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THE ISRAEL REPORT

May/June 1999
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WATER ON THE TEMPLE MOUNT

Here's probably more than you wanted to know on the subject of
"...water flowing out from under the threshhold of the temple toward the east..." (Ezekiel 47:1,2).

Is "living water flowing from Jerusalem, half toward the west and half toward the east" (Zechariah 14:8).

These prophetic references seem to have excited the imagination of someone who needed a sensational story and has been circulated widely in the last two months. There is no more truth to the stories that there is water flowing out from under the temple mount than there is to the stories that the ark of the Covenant has been found . I'll deal only with the "water" here. And you don't need to take just my word for it. Here is the report of an archaeologist and a tour guide. The preface is mine. Ed Smelser

PREFACE BY ED SMELSER

While we were in the states we were asked often about the Ezekiel 47:1-3 "water from the rock" stories that seem to be confined to that area of the world. No one has heard anything about it here, except the stories coming out of the USA.

This is not a new report. The old "water from the rock" story has resurfaced. This story was widely "circulated" about 12 years ago (circa 1987) and received some attention then. This time it seems to have been revived, by a Jerusalem rabbi on tour in the states, but there seems to be no documentation for it and the source cannot be accurately traced. Two facts that need to be known.

Fact #1. there are cisterns underneath the Temple Mount that contain "millions of gallons of water" (quoting a local archaeologist). These cisterns are well documented and show on all the really detailed maps of the Temple Site. They are not seeping or leaking in any way on the surface of the Temple Mount. And there is no unusual change in this water system that has existed since the days of Solomon's temple.

Fact #2 that should not be confusing to anyone: There is the small spring deep in the Solomon's Quarries (These quarries can be entered from under the north wall of the Old City just east of the Damascus gate.) This spring has flowed a very minimal amount of water for several hundred years and is called "The Tears of Hezekiah". It is a rarely visited site, well off the beaten path for tourists and there is nothing to see. It is far to the north of the Temple Mount and certainly cannot fit the description of Ezekiel 47:1-3, or any other prophecy that we are familiar with. There is no activity of increased water flow from this small spring.

REPORT #1 by a knowledgeable archaeologist who lives in Jerusalem. Gary has done extensive research on the subject of the Temple Mount and knows the area like the "back of his hand". Let me introduce Dr. Gary Collett,

Shalom to All! For those that are interested concerning the story that is being circulated about "Water beginning to flow out from the Dome of the Rock" on Mount Moriah, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Another couple, Lonnie and Coral Mings, and my wife, Debra, and I went to the Dome of the Rock to check out this story that we have been receiving many inquiries about.

Many friends from many places have reported to us that they have heard in the news that water began to flow out from the Rock several weeks ago and that pumps were required to handle the flow of water.

Arriving at the Dome of the Rock we were required to take off our shoes and leave them out side. We slowly walked around the inside of the Dome. We looked for pumps, we felt with our feet for any "damp areas" and found nothing. I even was smelling for any moldy smell usually associated with dampness...nothing. So we went down into the small cave grotto inside the Rock of the Dome....again nothing. As Debra was completely barefooted, I had socks on, she deliberately was checking the rug on the floor for dampness...again nothing. We also looked around the outside of the Dome of the Rock for pumps or evidences of water...nothing. We are sorry to report that the story of water beginning to flow from the Rock is a RUMOR.

REPORT #2, this one by tour guide Tom Brimmer. I'll vouch for Tom any day. Written by his wife, Becky.
TEMPLE MOUNT HOLY WATER?

Editor's note: We have been receiving so many letters asking about rumors of a "miraculous" flow of water coming from the Temple Mount, that we decided to go and check it out for ourselves. I went with my husband, Tom Brimmer, to the site. Following is his analysis of the subject. - Becky Brimmer I love a good mystery. For weeks we've been hearing about water flowing from the Temple Mount. What in the world is going on? On June 5th, 1999, I decided to visit the places I had heard about and take a look for myself. One report told of dampness around the rock in the Dome of the Rock. Another spoke of holy water being collected in the tunnel next to the Western (Wailing) Wall. Yet another spoke of water flowing from the top of the Temple Mount and that the Moslem authorities were unable to control it. I decided to visit the El Aksa mosque, the Dome of the Rock, the tunnel, the Eastern Gate and the southern face of the Temple Mount retaining wall.

Our first stop was the top of the Temple Mount. There was no water flowing. We moved on to the El Aksa mosque and there was no water there either. Next, we went to the Dome of the Rock where we actually went in and under the rock. We took our shoes off and walked in our socks. We could not possibly miss any dampness on the floor. We did not notice any water. Then we went out to the inside side of the Eastern Gate. Here we did see some water. There were two hoses and we could hear a pump. There was just a small trickle of water coming from the two hoses. We decided to leave the top of the mountain and go down to the wall on the western side. There we did see a trickle of water dripping into the tunnel on the men's side of the prayer area. Someone had placed a cup under the dripping and they were collecting water to be given away as holy water.

Well, that's all the water there is to report about on the Temple Mount. It is not a breathtaking fulfillment of Biblical prophecy as far as we could tell. The question remains, is it anything at all?

The Bible predicts water flowing from the Temple Mount in Zechariah 14:8, "And it will come about in that day that living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter."

Even a cursory look at the preceding passage will convince almost anyone that this prophecy has not been fully fulfilled at any time in history. If you are looking for literal fulfillment of biblical prophecy, this is one that should be ahead of us on the time line. It has a lot of details. The flowing of water is only one of them. Yet, we can see that the element of water does exist.

Ezekiel 47 speaks of water flowing from under the threshold of the future Temple, on the southern side of the house, from south of the altar. He mentions that the house faces east and that the water flows as a trickle from the Eastern Gate on the south side of the gate. Naturally, the fact that there is no temple standing on the Temple Mount presents a small problem. There is no house at all on the mount that faces east. There are several small cupolas that might qualify but certainly nothing that could be mistaken for a temple with an altar of sacrifice.

On the other hand, there is a lot of illegal construction activity. We saw no less than hundreds of men busily moving stones and debris from a hidden building site under the El Aksa. There were many tons of cut stone near the eastern gate that were ready to be moved into place. We also know that there are a number of huge water cisterns cut into the stone of the mountain. It would take very little imagination to believe that one or more of these cisterns had been broken or was being drained for some reason. Last year a group of BFP staff visited Solomon's Stables on the Temple Mount. They had been completely renovated for use as overflow for the Al Aksa Mosque. It is likely that they are now turning cavernous cisterns into usable space.

OK, I'll attempt to draw a few conclusions. There are no streams or rivers of water flowing from the Temple Mount. The Bible prophecy that deals with the idea of water from the Temple requires a few additional details to be literally fulfilled. There is no physical Temple on the Temple mount. There is no deep valley across the Mount of Olives for the water to flow through. On the other hand, there is indeed a small amount of water present on both the east and western sides of the mountaintop. To complicate matters, there is a lot of illegal construction. Since the construction is not legal, there is no way a reporter can find accurate information about the possibility of a broken cistern or water being drained from other sources.

I would be interested in knowing the chemical characteristics of the water being collected in the tunnel near the Western Wall Plaza. I have a suspicion that it is neither pure nor holy. The same is probably true of the water that seems to be coming from the eastern gate. (Thomas Brimmer, June 5, 1999)


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