Hezekiah’s tunnel. One of the most astounding archeological discoveries in ancient Jerusalem (David’s city), which lies just outside of the walls of what is today known as the “old city of Jerusalem”. The commonly known old city was built and expanded by Jewish kings and leaders from the 11th century BCE until the 5th century BCE.
In 701 BCE, realizing that when ready he would need to rebel against the Assyrian rule, the Jewish King Hezekiah, decided to direct the waters of the Gihon spring flowing outside of the walls of Jerusalem, to the west and into the city, so that the city’s residents could access water during the siege that that would come. He, naturally, stopped the flow of water outside of the city so that the Assyrians would not have a ready source of water. This is all recorded in one verse in Chronicles II (32:30) “This same Hezekiah also stopped the upper spring of the waters of Gihon, and caused them to flow down on the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all his works.”
The work of digging the tunnel throught the sheer rock, in those times, was staggering. The masons carving out the tunnel, centimeter by centimeter, from the two ends of the 533 meter stretch needed to calculate the angles exactly, making sure that the tunnel would gradually descend towards the city at an angle of 0.6 thousandth of a degree, and that they would actually meet in the middle. The engineering and efforts involved in planning and digging the tunnel, which included the fact that only 1 mason could work from each side of the tunnel (the width of the tunnel is between 70-80 centimeters), all point to an almost miracle.
Later in 1880, when an inscription in the tunnel was found by accident by a Jewish schoolboy, the digging of the tunnel could be perceived in all its drama and glory.