Pool is the rendering in the A. V. of the following Heb. and Greek words:
1. Usually בּרֵכָה, berekâh (Sept. κρήνη or κολυμβήθρα), or בּרָכָה, berekâh (Ps 84:6, SEE BERACHAH ), from בָּרִך, "to fall on the knees" (see Jg 7:5-6). This word is akin to the Arabic Birkeli, and its Spanish form Al-berca. In the Old Test. it stands for the larger reservoirs of rain or spring water; while bor, "cistern," is used for the smaller domestic tanks, of which every house had one or more. Some are supplied by springs, and some are merely receptacles for rain-water (Burckhardt, Syria, p. 314). It is thus applied to the large public reservoirs, corresponding to the tanks of India, belonging to the towns of Gibeon (2Sa 2:13), Hebron (4:12), Samaria (1Ki 22:38), and Jerusalem; "the upper pool," 2Ki 18:17; Isa 7:3; Isa 34:2 (now the "Birket el-Mamilla"); "the lower pool," Isa 22:9,11 ("Birket es- Sultan"); "Hezekiah's pool," 2Ki 20:20 ("Birket el-Hammhm");
"the king's pool," Ne 2:14 ("the fountain of the Virgin"); "the pool of Siloah," Ne 3:15 ("Birket Silwan"); and "the old pool," Isa 22:11. We read also (Ec 2:6) of the "pools" or cisterns made by Solomon to irrigate his gardens. The importance of these reservoirs in a country possessing scarcely more than one perennial stream, and where wells are few and inconsiderable, can hardly be estimated by those accustomed to an unfailing abundance of the precious fluid. In Jer 14:3 we have a powerful description of the disappointment caused by the failure of the water in the cisterns (גֵּבַים; A. V. "pits;" comp. Isa 42:15; Jer 2:13). In modern Palestine they are often very filthy, although in constant use (Thomson, Land and Book, 1, 316). SEE WATER.
2. Agâm, אָגָם (Isa 14:23; Isa 35:7; Isa 41:18; Isa 42:15); elsewhere "pond" (q.v.).
3. Mikvêh, מַקַוַה (Ex 7:19), a gathering together (i.e. of water), as rendered Ge 1:10.
4. In the New Test. κολυμβήθρα, only in Joh 5:2; Joh 9:7.
The following are the principal reservoirs mentioned in the Bible:
a. A pool of Hezekiah, 2Ki 20:20 (comp. Sirach, 48:17 ). It was a basin which that king had opened in the city, and fed by a watercourse (תּעָלָה, "conduit"). In 2Ch 32:30 it is said more definitely that Hezekiah conducted the water from the upper pool of (Cihon in the west of the city. This pool of Hezekiah, called by the Arabs Birket el-Hanlunenz, is pointed out by tradition in the north-western part of the modern city, not far east of the Jaffa gate (Robinson, 2, 134 sq.). And there is no doubt that this is the true location, since the waters of the upper pool of Gihon (Birket el-Mamilla) flow through small, roughly built aqueducts in the vicinity of the Jaffa gate, and thus reach the Birket el- Hanum (Robinson, 1, 396). SEE HEZEKIAH'S POOL.
b. The upper pool (בּרֵכָה עֶליוֹנָה) and the lower pool (בּרֵכָה תִּחתּוֹנָה), the former lying near the fuller's field, and on the road to it, outside of the city (Isa 7:3; Isa 36:2; 2Ki 18:17), and connecting with a watercourse. The lower pool is named in Isa 22:9. There still remain in the west of the city two water-basins, an upper and a lower; the one called Biuket el-amnzilla, at the head of the valley of Gihon, and the other Birket es-Sultcan, somewhat farther down the valley southward, almost in a line with the south wall of the city (Robinson, 2, 129 sq.). They are generally known as the upper and the lower pool of Gihon. It supports the identification of these with "the upper and lower pools" that there are no other similar or corresponding reservoirs in the neighborhood; and the western position of the upper pool suits well the circumstances mentioned in Scripture (see Isa 36:2; 2Ki 18:17; comp. Knobel, Isaiah p. 153, 257). It may be added that a trustworthy tradition places the fuller's field westward of the city (Robinson, ut sup. p. 128). SEE GIHON.
c. The old pool (בּרֵכָה ישָׁנָה), not far from the double wall (חֹמֹתִיַם, "two walls"), Isa 22:11. This double wall was near the royal garden (2Ki 25:4; Jer 39:4), which must be sought in the southeast of the city, near the fountain of Siloam (Ne 3:15). Near the mouth of the Tyropoeon there are still two reservoirs or cisterns (Robinson, 1, 384; 2, 146), a smaller one hollowed out in the rock, and the other, a little larger, lying a short distance to the south of the former, and receiving its water. The water flows from an opening in the rock a few feet north of the lessen basin; i.e. from the fountain of Siloam. The larger of these basins is doubtless the pool of Siloam, and the smaller is possibly the "old pool," and the same with the artificial pool named in Ne 3:16 as in this vicinity (Robinson, 2, 146; comp. Thenius, in Illgen's Zeitschr. 1844, 1, 22 sq.). Perhaps, however, we may rather understand the passage in Isaiah as referring to a mere damming up of the Tyropoeon itself between the two parallel parts of the old wall lining the sides of the valley, for the purpose of containing (temporarily during the siege) the waters of the then "old" (i.e. superseded) pool of Gihon outside the city, thus diverted into a new channel. SEE JERUSALEM.
d. The king's pool (בַּרֵכִת הִמֶּלֶך, Ne 2:14) is probably to be found in the fountain of the Virgin Mary, on the east side of Ophel (Robinson, 2, 102, 149), and is perhaps the same with the pool of Solomon (κολυμβήθρα Σολομῶνος) mentioned by Josephus as on this side of the city (War, 5, 4, 2; comp. Thenius, op. cit. p. 25). With less probability Schultz (Jerus. p. 58) takes the pool which lies south of Siloam, and which is now half choked with earth, for the king's pool. SEE JERUSALEM.
In Josephus, besides the foregoing, we find the sparrow's pool (τὸ Στρονθίον, which may have a different meaning; see Beekman, Emfind. 4, 19), opposite the Castle of Antonia, in the north of the city (War, 5, 11, 4), now Birket Israil, or perhaps Birket el-Hejjah; the pool of almonds (ἀμύγδαλον), on the east side, at some distance from the city (War, ut sup.); the pool of serpents (κολυμβήθρα τῶν ὄφεων), near Herod's monument (Joseph. War, 5, 3, 2), between Scopus (a hill seven stadia, or a mile, from the city, Joseph. War, 2, 19, 4) and the city, and hence to the north, perhaps near the road to Shechem (Robinson, 1, 400; 2, 43, 189 sq.). This must, then, be different from the dragon well (serpent well) in Ne 2:13, which lay between the dung-gate in the south-west and the valley (comp. Thenius, op. cit. p. 17). There is no trace of it now to be found, for Birket el-Mamilla is to be identified with the upper pool, as above (Schultz, p. 67). SEE JERUSALEM.
For the pools of Gibeon, Hebron, Samaria, Solomon, Bethesda, and Siloam, see those words respectively. SEE FOUNTAIN.