Sandu Menderea/Israel Antiquities Authority

CHANGE THE CHANNEL. Before Hezekiah’s Tunnel, there was Channel II. This open conduit roofed with stone slabs runs from the Gihon, along the eastern side of the City of David, and was dug in the Middle Bronze Age to direct the spring’s water south for irrigation and other uses. Later, in the eighth century B.C.E., the channel was extended farther south through a rock-cut tunnel. Geologists Amihai Sneh, Eyal Shalev and Ram Weinberger believe that digging this southern extension of Channel II was Hezekiah’s contribution to the water system siege preparations mentioned in the Bible, rather than the long subterranean tunnel that now bears his name.