Todd Bolen/

FOUNTAIN OF LIFE. The waters that gushed forth from the Gihon Spring gave life to ancient Jerusalem. To be as close to the spring—Jerusalem’s only source of fresh water—as possible, the earliest residents of Jerusalem lived on the narrow eastern ridge of the city, today known as the City of David. The spring was located on the east side of this ridge.

The focal point of Jerusalem’s complex water system has always been the Gihon Spring, and at least as early as the Middle Bronze Age II (1750–1650 B.C.E.), the inhabitants of Jerusalem began protecting the spring and directing it through a series of tunnels. The spring was rediscovered and explored in modern times by English captain Montague Parker in the 20th century on his quest to find the treasures of Solomon’s Temple.

The Gihon Spring flows into this natural cave from an opening below the steps now leading down to it. The spring’s water alternated between a strong and weak flow, which caused some to speculate that a dragon lived beneath the cave. Even in Nehemiah 2:13, it is called the “Dragon’s Spring.”