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Mary's Spring

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Did Mary Gather Water From This Spring

Location – Ein Karem

Map Coordinates - 31.765337, 35.161087

In the ancient days, this was the center of town in Ein Karem. It was the watering hole for everyone who lived around this valley. In fact, the name Ein Karem comes from this very spot, since Ein Karem means Spring of the Vineyard. This land was the vineyard, and this was the spring.

This is a fresh-water spring, and everyone in town used to come here to gather their drinking water. Of course, they collected rainwater in cisterns, but this was like the community faucet. Today the water is contaminated, and is no longer safe to drink. Just like Mary’s Well in Nazareth, it is a misnomer to call this Mary’s Spring, or as some call it the Fountain of the Virgin, because this was the spring for this entire town of Ein Karem for thousands of years.

The most famous visitor to this town, that being Mary, probably visited this spring several times during the three months that she was here visiting Elizabeth.

Elizabeth was in her sixth month of pregnancy when Mary first came to Ein Karem. During the three months that Mary stayed with her, she was probably a big help in fetching water for Elizabeth, who was both old and very pregnant at the time.

If you’ve ever walked up the hill between this spring and the Church of the Visitation, you know that the walk can be somewhat aggressive.

Luke 1:40 says that Mary met Elizabeth after entering their home, but it’s possible that Mary stopped here first to quench her thirst before she ascended the hill to the place now known as the Church of the Visitation. There is little doubt that Mary was at this well several times, both drinking and fetching water. The mouth of this spring reveals a rock-hewn tunnel that is about 100 feet long, and this tunnel was constructed during the time of Jesus, or shortly before, in order to increase the spring's capacity. In other words, this tunnel may have been here when Mary visited this spot. Perhaps what you are looking at here is what Mary herself saw when she came to get water. Was Jesus ever here? I believe that He was, at least as a child.

Jesus came to the Temple up to three times every year to celebrate the feasts that were ordered by the Law of Moses. Ein Karem was nearby, and this was the home of the relatives of both Jesus and Mary. After all, Jesus and John were cousins. They were both thirty years old when Jesus was baptized by John, and during this baptism it seems very apparent that the two of them knew each other from their previous relationship. If Jesus was ever in Ein Karem, then He must have gotten thirsty, and that might have put him right here at Mary’s Spring.

Jesus and Mary fetching water at the spring in Ein Karem.

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