The first two of the four rivers that flow from Eden are the most difficult to identify today. My best guess about the first river, the Pishon, is a dried up river bed called by Archeologists “the Kuwait River.” Now, Genesis 2:13 gives us the name of the second river that flows out of Eden: “The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush.” M’clintock argues that the Pishon flowed out of Eden and ran “…towards the east.” Then he adds, “…while the latter (river) turns westward, the Gihon.”[1] The land of Cush, according to the Anchor Dictionary, “Cush in the Old Testament often is associated with south Egypt and Ethiopia (Gen 10:6; 2 Kgs 19:9).”[2]

If the majority opinion of the location of Eden is near Babylon, then the Gihon flowed out of the garden towards the promised land of Canaan and Jerusalem. I only mention this because there are only three major sources of fresh water in Jerusalem and all three have their source from a spring named “Gihon.” An Article in the Biblical Archeological Review, “There are actually three water systems beneath the City of David. All begin at the Gihon Spring, low on the eastern slope, near the floor of the Kidron Valley. Indeed, the city was originally founded here because of the Gihon Spring, Jerusalem’s only freshwater source.”[3] Then another article says, “‘Gushing spring’ aptly translates the name of Jerusalem’s famous Gihon Spring. Located on the eastern flank of the City of David, the spring flows from beneath the stairs, which are probably medieval in origin. As the city’s only freshwater source, the Gihon Spring probably determined the original location of Jerusalem. Its waters were later directed into Jerusalem’s three ancient water systems. The Gihon was also the place where the prophet Nathan anointed King Solomon (1 Kings 1:32–40).”[4]

What interested me most is that the connection with the River flowing out of Eden and the spring that brought all the fresh water to Jerusalem has not gone unnoticed. Stolz observed that “…the temple spring of Jerusalem is called Gihon too. The temple of Jerusalem is, according to the cultic ideology, the centre of the world: so there could be a relation between the insignificant spring Gihon and the cosmic river Gihon.”[5] Then “gushing spring,” the Gihon, is the only source of fresh water in Jerusalem. While the Pishon carried fertility and every good thing from Eden to the East. The Gihon carried all the good things from Eden to the West. Jesus, the one who offered the thief on the cross admittance into Paradise (A name often given to Eden), used the precious commodity of fresh water in Jerusalem to illustrate His identity and mission on earth. In John 9:6-7 we read, “Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam’. So he went and washed and came back seeing.” Then John 7:37-28 says, “On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Finally, In Revelation 21:6, as John concludes his book, as well as the entire Bible, he quotes Jesus once more says, “To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.”

[1] M’Clintock, John, and James Strong. 1894. “Paradise (1).” In Cyclopædia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, 7:654. New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers.

[2] Baker, David W. 1992. “Cushan (Place).” In The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary, edited by David Noel Freedman, 1:1219. New York: Doubleday.

[3] BAR. 1994, 1994.

[4] BAR. 1994, 1994.

[5] Stolz, F. 1999. “River.” In Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, edited by Karel van der Toorn, Bob Becking, and Pieter W. van der Horst, 2nd extensively rev. ed., 709. Leiden; Boston; Köln; Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge: Brill; Eerdmans.