large S-shaped curve was closed more than a year ago when a group of almost 100 school children were trapped in the tunnel by rising waters. Terror struck the children when they feared they would be drowned. The authorities promptly closed the tunnel to tourists.
The tunnel outlet has now been thoroughly cleaned and the water level reduced by more than two feet.
The tunnel begins at the Spring Gihon (ancient Jerusalem’s water supply) and extends to the Pool of Siloam, carrying water from the spring to the pool by a gradual, even slope downward. While a small flow issues from the spring continuously, the spring also gushes forth larger amounts of water intermittently as a result of a peculiar natural underground siphon system consisting of interior caverns. The amount of these heavy gushes depends on theamount of rainfall and the season of the year. The gushes last from 30 to 40 minutes and then the water recedes from four to ten hours.