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David’s Wells

Background on David’s Wells


Along the road leading out of Bethlehem there are three great cisterns, excavated in the rock. Known as ‘ David’s Wells ‘, tradition identify these as” the cistern that is in Bethlehem at the gate”. David had sent his soldiers there to fetch him a drink during a battle with the Philistines.


2 Samuel 23:1-17 records the story of David who was camped nearby Bethlehem at a time when it was held as a Philistine garrison. David looked to the town of Bethlehem and exclaimed: “O that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!”


As the story goes, when the soldiers returned to David’s hideway in the cave of Adulam he refused to drink the water.


In 1895 a mosaic pavement of a church of the 5th or 6th century, with a Greek inscription was discovered east of these cisterns. The church rested on a vast necropolis. The cemetery was Christian as proved by the inscriptions. The cisterns are located in Ras Eftais, an eastern sector of Bethlehem.


To the east lies a church discovered in 1895, decorated with mosaic pavements and Greek inscriptions.

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