Evangelization of Sychar
|39And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. 40So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. 41And many more believed because of his own word; 42And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
Amazingly, Jacob’s well (also known as Jacob’s fountain and Well of Sychar) still exists just outside of modern Nablus and is a short distance from Tell Balata, biblical Shechem. It is often considered one of the most authentic site in the Holy Land — since no one can move a well that was originally more than 40 meters deep.
The well lies within the complex of an Eastern Orthodox monastery. Here visitors can descend below a modern church built over the site in 2007, to see the well. Jesus’ words to the woman - "Everyone who drinks of this water shall thirst again" - apply to more than water (John 4:13). They relate to everything we draw from in life for meaning and purpose apart from the One who spoke the words.
After King Solomon’s death, the nation Israel divided north of the tribe of Benjamin’s border. Jerusalem stayed the capital in the south. Jeroboam chose Shechem as the capital for the Northern Kingdom, but the capital wasn’t there for long. Succeeding kings relocated Israel’s principal city from Shechem to Tirzah. Shechem, which lay between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, provided central Israel’s most important crossroads.
King Omri moved the capital back to Samaria, and it served as the northern kingdom’s administrative center for 160 years. Samaria took its name from Shemer, the man
who sold Omri the hill (1 Kings 16:24-28). After the Assyrians dragged the Northern Kingdom into exile in 722 BC, they repopulated the area, producing a mixed breed - partly Jewish, partly Assyrian - called Samaritans. Caesar Augustus gave Samaria to Herod the Great, who rebuilt the city to his usual exorbitant standards and renamed the site Sebaste, the Greek name for Augustus.