Friday Jul 20, 2012
Wednesday’s terror attack on Ron, from Kiryat Arba, was an example of a true miracle. The boulder hurled at his head, as he prepared to bathe in the Abraham Spring, here in Hebron, was intended to crush his skull. It did leave him with a serious injury, but he is still alive. Only inches from the water, had he fallen in, unconscious, the results would most likely have been tragic.
Since that near-deadly assault, the site of the attack has become a focal point of attention. In truth, the spring is much more important than publicly known.
Researchers, attempting to document ancient communities, can frequently locate such sites via wells, or springs. Or inversely, discovering what might be a tel, one of the ways to identify the area is to locate its water source. For people cannot exist without water. That being the case, where there is water, there may very well have been an early population. And wherever there were people, there had to be a water source.
Tel Hebron, site of the Biblical home of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebeccah and Leah was no different. So it is that a short distance, north-east of the walled city, is that very water source. Due to its proximity to the tel, (today known as Tel Rumeida – or Admot Yishai) the spring is known as Abraham’s Spring. Legend speaks of Abraham and Sarah purifying themselves here, almost 4,000 years ago.
According to Hebron resident and researcher, Aryeh Klein, this spring is referred to in the Bible, at 2 Samuel 4. Here the scripture tells how King David, then ruling in Hebron, hanged two men ‘at the pool in Hebron.’ It is also written about by Mujar a’ Din, in 1496, calling it “Ayn Jadida” – the ‘new spring.’ This name resulted from renovations done, at that time, at the spring. According to several examinations, the spring is 3.7 meters (12 feet) deep . Archeologist Avi Ofer, who also investigated this site, reported that a massive thick wall, inside the spring, may have closed off an underground aqueducts, leading from the pit to the upper level of Tel Hebron.
In recent years, since renewal of the Jewish community in Hebron, this spring is frequently visited. On hot, summer days, such as we’ve experienced this week, Hebron’s children play and swim in its cold waters. Other visitors, from around Israel, bathe and purify themselves in the spring, utilizing it as a “mikva,” a ritual purifying bath. So it was that our friend Ron happened to be there on Wednesday afternoon. That day, and the days preceding, witnessed dozens of people arriving at the spring.
For several days, Hebron youth, working under the supervision of adults, and with permission from Israeli security forces, worked in the area around the spring, trying to clean up the rubbish and renew the area, making it a bit more attractive for people frequenting the place.
Perhaps, as a result of their work, an Arab terrorist decided to ‘take revenge’ for this Jewish chutzpah, - cleaning up an ancient spring – and tried to kill a Jewish man there.
Actually, however, this site is much more significant than has been yet mentioned. Almost one thousand years ago, a Jewish traveler named Rabbi Ya’akov ben Netanel HaCohen, visited the Holy Land and wrote about his experiences. Amongst other places visited was Hebron. One of Israel’s greatest historical researchers, Prof. Ze’ev Vilnai, published Rabbi Ya’akov’s account: “And there (adjacent to the spring) is the place where G-d created the first man, and for that reason people take earth, to use for building or for medicine…”. This place is called ‘the Field of Adam HaRishon,’ – ‘the field of the first man.’
This beautiful legend is quite fitting, as according to very holy Jewish literature, Adam and Eve when trying to discover the way back to the Garden of Eden, dug a cave within a cave, until a voice from the heavens commanded them to stop, saying that they’d dug far enough. Known as the entrance to paradise, or the entrance to the Garden of Eden, this is where the first man and woman were later buried. That site remained hidden until the days of Abraham, who discovered this sacred cave-tomb. That site is today known as Ma’arat HaMachpela – the ‘double cave of Machpela, where later, the Patriarchs and Matriarchs were buried.
Therefore, it seems that not only was the first man buried in Hebron. Here too, he was created, not more than two kilometers from Machpela. I’m sure, if the first man really was created at this spot, he undoubtedly bathed in the waters of the nearby spring.
That being the case, these waters, which purified Adam, and maybe too Eve, as well as Abraham and Sarah, and most likely King David also, are a direct link from the beginning of time, through this very day. Water symbolizes life, for without water there is no life. This spring represents our life, as a people, as a nation, continuing to flow, without stopping, for thousands of years. That is our essence: life, purity and an uninterrupted flow of holiness. This is Hebron, from the Hebrew root ‘lechaber’ – to join together, to unify – bonding us from conception of our world, to the present.
As such, it’s no wonder that Ron’s life was saved by a miracle at this wondrous place: the spring of Creation
Photos and video: David Wilder