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king david’s wells

A few streets from the Church of the Nativity, near the Catholic Action Center, are King David’s Wells. In eastern Bethlehem, three enormous cisterns that are still in use today were discovered. King David’s troops allegedly broke past the Philistine defenses here to bring him water, but despite risking their lives to do so, he declined to drink it. Some others think the King is really interred at the nearby Church of St. David rather than in the tomb in Jerusalem.

History background

Three enormous cisterns that were carved out of the rock are located along the route that leaves Bethlehem. Tradition refers to these as “the cistern that is in Bethlehem at the entrance,” also known as “David’s Wells.” During a fight with the Philistines, David had dispatched his warriors to the location to get him a drink.

 He was encamped close to Bethlehem while it was a Philistine garrison. David cried out, “Oh that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!” as he turned to face the town of Bethlehem.
According to the legend, when the soldiers found David’s hiding place in the cave of Adulam, he was unwilling to drink the water.

East of these cisterns, in 1895, a mosaic pavement from a fifth- or sixth-century church with a Greek inscription was found. The cathedral was perched atop a large necropolis. Inscriptions at the cemetery attest to its Christian heritage. In Ras Eftais, a region of Bethlehem to the east, are the cisterns.

A church with Greek inscriptions and mosaic-paved floors may be seen to the east. It was found in 1895.


who is kind David

The third monarch of the Kingdom of Israel, according to the Hebrew Bible.  He is portrayed in the Books of Samuel as a teenage shepherd and harpist who becomes famous for defeating the Philistine champion Goliath in southern Canaan. Saul, the first king of Israel, chooses David as his favorite, and he also develops a particularly strong bond with Jonathan, Saul’s son.

Saul, however, makes an effort to assassinate David because he believes he is trying to take the throne. As a result, David must flee and spend several years living as a wanted man. A 30-year-old man named David is crowned king over all of Israel and Judah after Saul and Jonathan are both murdered in combat with the Philistines.

visiting King david’s wells

Three water cisterns known as King David’s Wells are situated on the grounds of the Catholic Action Center, a short distance from the Church of the Nativity. The still-in-use wells are connected to the location where David’s troops crossed the Philistine defenses to bring him drinking water. The king refused to drink from the water that his troops had sacrificed their lives to obtain when they arrived back to the Cave of Adullam, where he and his supporters were sheltering.

Just beyond the cisterns, in 1895, fragments of a Byzantine church’s mosaic and an underground monks’ cemetery were found.

Opening times are from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Location: King David’s Roundabout and Star Street in Bethlehem

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