Beersheba: the well

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The well at Tel es-Seba` is over 28m deep (at this point the excavators had to cease digging), it seems to have been outside the walls of each stratum of the city, by strata II/III a drainage channels led water from the city streets - including run off from roofs, remains of downspouts have been found - into the "well" which by this time seems to have been used as a cistern. Since fresh well water was much preferable to such collected drainage it seems likely that at this time the well served primarily passing caravans rather than the inhabitants of the city itself.

Parts of a large water system - staircase and retaining wall for the pit (cf. Megiddo and Hazor) - may be being uncovered in the NE corner of the site, this would support this hypothesis.

The well was contained within a structure in stratum VII so certainly existed at this time, the disposition of buildings in stratum XI suggests that it probably existed at that time too, beyond this it is impossible to date. Sadly therefore there is no reason to suppose that this particular well is the one associated with the patriarchs.


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Unless marked otherwise Bible quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America.