excavated in this stratum. Captain Warren's excavations have shown us the deep rugged
character of the Tyropoeon Valley in its normal state, and, judging from what is seen in the
surrounding valleys, the malaki bed would appear on each side of the valley as a cliff; in the
face of this cliff were, in all probability, the entrances to the tombs of David and the other
kings who were buried in the City of David. David's Tomb appears to have been the lowest,
or that nearest Siloam ; the others were higher up the valley, and some at least, we may infer
from Ezekiel xliii. 7, 8, were close to the Temple. There can be no reasonable doubt
that excavations properly directed would recover these tombs.
The works connected with the water supply of Jerusalem are of very great interest.
It is well known that in the many sieges which the Holy City has sustained the besiegers
without the walls suffered from want of water, whilst the besieged within were amply
supplied. The cisterns hewn out of the rock for the storage of water in the Haram esh
Sherif have already been alluded to, but they only formed part of the general scheme for
the supply of water to the whole city. The present supply is deficient in quantity and as
a rule bad in quality ; to this may be attributed the fact that the city which the Psalmist
once described in loving terms as " the joy of the whole earth," has become one of the most
unhealthy cities of the world.
The plateau on the edge of which the city is situated slopes uniformly to the south-east,
and contains about one thousand acres ; it is composed of white, yellow, and buff limestones
of the age of the English chalk. The upper beds, from eighteen inches to four feet in
thickness, provide an extremely hard compact stone, called by the Arabs "missae;" whilst
the lower, some forty feet in thickness, consist of a soft white stone termed " malaki." In
this latter bed most of the ancient tombs and cisterns at Jerusalem have been excavated.
The strata are much broken and cracked, so that the rain readily sinks into the ground, and
finds its way downwards through a thousand hidden channels, to be given out at a lower
level. The general direction of this underground flow and of the surface drainage of the
plateau is towards Bir Eyub ("Job's Well"), below the junction of the two main ravines,
Kedron and Hinnom (see page 117).
It was at one time supposed that the quantity of rain which fell at Jerusalem each year
was very large, from fifty to eighty inches, but the average annual rainfall is really not more
than about nineteen inches, and the rainy season is spread over the winter months from
November to March. During the remaining months even a slight shower is of the rarest
occurrence, and the heavens become, to use the graphic language of the Bible, as " brass,"
and the earth as " iron." Every three or four years there is a fall of snow, which lies on the
ground for a day or two ; and, on the other hand, there is occasionally an almost total
failure of rain. The number of cisterns and reservoirs which were excavated or built for
the collection of the rainfall, and the skill exhibited in the construction of the conduits that
brought water into the city, show pretty clearly that there has been no material change in the
climate since the days of the Jewish monarchy.