ASK Commentary
January 17, 2005 

Running Water in the Temple of Zion

Commentary for January 17, 2005 — George Buchanan’s Follow-up Article

You may have noticed the “NEW” symbol under Temples on the ASK Website. I have placed another article by Professor George Wesley Buchanan titled “ Running Water at the Temple of Zion.” This article is a follow-up to an earlier article by Professor Buchanan (see “The Tower of Siloam”). This article was published in the June 2004 issue of Expository Times (which graciously granted permission for ASK to reprint both articles).

Professor Buchanan’s evidence expands on his own excellent research and also gives credit to Dr. Martin’s research from The Temples That Jerusalem Forgot. It shows the relationship of running water (living, flowing water) to the Temple, and the major extra-biblical historical sources of that relationship.

Of course, most all scholars who study the issues of the Jerusalem Temples and their location understand the necessity for a source of running water within the Temple. It is necessary both for ritual cleanliness and for historical accuracy: unimpeachable historical (and more importantly, biblical) sources state dogmatically that running water flowed from within the sanctuary of the Temple.

Unfortunately for those who mistakenly support a location (somewhere) of the Temples on the Haram esh-Sharif, there is no source of running water on that platform or below it. There is no source of fresh water flowing into the massive cisterns (not suitable for the cleanliness required). The great cisterns were filled from collected rainwater, water that stands for months after the rainy season.

Of course, great cisterns of water would be necessary and are to be expected within a fortress such as the Fortress Antonia, which guarded the Herodian Temple to the south, exactly as Dr. Martin places it at the Haram esh-Sharif. The running water that Professor Buchanan provides further literary sources for, is exactly what is expected: the Temples were built as close as possible to a major (indeed the only) source of water within a five mile radius of Jerusalem, the Gihon Springs.

Regarding water in the Temple, see chapter 21 in Temples That Jerusalem Forgot, “Necessary Spring Waters within the Temples.” See also Dr. Martin’s article “Water Management in Herod’s Temple” which shows a different method by which the purest water was obtained for the sacrifices, rituals and purifications. See also Dr. Martin’s article “The Temple Was a Tower” where Dr. Martin analyzes a passage from the apocryphal Christian writing called “The Shephard of Hermas.” Several times that work mentions that the Temple, as a tower, was a “tower built upon the waters.”

Support and Opposition

Support by scholars of high reputation such as Professor Buchanan for Dr. Martin’s research (along with his own substantial contributions) regarding the proper site of the Jerusalem Temples is most welcome. It is my expectation that the support will continue.

I also expect increasing opposition to the evidence. However, the opposition will not be substantiated by literary evidence. As Dr. Martin has shown, no archaeological evidence is possible at the true location of the Herodian Temple.

While it is possible there may be some extant evidence above and west of the Gihon Springs dating from the Solomonic and Zerubbabel Temples, that is unlikely. Those Temples were also completely destroyed. And, if such evidence is found it would likely not be acknowledged by those predisposed to believe the Temples were on the Haram esh-Sharif.

For the Herodian Temple no evidence will be found at the Gihon site because of the complete removal of that evidence from there, fulfilling Jesus prophecies of not one stone being left upon another. It is possible that some stones from the Temple (stones identifiable as being from the Temple) may have been moved and used to rebuild the current walls of the Haram esh-Sharif by Emperor Justinian and others. However, such a finding alone would not identify the Haram as the site of the Temple.

David Sielaff
david@askelm.com

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