Come into an old courtyard off The Street of the Prophets.
In the old style, Jewish houses of 19th century neighborhoods (outside the Old City wall) were built around a central courtyard. In the winter, rainwater was collected from the roofs into the cistern.
The water was good enough for laundry, washing the floor, irrigation, etc..
Whenever you see a slightly convex paving like this in a back street or in a courtyard, you know it is the arched ceiling of a big cistern below.
At some point in modern history, I think because of epidemics, the cisterns were all locked and were no longer used.
Today, our branch of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel has a dream. Their website says,
"In Jerusalem, some 11,000 cisterns that once provided water for tens of thousands city homes are neglected or blocked off. SPNI-Jerusalem's cistern restoration project intends to use this valuable source of non-potable water for gardens and other purposes."
Oh, and did you notice the old bench in the little garden?
Actually, this post was meant for "Bench of the Week," RuneE's pleasant Friday opportunity for sharing benches of our worlds. His lovely ones are at Visual Norway.