Only in Jerusalem would a burst sewage pipe lead to a major biblical and historical discovery. In 2004, construction workers accompanied by archaeologists – a common practice in the Old City – were sent in to repair the pipe. This group stumbled upon a set of stairs leading to Shiloah, also known as the Siloam Pool where Jesus healed the blind man (John 9:1-11). This discovery has further led to the excavation of the Pilgrimage Road, the road where millions of Jews returned to Jerusalem three times a year to bring sacrifices to God during the key holidays of Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot. The Pilgrimage Road goes from the Shiloah pool to outside the walls of the Old City to the Robinson’s Arch area of the Western Wall.
Last month, U.S. Ambassador David Freidman and U.S. Middle East special envoy attended the inauguration of Pilgrimage Road in Jerusalem. Freidman ceremoniously broke through the wall with a sledgehammer officially opening the tunnel road. Friedman, an Orthodox Jew, said the Pilgrimage Road’s existence “confirms with evidence, with science, with archaeological studies that which many of us already knew, certainly in our heart: the centrality of Jerusalem to the Jewish people.”
This ceremony was not without controversy. PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat called the excavation of the road and Siloam Pool, which is in the Arab neighborhood of Silwan, “a settlement project that is based on a lie that has nothing to do with history.” The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) continues to put forth resolutions denying that there is any Jewish connection to Jerusalem. The Permanent Observer Mission of the State of Palestine to the United Nations called the road’s inauguration an “illegal act in occupied territory.”
Ambassador Friedman commented that “The City of David brings truth and science to a debate that has been marred for too long by myths and deceptions. Its findings, in most cases by secular archeologists, bring an end to the baseless efforts to deny the historical fact of Jerusalem’s ancient connection to the Jewish people.”