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The St. Maroun spring in Ghouma, Lebanon

In December 2012 a survey was carried out to the inhabitants in order to examine their views of the spring. In this respect 34 questionnaires were filled (refer to Annex).  

Apparently the inhabitants of Ghouma consider the St. John Maroun spring very important, or even holy, as it is located in a holy valley next to seventeen hermitages and close to the Monastery of Saint Refka. The hermits that once lived in the valley used to drink from its water.

During the survey the inhabitants informed us of various stories around the spring:

  • Their parents used to go there to get drinking water, to wash their clothes ...for promenades, picnics, hunting activities and collection of myrtle.
  • People used to spend time next to this spring while traveling from one village to another.
  • There are many stories about the difficulty of transporting water from the spring to the houses; many persons used to slip with the water jars while doing that.
  • There are stories about hyenas and foxes that used to attack people while getting water from the spring.
  • Some inhabitants used the insects/larvae of the water as a cure for those with high blood pressure... by putting the insect behind the ear (once the insect touches the human body it sucks quantities of blood and consequently reduces blood pressure)
  • Some used to shower themselves with its water to protect themselves from diseases considering it a holy water.
  • Others used to spray its water in their houses to repel insects and reptiles.
  • There is a story about a shepherd who left his goat next to the spring and he prepared for it the necessary food. At night the fox killed the goat and the people assumed that it was a punishment for the shepherd because he left his goat next to the holy spring.
  • There is a story about warriors who stayed in the valley of Harba and used the spring as a source of drinking water while fighting with the Mamlouks; around the year 1299.
  • There are stories about the presence of a church next to the spring where women used to visit it for taking vows to get pregnant; and that the vows were fulfilled by many women among who were the wives of Tannous Mkhayil and Hanna Dib who both got pregnant after the age of 50!