(Heb 'ain; i.e., "eye" of the water desert), a natural source of living water. Palestine was a "land of brooks of water, of fountains, and depths that spring out of valleys and hills" (De 8:7; 11:11).
These fountains, bright sparkling "eyes" of the desert, are remarkable for their abundance and their beauty, especially on the west of Jordan. All the perennial rivers and streams of the country are supplied from fountains, and depend comparatively little on surface water. "Palestine is a country of mountains and hills, and it abounds in fountains of water. The murmur of these waters is heard in every dell, and the luxuriant foliage which surrounds them is seen in every plain." Besides its rain-water, its cisterns and fountains, Jerusalem had also an abundant supply of water in the magnificent reservoir called "Solomon's Pools" (q.v.), at the head of the Urtas valley, whence it was conveyed to the city by subterrean channels some 10 miles in length. These have all been long ago destroyed, so that no water from the "Pools" now reaches Jerusalem. Only one fountain has been discovered at Jerusalem, the so-called "Virgins's Fountains," in the valley of Kidron; and only one well (Heb beer), the Bir Eyub, also in the valley of Kidron, south of the King's Gardens, which has been dug through the solid rock. The inhabitants of Jerusalem are now mainly dependent on the winter rains, which they store in cisterns. (See Well.)
Ayin, or 'eeyn, in many names, "the eye" of the landscape as distinguished from the artificially sunk and enclosed well. (See ENGEDI; ENEGLAIM) Also mayan, etc. The natural bursting of waters from the ground, which drank of the rain of heaven (De 8:7; 11:11), would on Israel's entrance into Canaan form a striking contrast to Egypt watered from below "with the foot," i.e. either by treadwheels working pumps, or by artificial rills led in ducts from the Nile, the petty embankments being removed with the foot to let in the stream. Canaan as a mountainous country depended for its crops on the rain from above, without which in the late autumn to quicken the newly sown seed, and in the spring to swell the grain, the harvest would fail.
The configuration of the country did not favor much irrigation. "The eyes of the Lord, Israel's God, were always upon the land from the beginning of the year even unto the end," so long as Israel was faithful (De 11:11-12). Egypt symbolizes spiritually the world drawing all its resources, material, intellectual, and moral, from beneath. The Holy Land answers to the church, all whose supplies are continually from above (Ps 87:7; Joh 8:23). When the country was more wooded its brooks were more filled than now, and though short lived now are remarkable still for their beauty.
Thus to Palestine peculiarly of eastern lauds the psalmist's language is appropriate, "He sendeth the springs into the valleys which run among the hills" (Ps 104:10). De 8:7; "a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills." Hot springs of volcanic origin are found near the sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. Philip built Tiberias at the sulphureous hot springs S. of the sea of Galilee. Besides the main supply of cistern rain water Jerusalem had at least one perennial spring issuing by more than one outlet (Tacitus, Hist., 5:12, "fons perennis aquae".) Jerusalem evidently possessed public fountains (Ne 2:13-14), "the dragon well... the gate of the fountain" (2Sa 17:17). (See ENROGEL.)
A word applied to living springs of water as contrasted with cisterns (Le 11:35); specifically of Besr-lahai-roi (Ge 16:7), Elim (Nu 33:8, RV here 'springs'), Nephtoah (Jos 15:9), and Jezreel (1Sa 29:1). The porous chalky limestone of Palestine abounds in good springs of water, which, owing to their importance in a country rainless half the year, were eagerly coveted (Jg 1:15). In many springs the flow of water has been directed and increased by enlarging to tunnels the fissures through which the water trickled; many of these tunnels are of considerable length. Specimens exist at Urtas. Bittir, and other places near Jerusalem.
R. A. S. Macalister.
1. bor, 'pit, well:' translated 'fountain' only in Jer 6:7.
4. mayan (from ayin); translated 'spring.' '/Psalm/87/7/type/am'>Ps 87:7; '/Psalm/104/10/type/am'>104:10; 'well,' Jos 18:15; 2Ki 3:19,25; Ps 84:6; Isa 12:3; and 'fountain' often, as at the flood. Ge 7:11; 8:2; 2Ch 32:4; Ps 74:15; 114:8; Cant. 4:12, 15; Joe 3:18.
5. maqor, ????, 'source, perpetual spring.' This is rendered 'spring' in Pr 25:26; Jer 51:36; Ho 13:15. It is used for the 'fountain of blood,' Mr 5:29; the 'fountain of life,' as applied to Jehovah for Israel, Ps 36:9; the 'fountain of tears,' Jer 9:1; the 'fountain of living waters.' Jer 2:13; 17:13; Re 7:17; 21:6.
The fountains form a striking feature in Palestine, which is described as "a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills." De 8:7.
In the modern names of localities in Palestine the prefix ain or en signifies a 'well;' and bir or beer signifies a fountain or spring, often artificially enclosed. The water from such is called 'living water' in distinction from the water in wells or cisterns.
(a spring in distinction from a well). The springs of Palestine, though short-lived, are remarkable for their abundance and beauty, especially those which fall into the Jordan and into its lakes, of which there are hundreds throughout its whole course. The spring or fountain of living water, the "eye" of the landscape, is distinguished in all Oriental languages from the artificially-sunk and enclosed well. Jerusalem appears to have possessed either more than one perennial spring or one issuing by more than one outlet. In Oriental cities generally public fountains are frequent. Traces of such fountains at Jerusalem may perhaps be found in the names of Enrogel,
the "Dragon well" or fountain, and the "gate of the fountain."
FOUNTAIN is properly the source or spring-head of waters. There were several celebrated fountains in Judea, such as that of Rogel, of Gihon, of Siloam, of Nazareth, &c; and allusions to them are often to be met with in both the Old and New Testament. Dr. Chandler, in his travels in Asia Minor, says, "The reader, as we proceed, will find frequent mention of fountains. Their number is owing to the nature of the country and the climate. The soil, parched and thirsty, demands moisture to aid vegetation; and a cloudless sun, which inflames the air, requires for the people the verdure, with shade and air, its agreeable attendants. Hence fountains, are met with, not only in the towns and villages, but in the fields and gardens, and by the sides of the roads, and of the beaten tracks on the mountains. Many of them are the useful donations of humane persons while living, or have been bequeathed as legacies on their decease." As fountains of water were so extremely valuable to the inhabitants of the eastern countries, it is easy to understand why the inspired writers so frequently allude to them, and thence deduce some of their most beautiful and striking similitudes, when they would set forth the choicest spiritual blessings. Thus Jeremiah calls the blessed God, "the fountain of living waters," Jer 2:13. As those springs or fountains of water are the most valuable and highly prized which never intermit or cease to flow, but are always sending forth their streams; such is Jehovah to his people: he is a perennial source of felicity. Zechariah, pointing in his days to the atonement which was to be made in the fulness of time, by the shedding of the blood of Christ, describes it as a fountain that was to be opened in which the inhabitants of Jerusalem might wash away all their impurities: "In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness," Zec 13:1. Joel predicted the salvation which was to come out of Zion, under the beautiful figure of "a fountain which should come forth out of the house of the Lord, and water the plain of Shittim," Joe 3:18. The Psalmist, expatiating on the excellency of the loving-kindness of God, not only as affording a ground of hope to the children of men, but also as the source of consolation and happiness, adds, "Thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures; for with thee is the fountain of life," Ps 36:7-9. In short, the blessedness of the heavenly state is shadowed forth under this beautiful figure; for as "in the divine presence there is fulness of joy, and at God's right hand, pleasures for evermore," Ps 16:11; so it is said of those who came out of great tribulation, that "the Lamb that was in the midst of the throne shall lead them unto living fountains of water, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes," Re 7:17.