Eric M. Meyers

“Living” water, water never transferred by a vessel and thus fit for ritual bathing, poured into this Sepphoris mikveh from a shaft that brought rainwater from the roof. Several of the stepped pools found in Sepphoris, Meyers writes, were in houses where ceramic pipes for channeling rainwater have been found. Even today, rooftop water collectors are common in religiously observant Jewish areas; ritual baths using this technique are called in German Regenwasser mikve, or rainwater mikva’ot. The presence of rainwater shafts in Sepphoris indicates to Meyers that the stepped pools found in domestic areas were indeed mikva’ot.