Cistern : the rendering 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 (Jeremiah 2:13; Proverbs 5:15; Isaiah 36:16), a fountain. Cisterns are frequently mentioned in Scripture. The scarcity of springs in Palestine made it necessary to collect rain-water in reservoirs and cisterns (Numbers 21:22). (See WELL.)
Empty cisterns were sometimes used as prisons (Jeremiah 38:6; Lamentations 3:53; Psalm 40:2; 69:15). The "pit" into which Joseph was cast (Genesis 37:24) was a beer or dry well. There are numerous remains of ancient cisterns in all parts of Palestine.