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the translation of a Hebrew word bor, which means a receptacle for water conveyed to it; distinguished from beer, which denotes a place where water rises on the spot (Jer. 2:13; Prov. 5:15; Isa. 36:16), a fountain
Empty cisterns were sometimes used as prisons (Jer. 38:6; Lam. 3:53; Ps. 40:2; 69:15). The “pit” into which Joseph was cast (Gen. 37:24) was a beer or dry well. There are numerous remains of ancient cisterns in all parts of Israel.