In 1867 Captain Charles Warren, who had served as chief of police in London during the Jack the Ripper murders, was recruited by the Palestine Exploration Fund to study the Levant region.
Warren was assigned the task of conducting a topographical survey of Jerusalem and to gather military intelligence. Leading the largest expedition of its time, Warren discovered an underground water system beneath the old city of Jerusalem. The tunnel was later named Warren’s Shaft in honor of his discovery.
Less than ten years after Warren’s discovery the annual meeting of the PEF was informed the surveyed region was “a land teeming with fertility and rich in history, but almost without an inhabitant – a country without a people, and look! Scattered over the world, a people without a country.” Advocates of Jewish settlement in Palestine later adopted the phrase as a mission statement.
Warren’s discovery became more than a flow of water for tourists to appreciate. It became a river of life, of being and of becoming for the modern State of Israel and the Jewish people.
Written by Richard Paracka