(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. (See WELL .)
(a spring in distinction from a well). The springs of Palestine, though short-lived, are remarkable for their abundance and beauty, especially those which fall into the Jordan and into its lakes, of which there are hundreds throughout its whole course. The spring or fountain of living water, the "eye" of the landscape, is distinguished in all Oriental languages from the artificially-sunk and enclosed well. Jerusalem appears to have possessed either more than one perennial spring or one issuing by more than one outlet. In Oriental cities generally public fountains are frequent. Traces of such fountains at Jerusalem may perhaps be found in the names of Enrogel, ( 2 Samuel 17:17 ) the "Dragon well" or fountain, and the "gate of the fountain." ( Nehemiah 2:13 Nehemiah 2:14 )
In a country where no rain falls for half of the year, springs sume an importance unknown in more favored lands. In both eastern and western Palestine and even in Lebanon there are many villages which depend entirely upon reservoirs or cisterns of rain water. Others are situated along the courses of the few perennial streams. But wherever a spring exists it is very apt to be the nucleus of a village. It may furnish sufficient water to be used in irrigation, in which case the gardens surrounding the village become an oasis in the midst of the parched land. Or there may be a tiny stream which barely suffices for drinking water, about which the village women and girls sit and talk waiting their turns to fill their jars, sometimes until far in the night. The water of the village fountain is often conveyed by a covered conduit for some distance from the source to a convenient spot in the village where an arch is built up, under which the water gushes out. See CISTERN; SPRING; WELL; EN-, and place-names compounded with EN-.
(2) of Divine pardon and purification, with an obvious Messianic reference (Zechariah 13:1);
(4) of wives (Proverbs 5:18);
(7) of the heart (Ecclesiastes 12:6; see CISTERN);
Alfred Ely Day
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