Mary's Spring,   Ein Kerem

    A Holy spring which was the center of the ancient village. According to tradition, virgin Mary stopped here to drink while visiting John the Baptist's parents.

Mary's spring structure

  

 

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Contents:

Overview

Location

History

Photos

Biblical Refs

Etymology

Links

Overview:

 

   The center of the ancient village evolved around the spring. The spring gave its name to the village - Ein (spring) of the Kerem (vineyard).    According to Christian tradition, virgin Mary stopped here to drink from the waters.

 

Location:

 

    Mary's spring is located in a valley on the south side of the the village of Ein Kerem, west of Jerusalem (8KM from the center). In the aerial map below the spring is located at the center of the bottom side. Pointing and clicking on selected points in purple will automatically scroll  to the relevant photo or  site.

  

 

History:

 

 

    The spring was the nucleus of the Canaanite city in the Bronze period, and its waters were used as the main source of water for thousands of years since then.  Ein Kerem is named after the spring (Hebrew: Ein = spring,  Kerem = vineyard).

 

   A 30M rock hewn tunnel was constructed during the second temple period in order to increase the spring's capacity.

 

   According to Christian tradition, virgin Mary stopped here to drink from the spring, and was named after Mary. Therefore, the spring is Holy for Christians. Pilgrims used to tap these waters into bottles and take them back home as a holy souvenirs.

 

   A mosque, whose tower rises above the structure of the spring,  was built over Mary's spring in the 2nd half of the 19th C.   

 

 

Photos:

 

(a) General view:

 

The structure of Mary's spring is seen below, with the tower of the mosque built over it.

 

Click on the photos to view  in higher resolution...

Ein Kerem: Mary's spring structure

 

   Another view of the Ottoman period structure and the tower of the mosque is seen from the rear (south-east) side. The structure was also used as a mosque and a school during the 19th C.

 

Mary's spring - the Ottoman period structure

 

 

(b) The spring:

 

   The spring is seen in the photo below. It was used since the Bronze age, more than 3,000 years ago.  According to Christian tradition, Mary stopped here to drink from the spring, and was named after Mary.

 

 

Mary's spring - the yard before the spring

 

A closer view of the spring is seen below.

 

Photo by Uncle Ronnie

Mary's spring

 

  A rock hewn tunnel, 30M long, is seen behind the outlet of the water. The tunnel was constructed during the second temple period in order to increase the spring's capacity.

 

Mary's spring - tunnel

 

 

(c) Mosque:

 

  A mosque, whose tower rises above the structure of the spring,  was built over Mary's spring in the 2nd half of the 19th C.   

 

Photo by Uncle Ronnie

Mary's spring

 

A view of the north-west entrance to the mosque is seen below.

 

Mary's spring - entrance to the Mosque

 

 

 

Biblical:

 

 Luke 1: 39-56:

 

The visit of Mary to the house of Zacharias, father of John the Baptist, in Ein Kerem ("city of Juda").

 

"And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house".

 

Etymology (behind the name):
 

Links:

 

On Mary's spring:

Jerusalem archaeological survey (pdf, Hebrew):

 

* BibleWalks sites in Ein Kerem:

   Overview of Ein Kerem

   Visitation church

   St. John Ba Harim

  Greek Orthodox

 

Other sites:

 

 

 

 

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