Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Samaritan Women: Finding the Water of Life

Sorry ladies for my late post. I’ve had a very hectic week and haven’t had a chance to get on-line. However I’ve caught up now…well, until tomorrow anyway. :)

Here are just a few things we discussed at our book club meeting last week:

The Jews and the Samaritans: In our discussion of the Samaritan women, a couple mentioned that we had wanted to do a little research on the Samaritans, and find out a bit more about them and wether they still existed today. I found a couple of links, and learned that the Samaritans do still exist and still have their own priesthood. Different sources have different figures but there are apparently around 500 to 1000 Samaritans. A couple of links are below:

The Jews’ hatred of the Samaritans: Whilst we had all of course heard the story before, it still seems amazing how much the Jews hated the Samaritans, apparently going to such lengths to avoid going anywhere near them. ‘A look at any map reveals that the most direct route goes straight through Samaria. But in Jesus’ time, any self respecting Jew would always travel a different way. The preferred route went east of the Jordan River, then north through Decapolis before crossing the Jordan again into Galilee. This alternate route went many miles out of the way, but it bypassed Samaria, and that was the whole point.’ Pg 143. Presumably the extra distance required for this alternative route, would have cost more in provisions and time. The fact that Jews would abandon such an important historical site as the burial place of Joseph, and spend more money food and effort to avoid them highlights their strong dislike of the Samaritans.

The Samarians believed: It seems amazing that the Samaritans, brought up in a corrupt religion, believed after only hearing the woman’s testimony. ”The immediate impact of this woman’s testimony on the city of Sychar was profound. John wrote, ‘Many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘He told me all that I ever did’” (v.39 NKJV)” pg 151. Yet the Jews, despite their religious heritage, the prophecies of the Old Testament, and all the miracles Jesus performed still did not believe. This seems similar to our experience today when it comes to sharing the gospel. It is often easier to talk to those who have no or little ‘religious’ background about the things of God, than to those unbelievers who have been brought up in the churches, or attended Christian schools.

Of course, there was a lot more to talk about in this chapter. Please share some of your thoughts on the Samaritan woman.

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