A place evidently well known, since the position of Aenon, the springs where John was baptizing, was defined by reference to it: they were "near to Salim" (John 3:23). It must be sought on the West of the Jordan, as will be seen from comparison of John 1:28; 3:26; 10:40. Many identifications have been proposed: e.g. that of Alford with Shilhim and Ain in the South of Judah; that of Busching with `Ain Karim, and that of Barclay, who would place Salim in Wady Suleim near `Anata, making Aenon the springs in Wady Far`ah. These are all ruled out by their distance from the district where John is known to have been at work. If there were no other objection to that suggested by Conder (Tent Work, 49 f) following Robinson (BR, III, 333) with Salim in the plain East of Nablus, Aenon being `Ainun in Wady Far`ah, it would be sufficient to say that this is in the very heart of Samaria, and therefore impossible. In any case the position of Aenon, 6 miles distant, with a high ridge intervening, would hardly be defined by the village of Salim, with the important city of Shechem quite as near, and more easily accessible.
Onomasticon places Aenon 8 Roman miles South of Scythopolis (Beisan), near Salumias (Salim) and the Jordan. This points to Tell Ridhghah, on the northern side of which is a shrine known locally as Sheikh Selim. Not far off, by the ruins of Umm el-`Amdan, there are seven copious fountains which might well be called Aenon, "place of springs."
There is reason to believe that this district did not belong to Samaria, but was included in the lands of Scythopolis, which was an important member of the league of ten cities.
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