Easton's Bible Dictionary
(Hebrews `ain; i.e., "eye" of the water desert), a natural source of living water. Palestine was a "land of brooks of water, of fountains, and depths that spring out of valleys and hills" (Deuteronomy 8:7; 11:11).
These fountains, bright sparkling "eyes" of the desert, are remarkable for their abundance and their beauty, especially on the west of Jordan. All the perennial rivers and streams of the country are supplied from fountains, and depend comparatively little on surface water. "Palestine is a country of mountains and hills, and it abounds in fountains of water. The murmur of these waters is heard in every dell, and the luxuriant foliage which surrounds them is seen in every plain." Besides its rain-water, its cisterns and fountains, Jerusalem had also an abundant supply of water in the magnificent reservoir called "Solomon's Pools" (q.v.), at the head of the Urtas valley, whence it was conveyed to the city by subterrean channels some 10 miles in length. These have all been long ago destroyed, so that no water from the "Pools" now reaches Jerusalem. Only one fountain has been discovered at Jerusalem, the so-called "Virgins's Fountains," in the valley of Kidron; and only one well (Hebrews beer), the Bir Eyub, also in the valley of Kidron, south of the King's Gardens, which has been dug through the solid rock. The inhabitants of Jerusalem are now mainly dependent on the winter rains, which they store in cisterns. (see WELL.)
Fountain of the Virgin
The perennial source from which the Pool of Siloam (q.v.) is supplied, the waters flowing in a copious stream to it through a tunnel cut through the rock, the actual length of which is 1,750 feet. The spring rises in a cave 20 feet by 7. A serpentine tunnel 67 feet long runs from it toward the left, off which the tunnel to the Pool of Siloam branches. It is the only unfailing fountain in Jerusalem.
The fountain received its name from the "fantastic legend" that here the virgin washed the swaddling-clothes of our Lord.
This spring has the singular characteristic of being intermittent, flowing from three to five times daily in winter, twice daily in summer, and only once daily in autumn. This peculiarity is accounted for by the supposition that the outlet from the reservoir is by a passage in the form of a siphon.
Noah Webster's New International Dictionary of the English Language
1. (n.) A spring of water issuing from the earth.
2. (n.) An artificially produced jet or stream of water; also, the structure or works in which such a jet or stream rises or flows; a basin built and constantly supplied with pure water for drinking and other useful purposes, or for ornament.
3. (n.) A reservoir or chamber to contain a liquid which can be conducted or drawn off as needed for use; as, the ink fountain in a printing press, etc.
4. (n.) The source from which anything proceeds, or from which anything is supplied continuously; origin; source.