Gibeon—Carved completely from bedrock, the steps and curving balustrade lead to the bottom of the great pool. The lowest portion of the balustrade at the bottom of the pool-shaft may originally have been part of a platform. At that time the pool may have been used as a cistern in which the water carriers stood on the platform while they drew water.
Later, after the feeder tunnel had been dug from the base of the hill to the spring, the Gibeonites may have realized that the spring was almost directly below the floor of the cistern. A stepped tunnel was then dug below the cistern floor (the opening is seen on the left) to try to reach the spring. The tunnel struck the water table—on the same level as the spring—where abundant water was found, providing a reliable water supply completely within the city walls.
Under the ladder are two vertical shafts through which light entered the tunnel.