Fountain: (Heb. 'ain; i.e., "eye" of the water desert), a natural source of
living water. Palestine was a "land of brooks of water, of fountains,
and depths that spring out of valleys and hills"
(Deuteronomy 8:7; 11:11) These
fountains, bright sparkling "eyes" of the desert, are remarkable for
their abundance and their beauty, especially on the west of Jordan.
All the perennial rivers and streams of the country are supplied from
fountains, and depend comparatively little on surface water.
"Palestine is a country of mountains and hills, and it abounds in
fountains of water. The murmur of these waters is heard in every
dell, and the luxuriant foliage which surrounds them is seen in every
plain." Besides its rain-water, its cisterns and fountains, Jerusalem
had also an abundant supply of water in the magnificent reservoir
called "Solomon's Pools" (q.v.), at the head of the Urtas valley,
whence it was conveyed to the city by subterrean channels some 10
miles in length. These have all been long ago destroyed, so that no
water from the "Pools" now reaches Jerusalem. Only one fountain has
been discovered at Jerusalem, the so-called "Virgins's Fountains," in
the valley of Kidron; and only one well (Heb. beer), the Bir Eyub,
also in the valley of Kidron, south of the King's Gardens, which has
been dug through the solid rock. The inhabitants of Jerusalem are now
mainly dependent on the winter rains, which they store in cisterns.