Mikva from Second Temple Period
Photos by Toby Klein Greenwald
(except the photo of Toby, which is by David Willner)
They say there are no coincidences. So one day, when I needed to get our car out of the garage where it was being fixed, I put a note on the Efrat list looking for a ride. David Willner responded that he'd give me a ride, and when we were in the car and saw the long line of traffic to the Gush Etzion junction, he asked if I minded going via "Derech Ha'avot" ("Way of the Patriarchs") and fortunately he had a 4-wheel drive vehicle for the rocky road. I said sure, had never been that way. The road took us by a mikva from the period of the Second Temple. So I got out, took some photographs, and marveled at the "coincidence." Thank you to David, of Foundation Stone, who knows this area (and other areas) well, for his kind guiding and explaining of this important ancient mikva.
Translation of sign at left:
This mikva was dug during the Second Temple period. It's location at the side of the main road from Hevron (Hebron) to Jerusalem, unconnected to any community, and its large size and the careful separation between the entrance and the exit, indicates that this mikva was intended for use by those who made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem during the three holidays (Pesach, Shavuot and Succot).
This is another pit that apparently also had water in it, very nearby the mikva.
A group of tourists came in these vehicles to see the mikva. We call them "tractoronim" (mini-tractors) in Hebrew.