We recently took the 80 minute guided tour called “Behind the Scenes of The Western Wall.” This tour is run by the same group that operates the much more familiar “The Western Wall Tunnels” tour.
One of the interesting finds that we visited was a large ritual bath from the late Second Temple Period (New Testament era) that is located on the lower eastern slope of the Western Hill—west of the Temple Mount proper.
Note the steps that lead down into the ritual bath (miqvah). Our guide suggested that this ritual bath may have been used by the priests that served in the Temple itself. But, since it looks like it would have been difficult to immerse oneself in this bath/pool/basin, our guide said that an alternative view is that it was a place where ritual vessels were washed (purified?). It seems to me that this bath/pool is very similar in design to the larger one that was found by Benjamin Mazar south of the Temple Mount.
Next time, a monumental room from the Late Second Temple Period (New Testament era).
A personal musing follows:
These baths look a lot like the so-called “Balsam Soaking Pools” at New Testament (Herodian) Jericho.
The balsam plantations at Jericho were world famous and this precious commodity was shipped all over the Roman World. See here for a more complete discussion of this pool/bath.