THE ROCKY HILLS

The rocky hills of Judea, Samaria, and Galilee made these roads very rough travel. With considerable distances separating towns and villages, the peril of bandits was always present, even under Roman rule, as illustrated in the parable of the Good Samaritan; and after nightfall there was often danger from wild beasts.

Similarly, on the site of the Temple itself at different periods through the thousands of years of occupation, outcrops of rock have been leveled down, and lower portions lifted, so that the impossible adventure of destroying the existing vast and sacred pavement and the Moslem buildings on it would be necessary in order to arrive at even an approximation to the original Contours.

A vital fact geographically about the hills on which Jerusalem was built lies in the curious geological formation. On the surface is a very hard limestone with lines of flint within it. Below this brittle top is a deep bed of beautiful white limestone, uncommonly soft before it is exposed, but hardening when out in the air. It is easy for masons to cut out perfect blocks for building purposes. Underneath this deep deposit of porous limestone is a third layer. It is still of limestone, but intensely hard and impenetrable to the movement of water.

Obviously Jerusalem, lacking, as it does, springs of water, could not have supported a considerable population apart from the fact that this curious geological formation made it possible to hew out stupendous cisterns in the soft, porous limestone to which the third layer of impervious rock made a perfect bottom. In this way the city was literally honeycombed, as it is today, with these great water cisterns that hold in the aggregate many millions of gallons of rainwater. The Pool of Hezekiah, the scene of one of Jesus Christ's miracles, is just such a cistern and can be seen today.

The second important and interesting result of this soft and white nature of the middle layer of rock, together with its power to harden swiftly in the air, is the creation of the vast quarries that run underground deep and far beneath the surface of Jerusalem. A convincing explanation of the strange achievement by which in the building of Solomon's Temple no sound of mallet or chisel was heard lies in the creation, probably by Solomon, of these underground quarries where the great blocks of stone could be hewn into exact shape without a sound being heard at ground level, and then dragged on rollers to the surface, and on to the plateau of what became the Temple area.

Next JERUSALEM - FASHIONED FOR A KING

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