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Site of Temple Water Libation Festivities Uncovered

reprinted with permission from Arutz Sheva
19:22 Dec 23, '04 / 11 Tevet 5765

New excavations in Jerusalem's City of David, now the Arab neighborhood of Silwan, have revealed the location of the most joyous of all Temple services.

A large paved assembly area and water channel, used for the festive Simhat Beit HaShoeva in the times of the Holy Temple, has been uncovered in recent days at an excavation in the City of David, next to Jerusalem's Old City.

The water channel and assembly area were integral parts of what Jewish tradition calls "the most joyous celebrations of the year." Water accumulated by the newly discovered channel was conducted to the Shiloah Pool, from which water libations brought to the Holy Temple's altar in the Holy Temple on the final day of the Sukkot Festival.

The excavation was led by Eli Shukrun of the Israel Antiquities Authority and Dr. Roni Reich of the Hebrew University.

The waters of the Shiloach Spring, where the High Priest would immerse himself in Temple times, were collected in the Shiloach Pool and used in purification ceremonies.

The new discoveries add to other finds which together make it possible to see more clearly how the site looked at the time of the Second Temple. In the period immediately before the modern State of Israel, British archaeologists uncovered parts of a stepped street descending the length of the City of David from the Temple Mount to the north. The street surely led to the section of pool that has now been excavated.

To learn more about the Water Libation Festival, Click here. To see the recreated vessels used in the ceremony, please visit our Gallery.



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