Washington, October 20 (ANI): A new study has determined that Jerusalem's geology has been crucial in molding it into one of the most religiously important cities on the planet.
It started in the year 1000 BCE, when the Jebusite city's water system proved to be its undoing.
The Spring of Gihon sat just outside the city walls, a vital resource in the otherwise parched region.
But, King David, intent on taking the city, sent an elite group of his soldiers into a karst limestone tunnel that fed the spring.
His men climbed up through a cave system hollowed out by flowing water, infiltrated beneath the city walls, and attacked from the inside. David made the city the capital of his new kingdom, and Israel was born.
In a new analysis of historical documents and detailed geological maps, Michael Bramnik of Northern Illinois University will add new geological accents to this pivotal moment in human history.
"The karst geology played a major role in the city's selection by David for his capital," Bramnik said.
It proved to be a wise decision. One of David's successors, King Hezekiah watched as the warlike Assyrian horde, a group of vastly superior warriors toppled city after city in the region.
Fearing that they'd soon come for Jerusalem, he too took advantage of the limestone bedrock and dug a 550 meter-long (1804 feet) tunnel that rerouted the spring's water inside the city's fortified walls.
The Assyrians laid siege to the city in 701 BCE, but failed to conquer it. It was the only city in history to successfully fend them off.
"Surviving the Assyrian siege put it into the people's minds that it was because of their faith that they survived," Bramnik said.
"So when they were captured by the Babylonians in 587, they felt it was because their faith had faltered," he added.
Until then, the Jewish religion had been loosely associated. But that conviction united the Jews through the Babylonian Captivity, "and so began modern congregational religion," Bramnik said.
"I think Jerusalem's geology and the geology of Israel is still significant to life in the region, perhaps even reaching into the political arena," he said. (ANI)