Jesus on His way to Galilee meets a woman at Jacob's well near Samaria, tells her about true worship and later talks to the people of Samaria. (John 4:3-42)


For a time Jesus continued His min­istry in the land of Judea. When the disciples of John noticed that Jesus was becoming quite popular, they complained to John. However, he answered nobly, “He must increase, but I must decrease." After a time Jesus thought it wise to return with His disciples to Galilee. (John 3: 22-4: 3)



For many years there had been bad feelings between the Jews and Gentiles. After the fall of Samaria in 722 B.C., a large number of the leading citizens and skilled people were taken away into exile. Peoples from other parts of the Middle East were settled in the former area of the Northern Kingdom. 2 Kings 17 records that the worship of God be­came mixed with non-Biblical elements. To what degree this remained true later on we do not know. '

When the Jews returned from exile in Babylonia, they tried to rebuild the temple and the city walls of Jerusalem. The leading classes of the people of Samaria opposed and succeeded in stop­ping the work. The people of Samaria had asked to be permitted to participate in rebuilding the temple at Jerusalem but were turned down.

At the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, all those who had married non-Jewish wives were asked to put them away. It so happened that the high priest's grand­son had married the daughter of Sanbal­lat, the governor of Samaria.  Nehemiah had him expelled. Probably soon after this, the Samaritans built a rival temple on Mount Gerizim, which rises just to the south of Shechem. This temple was later destroyed by the Jewish ruler Hyr­canus in about 128 B.C. The rivalry between the Jews and Samaritans con­tinued through the New Testament era.


       Deuteronomy 18: 15. Their view of the Messiah was that he would be a mortal man whom God would use to restore them to favor as true people of God. The Samaritan woman referred to the Messiah in her conversation with Jesus, and Jesus at once told her, "I am He" (John 4:25­, 26)



After His baptism and temptation, Jesus went back to the area where John was baptizing. John pointed Jesus out to his hearers. Two men followed Jesus, and these two later brought their broth­ers to Him. The four men were James and John, Andrew and Peter. On the way to Cana of Galilee, Philip of Beth­saida and Nathanael joined them. (John 1:35-51)

While attending the wedding festivi­ties in Cana, Jesus changed water into wine and then came to Capernaum on the northern shore of the Sea of Gali­lee (John 2: 1-12).

After some time had passed, Jesus and His disciples went to Jerusalem to attend the Passover festival. It was at this time that Jesus cleansed the temple of those who bought and sold. (John 2: 13-22)

While Jesus was at Jerusalem, Nico­demus, a member of the Jewish Council, came to Jesus at night. This same Nico­demus several years later came to help Joseph of Arimathea to take Jesus' body from the cross. He brought a sizable quantity of the spices and ointments used in preparing the body for burial. (John 2:23-3:21)





The Samaritans believed in God and in Moses as the prophet. They accepted only the Pentateuch ( Genesis through Deuteronomy) as the Scriptures. As the Samaritan woman they believed that God should be worshipped on Mount Gerizim. The Samaritan reading of Deuteronomy 27:4 was changed to Mount Gerizim as the place of worship.

The Samaritans also believed in the day of judgment and in the return of Moses as Restorer. Since they accepted only the Pentateuch, they based this view of the restorer or sort of a Messiah on these books.



Jesus and His disciples came to Jacob's well (Gen. 33:18-19) which lies in the plain at the foot of both Mounts Gerizim and Ebal. If John followed the Roman system of counting time which he seem­ingly does, this must have been around 6 p.m.

The disciples left Jesus at the well to rest while they went to a nearby town to buy food. The best manuscripts give the name of this town as Sychar. The Old Syriac Gospels read Shechem instead. At the present time it is impossible to say for sure whether the town lay on the slopes of Ebal or in the plain near where Shechem once stood. The latter seems to be favored.

Read carefully the account of the con­versation between Jesus and the Samar­itan woman. Note how skillfully Jesus led her attention from her immediate in­terest to that of her spiritual welfare. And note her reaction when He tells her that He is the Messiah: how she is concerned to share his news with her fel­low-townsmen. Give careful attention to what her fellow-townsmen tell the woman when Jesus left to go on to Galilee after staying with them for two days.


On the way to Galilee, Jesus went straight north from Jerusalem through the area inhabited by the Samaritans. This was the most direct route from Jerusalem to Galilee. However, by and large, it was much easier to travel via the Jordan Valley than to wind through the hills and valleys of this direct route.­