|Fountain - |
''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 (Deuteronomy 8:7; Deuteronomy 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 (Deuteronomy 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 (Psalm 87:7; John 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" (Psalm 104:10). Deuteronomy 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 (Nehemiah 2:13-14), "the dragon well... the gate of the fountain" (2 Samuel 17:17). (See ENROGEL.)