The Foundation Stone is the name of the rock at the heart of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Jews traditionally face it while praying, in the belief that it was the location of the Holy of Holies in the Temple. Muslims believe that angels visited the site 2,000 years before the creation of Adam, the place to which Muhammad traveled in the Night Journey and it’s the place where Israfel, the angel of the trumpet, will sound his horn on Resurrection Day. Map.
Many sages from the Talmud were mentioned about the Foundation Stone.
God took the Foundation Stone and threw it into the depths and from it the world expanded. It’s the center point of the world and the first part of the Earth to come into existence.
Also it was close to the Foundation Stone, that God gathered the earth and created Adam.
It was on this rock that Adam—and later Cain, Abel, and Noah—offered sacrifices to God.
Jewish sources identify this rock as the place mentioned in the Bible where Abraham fulfilled God’s test to see if he would be willing to sacrifice his son Isaac.
It is also identified as the rock upon which Jacob dreamt about angels ascending and descending on a ladder and consequently consecrating and offering a sacrifice upon.
When (according to the Bible) King David purchased a threshing floor owned by Araunah the Jebusite (Canaanites), it is believed that it was upon this rock that he offered the sacrifice mentioned in the verse.
He wanted to construct a permanent temple there, but as his hands were “bloodied”, he was forbidden to do so himself. The task was left to his son Solomon, who completed the Temple in c. 950 BCE.
Situated inside the Holy of Holies, this was the rock upon which the Ark of the Covenant was placed in the First Temple.
During the Second Temple period when the Ark of the Covenant was not present, the stone was used by the High Priest who offered up the incense and sprinkled the blood of the sacrifices on it during the Yom Kippur service.
The rock itself is 90-million-year-old and quite different compared with rocks surrounding it. The southern side of the Foundation Stone forms a ledge, with a gap between it and the surrounding ground; a set of steps currently uses this gap to provide access from the Dome of the Rock to the Well of Souls beneath it.
The rock has several human-made cuts in its surface, created by the Crusaders. Flat sections on the stone indicates foundation trenches on top of which the walls of the original temple were laid.
The Well of Souls is a partly natural, partly man-made cave located inside the Foundation Stone under the Dome of the Rock shrine in Jerusalem. For Muslims, the spirits of the dead can be heard awaiting Judgment Day. For Christians, the site is known as the Holy of Holies and is venerated as a possible “site of the annunciation of John the Baptist”. The Well of Souls has also other names: Pit of Souls, Cave of Spirits, and Well of Spirits in Islam.
There was never an archeological investigation because of political and diplomatic sensitivities. And that means that the mystery only gets more mystified!
For Christian Pilgrims it’s one of the places to visit. It’s not for nothing the Holy of Holies. It’s also the place covered in mysteries …
The Well of Souls, located on Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, may contain the fabled and elusive Ark of the Covenant. This is the sacred vessel that, according to biblical account, contained the original Ten Commandments tablets that God gave to Moses at Mount Sinai as the ancient Israelites wandered the desert.
The Well of Souls is purportedly located below a natural cave under the rock upon which Jewish tradition says Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac. Islamic tradition indicates Muhammad ascended to heaven from this same stone.
No one knows with absolute certainty whether the Well of Souls—or the Ark of the Covenant—actually exists. Though knocking on the floor of the cave under the Muslim Dome of the Rock shrine elicits a resounding hollow echo, no one has ever seen this alleged chamber. The Temple Mount itself is rife with a network of some 45 cisterns, chambers, tunnels, and caves.
There has never been any proper archaeological exploration of the site, which is under control of the Waqf Muslim religious trust.
The famed 19th-century British explorers Charles Wilson and Sir Charles Warren could neither prove nor disprove the existence of a hollow chamber below the cave. They believed the sound reportedly heard by visitors was simply an echo in a small fissure beneath the floor.
Shimon Gibson, senior fellow at the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem, published a definitive review together with colleague David Jacobson called Below the Temple Mount in Jerusalem: A Sourcebook on the Cisterns, Subterranean Chambers and Conduits of the Haram Al-Sharif. “Since the 19th century, no Westerner has been allowed access to the subterranean chambers on the Temple Mount,” Gibson said.
The Temple Mount and the natural cave below the Dome of the Rock are periodically open to tourists, depending upon the local security and political situation.
Both Jewish and Muslim traditions relate to what may lie beneath the Foundation Stone, the earliest of them found in the Talmud in the former and understood to date to the 12th and 13th centuries in the latter.
The Talmud indicates that the Stone marks the center of the world and serves as a cover for the Abyss containing the raging waters of the Flood.
Muslim tradition likewise places it at the center of the world and over a bottomless pit with the flowing waters of Paradise underneath. A palm tree is said to grow out of the River of Paradise here to support the Stone.
Noah is said to have landed here after the Flood. The souls of the dead are said to be audible here as they await the Last Judgment.
The Crusaders recaptured Jerusalem in 1099 and converted the Dome of the Rock into a church, calling it the Templum Domini, or the Temple of the Lord.
They were cutting away much of the rock to make staircases and paving the Stone over with marble slabs. They enlarged the main entrance of the cave and probably are also responsible for creating the shaft ascending from the center of the chamber. The Crusaders called the cave the “Holy of Holies” and venerated it as the site of the announcement of John the Baptist’s birth.
The earliest reference to a “pierced rock” (the shaft in the cave’s roof) may be that in the Itinerarium Burdigalense by the anonymous “Pilgrim of Bordeaux” who visited Jerusalem in 333 AD.
References to the “Well of Souls” under the Foundation Stone date back at least to the 10th-century Persian writer Ibn al-Faqih who mentions it as an Islamic sacred site.
The 11th-century Persian writer and traveler Nasir-i Khusraw related the traditional story of the origin of the cave in his classic travelogue Safarnama:
They say that on the night of his Ascension into heaven, the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, prayed first at the Dome of the Rock, laying his hand upon the Rock. As he went out, the Rock, to do him honor, rose up, but he laid his hand on it to keep it in its place and firmly fixed it there. But by reason of this rising up, it is even to this present day partly detached from the ground beneath.
The definitive modern review of the Well of Souls, along with other underground openings beneath the Temple Mount, is in Shimon Gibson and David Jacobson’s Below the Temple Mount in Jerusalem: A Sourcebook on the Cisterns, Subterranean Chambers and Conduits of the Haram Al-Sharif.
Monday Evening prayer and praise – 18:30 in the church
Friday/Saturday Messianic Worship – Days and times vary
Sunday Morning Holy Communion Service – 09:30
Sunday Evening Worship – 19:00
Wednesday Morning Eucharist – 08:00
Wednesday Morning Ladies’ Bible Study – 10:00 in the rectory
Wednesday Evening Study – 19:00 in conference room