In order to get to Galilee from Judea, one had to either go through Samaria or cross over the Jordan to go around it on the east side. A strict Jew would do the latter to avoid being defiled by setting foot on Samaritan soil. After the Assyrians captured Samaria, the Assyrian king brought foreigners from various places in to settle in 722 BC (2 Kings 17:24). Some Jews remained and intermarried with these foreigners, and the animosity between this mixed race of people and the Jews grew strong over time.
Jesus, however, had come to seek and save the lost and would naturally not avoid these people. As He approaches Jacob’s well, verse 6 indicates His humanity by saying that He was weary from the journey. Jesus intentionally turns the subject of the conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well to her “husband” in verses 17-19. His thorough knowledge of her history is enough to convince her that He may be who He says He is in verse 26, when Jesus makes a rare admission that He is the Messiah. After she told others, many came from the town and believed by their own encounters with Jesus that He was the “Savior of the world” (verse 42).
When His disciples return in verse 31, Jesus gives them a lesson about sowing and reaping in the kingdom in verses 34-38. He points out that the sowers and reapers can rejoice together now, as new believers are brought into His kingdom.
Arriving at Cana in Galilee, he heals the son of an official from Capernaum that was dying, but does so from without going with him because the official believed. When the man returned, he asked the hour at which his son had started improving, and knew it was the same hour that Jesus had told him “your son will live.” Note that verse 54 says that this was “the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee” – not that it was the second sign He had done.
Side note: There is an interesting story about the area at Shechem and a picture of what is believed to be Jacob’s well in this article at Ferrell’s Travel Blog.
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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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