The Gihon Spring determined the location of the earliest Jerusalem. Although the land it watered was steep and inhospitable, the Gihon flowed faithfully year-round; no hill nearby could claim the same life-giving support.

Artist Lloyd K. Townsend’s gouche and pencil reconstruction of Jerusalem as Solomon might have seen it draws its inspiration from descriptions in the Bible and from archaeological remains: house walls, pillars and stairways; a five-story-high stepped-stone structure; and the city’s complex underground water system.

At the far right, Solomon’s Temple (1) dominates the Temple Mount. To its left stand the royal palace complex (2) and, farther south, the citadel (3), supported by the monumental, stepped-stone structure (4).

The Gihon Spring (5) flowed into a chamber inside the city wall. By lowering buckets down a shaft (6), now called “Warren’s Shaft,” residents could collect water safely. Gihon water was also diverted to an irrigation conduit called the Siloam Channel (7), which carried water along the eastern flank of the hill to a storage pool (8) at the city’s southern end. As part of an ingenious irrigation system, windows (9), or openings, in the stone channel could release water into cultivated fields in the Kidron Valley.

Although Shiloh cautioned that Townsend’s location of the east-west wall between the Upper and Lower cities and his rendering of the collection pool and irrigation channels might not be altogether accurate, he called the artist’s work “a very close restoration.”