(gi' huhn) Place name meaning, “gushing fountain.” The primary water supply for Jerusalem and one of the four rivers into which the river of Eden divided (Genesis 2:13). The river cannot be identified with any contemporary river.
During the Old Testament period the spring of Gihon was the primary water supply for the city of Jerusalem. The name comes from a Hebrew word meaning, “a bursting forth,” and is descriptive of the spring which is located in the Kidron Valley. It does not produce a steady flow, but gushes out at irregular intervals, twice a day in the dry season to four or five times in the rainy season. Water issues from a crack sixteen feet long in the rock. At some point in the ancient past a wall was built at the eastern end of the crack, diverting water into a cave at the other end. In the Jebusite period before David a shaft went from the spring to a pool under the city. Water jugs were let down into the pool through another vertical shaft. This probably was the way Joab entered into the city and captured it for David (2 Samuel 5:8;
1 Chronicles 11:6). During the early Israelite occupation, water was collected outside the city walls in an open basin called the “upper pool” (Isaiah 7:3). An open aqueduct carried water from there to the “old pool” at the southern end of the city (Isaiah 22:11; cf.
Isaiah 8:6). Along this conduit Isaiah confronted Ahaz (Isaiah 7:3), and later Sennacherib's army demanded the city's surrender (2 Kings 18:17). Before Sennacherib's arrival, Hezekiah plugged the aqueduct and dug his famous water tunnel (2 Kings 20:20;
2 Chronicles 32:30). See Eden; Hezekiah; Jerusalem; Kidron Valley; Siloam; Water.