The Woman at the Well
Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John 2 (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), 3 He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. 4 But He needed to go through Samaria. 5 So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
Jealousy is a terrible thing. Some of John’s disciples and the religious leaders had become jealous of Jesus. Because Jesus was, or rather his disciples, were baptizing more than John’s disciples. Also, the crowds coming to see Jesus were much larger than John was seeing.
All this was in fulfilment of what John himself had said should happen, that he (John) would decrease and those following Jesus should increase. The other aspect is that the Pharisees themselves were jealous for they could see their influence with the people was lessoning as Jesus taught the people. He had such depth to his teachings, as if He were speaking from heaven itself.
This is why Jesus determined to travel to Galilee. I found it interesting the wording of verse four. But He needed to go through Samaria. This is an interesting fact considering the hatred between the Jews and Samarians. And I suppose this was somewhat justified. Let’s bear in mind that Judea and Samaria were a single political unit administered by a Roman procurator, Pontius Pilate. Yet there was no love between these two people.
The Samarian were to some extent partial cousins to the Jews and also a mixture of other nations. This all came about when the Assyrians defeated the Northern Kingdom of Israel which was made up of ten of the twelve tribes of Israel. At the time, they were defeated, Assyria took many of the people captive which resulted in them being scattered among the known world of their time. But the Assyrians also brought other captives from other lands into the area and they, along with the those left of Israel formed this rather half Jew half not Jewish people called the Samarians. There is more to this, but this is the simple version.
The hatred developed because the Samarians did not worship in Jerusalem. Oh, there was a time when the Samarians had wanted to, or at least said that they had. Instead they had built their own temple of Mount Gerizim, which had later been destroyed and never rebuilt, yet worship had continued upon this sight. Worship that was a mixture of Judaism and Paganism.
Hatreds fire had been further fanned when the Samarians had attempted to help, but rather hindered in the rebuilding of the temple of Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity ended. Therefore, it was forbidden for Jews to have any dealing with Samarians. This is why it is so curious that John when writing his book says that Jesus had to go through Samaria. For you see, when traveling between the Galilee and Jerusalem for the yearly feasts, Jews would not go through Samaria, instead, they would take the longer route going through the Jordan River valley.
But should they have to pass through Samaria, they were not allowed to accept any hospitality from the Samarians, but they could purchase food and housing if necessary from the Samarians.
Jumping ahead to the story of the Good Samarian, it gives us a better feel for how unusual such kindness was between the two people. Yet John when writing about this story, makes a point of saying, “Jesus had to travel through Samaria,” for as we are about to see, He had an appointment, a Devine appointment with a certain woman of Samaria. She did not yet realize that this appointment had been made, but she herself was looking for the Messiah, and although she woke up that morning just like any other morning, her life was to be forever changed but what Jesus offered to her.
“So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well, it was about the sixth hour, (about noon).
When Christ came to the wedding feast and had the stone pots, which we will remember from an earlier post, these stone pots represented Christ, which were filled with approximately 120 gallons of water. These 120 gallons of water represented an unlimited supply of living water which is available through Christ to all those partaking of the wedding feast of the lamb. Now, Jesus sits besides the well that Jacob had dug, besides the field that Jacob had given his son Joseph, it was nearly noon, the sixth hour of the day. He sat, waiting for His Devine appointment, to draw water not from Jacob’s well but from the true Son of Jacob.