Aqueduct At Caesarea Maritima, Israel

by David Padfield

Aqueduct at Caesarea Maritima, Israel

The city of Caesarea Maritima was one of the most important cities in Israel during the time of Christ and the first few centuries of the early church. It was the home of Cornelius, the first Gentile convert (Acts 10:1) and of Philip the evangelist (Acts 8:40). Herod Antipas was smitten by an angel of the Lord at Caesarea (Acts 12:21-23) and the apostle Paul visited the city on many occasions (Acts 9:30; 23:23-35).

In this first century this city was usually referred to as Caesarea of Palestine, but is now referred to as Caesarea Maritima, i.e., Caesarea by the Sea. When Judea was ruled by the Romans, their governors resided in Caesarea. "The Romans annexed Judaea in 6 B.C., and made Caesarea the headquarters of the provincial governor and his administration. Of these governors Pontius Pilate was one. At first the province was known as Judaea, later Palestina. In A.D. 66, when the Jews revolted, the pagans massacred most of the Jewish population. Vespasian wintered here, and gave the city the status of a Roman colony, making its citizens full Roman citizens." (Freeman-Grenville, The Holy Land, p. 135).

There are no natural sources of fresh water at Caesarea and the demand for water during the Roman occupation was considerable. The Roman legions built an aqueduct (see photograph above) to bring water from the foothills of Mt. Carmel, about eight miles away. A channel four miles long was cut through natural rock and for the remaining four miles water was piped into an aqueduct.