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historical testimony to show the identity of this well with that which our Saviour visited; and the proof must therefore rest, as far as it can be made out at all, on circumstantial evidence. I am not aware of any thing in the nature of the case that goes to contradict the common tradition; but, on the other hand, I see much in the circumstances tending to confirm the supposition that this is actually the spot where our Lord held his conversation with the Samaritan
Jesus was journeying from Jerusalem to Galilee, and rested at the well, while “ his disciples were gone away into the city to buy meat.”
The well, therefore, lay apparently before the city, and at some distance from it. In passing along the eastern plain, Jesus had halted at the well, and sent his disciples to the city situated in the narrow valley, intending on their return to proceed along the plain on his way to Galilee, without himself visiting the city. All this corresponds exactly to the present character of the ground. The well, too, was Jacob's well, of high antiquity, a known and venerated spot; which, after having already lived for so many ages in tradition, would not be likely to be forgotten in the two and a half centuries intervening between St. John and Eusebius. A
very obvious question presented itself to us upon the spot, viz., how it can be supposed, that the woman should have come from the city, now half an hour distant, with her water-pot, to draw water from Jacob's Well, when there are so many fountains just around the city, and she must have also passed directly by a large one at mid-distance ? But, in the first place, the ancient city ... probably lay in part nearer to this well than the modern one; and then, too, it is not said, that the woman came hither from the city at all. She may have dwelt, or have been labouring, near by the well ; and have gone into the city only to make her wonderful report respecting the Stranger Prophet. Or, even granting that her home was in the city, there would be
nothing improbable or unusual in the supposition, that the inhabitants may have set a peculiar value on the water of this ancient well of Jacob, and have occasionally put themselves to the trouble of going thither to draw. That it was not the ordinary public well of the city, is probable from the circumstance, that there was here no public accommodation for drawing water.'
“ More difficult is it to account for the fact, that a well should ever have been dug here at all, on a spot in the immediate vicinity of so many natural fountains; and irrigated, even at the present day, by rills of running water brought down from the source higher up the valley. I can solve this difficulty only by admitting that this is probably the actual well of the patriarch ; and that it was dug by him in some connexion with the possession of the parcel of ground' bought of Hamor the father of Shechem, which he gave to his son Joseph, and in which Joseph, and probably his brethren, were buried. The practice of the patriarchs to dig wells wherever they sojourned, is well known ;' and if Jacob's field, as it would seem, was here before the mouth of the valley of Shechem, he might prefer not to be dependent for water on fountains which lay up that valley and were not his own.
“ I think we may thus rest with confidence in the opinion, that this is Jacob's Well, and here the parcel of ground which Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Here the Saviour, wearied with his journey, sat upon the well, and taught the poor Samaritan woman those great truths which have broken down the separating wall between Jews and Gentiles; “God is a Spirit ; and they that worship him must worship Him in spirit and in truth!' Here, too, as the people flocked from the city to hear Him he pointed his disciples to the waving fields which decked the noble plain around, exclaiming,
1 John iv. 11.
2 Gen. xxxiii. 19; Josh. xxiv, 32. 3 Gen, xxi. 25, 30; xxvi, 15, 18–32.
Say not ye, there are yet four months, and then cometh harvest ? behold, I say
up your eyes, and look on the fields ; for they are white already to harvest.' It was half-past eight o'clock when we returned to our tent, wearied indeed in body, but refreshed in spirit, as we read anew, and in the midst of the very scenes, the account of our Saviour's visit and sublime teaching.” — Robinson's Researches, vol. iii. pp. 107–113.
“ We were now entering the region of Samaria ; and though the mountains were yet stony, a beautiful country was opening before us. We soon came into a smiling valley, full of large olive-trees, and rode for some time in a pleasant shade. Every where we were meeting streams of pure water, tempting us perpetually to dismount, after the sandy desert through which we had been so long travelling.
“I was now about entering one of the most interesting countries in the Holy Land, consecrated by the presence of our Saviour in the body, and by the exercise of his divine and miraculous powers. The Bible was again in my hand, and I read there that Jesus Christ had left Judea and departed into Galilee; that he must needs pass through Samaria, and that he came to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. And Jacob's Well was there; and Jesus, being weary with his journey, sat down on the well, and it was about the sixth hour. And there cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water; and Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. It is with no irreverent feeling that I draw the parallel, but I was following in the very footsteps of the Saviour ; I, too, had left ' Judea, and had departed into Galilee ;' I, too, “must needs go through Samaria ;' and I, too, was now coming to the city of Samaria, called Sychar, and, before entering the city, I would fain sit down on the well of Jacob, where our Saviour talked with the Samaritan woman. I took a guide to conduct
me to this well. In about two hours we were winding along the side of Mount Gerizim, whose summit was covered with the white dome of the tomb of an Arab saint; and passing one well on the declivity of the mountain, going down to the valley at its base, we came to Jacob's Well. I knew that there was a difference of opinion as to the precise site of this interesting monument; but when I found myself at the mouth of this well, I had no wish to look farther; I could feel and realize the whole scene. I could see our Saviour coming out from Judea, and travelling along this valley; I could see him, wearied with his journey, sitting down on this well to rest; and the Samaritan woman, as I saw them at every town in the Holy Land, coming out for water. I could imagine his looking up to Mount Gerizim, and predicting the ruin of the temple,' and telling her that the hour was coming when neither on that mountain, nor yet in Jerusalem, would she wore ship the God of her fathers. A large column lay across the top of the well, and the mouth was filled up with huge stones.
- The ground which I was now treading is supposed to be the parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem, for a hundred pieces of silver, and gave to his son Joseph.' Turning the point of the mountain, we came to a rich valley, lying between the mountains of Gerizim and Ebal. Crossing this valley, on the sides of the mountains of Ebal, is a long range of grottoes and tombs ; and a little before coming to them, in a large white building, like a Sheikh's tomb, is the sepulchre of Joseph, as it is written, • The bones also of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up with them out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem.' I dismounted, and entered the building ; and it is not an uninteresting fact, that I found there a white-bearded Israelite, kneeling at the tomb of the
I See Gerizim.
patriarch, and teaching a rosy-cheeked boy, (his descendant of the fourth generation,) the beautiful story of Joseph and his brethren. It was late in the afternoon when I was moving up the valley of Naplous. The mountains of Gerizim and Ebal, the mountains of blessings and curses, were towering like lofty walls on either side of me. A beautiful stream, in two or three places filling large reservoirs, was running through the valley, and a shepherd sat on its bank, playing a reed pipe, with his flock feeding quietly around him. The shades of evening were gathering fast as I approached the town of Naplous, the Shechem, or Sychem of the Old Testament, and the Sychar of the New. More than a dozen lepers were sitting outside the gate, asking charity. ... At about eight in the morning, we left Naplous; the lepers were lying at the gate as before, not permitted to enter the walls of the city, but living apart.
“ The valley of Naplous was, if possible, more beautiful by morning than by evening light, shaded by groves of figs, olives, almonds, and apricots, in full bloom, and bounded by lofty mountains, with a clear and beautiful stream winding and murmuring through its centre. For more than an hour we followed the course of the stream, and nothing could be more beautifully picturesque than the little mills on its banks ; low, completely embosomed among the trees, and with their roofs covered with grass, and sometimes the agreeable sound of a waterfall was the first intimation we had of their presence.”-See STEPHENS's Incidents of Travel.
“ There is nothing in the Holy Land finer than the view of Napolose, from the heights around it. As the traveller descends towards it from the hills, it appears luxuriantly embosomed in the most delightful and fragrant woods; half concealed by rich gardens, and stately trees, collected into groves, all around the bold and beautiful valley in which it stands. Trade seems to