"Omri became king over Israel, and reigned twelve years…he bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver..” (NKJV).
1 Kings 16:23-24 

Reading: John 4:1-42

You know the stories – the Samaritan woman at the well, the Good Samaritan..Samaria was a part of the Promised Land and it holds an interesting place in Biblical history. 

From the time of King Omri, after the division of the Promised Land into the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah, Samaria became the capital of the Northern Kingdom, Israel. The people of God consisted of Jews living in Judah and Israelites living in Israel. Those who followed the LORD held to the Torah as the word of God, and had prophets of God to guide them.

In 722BC, because of covenant unfaithfulness, especially the idolatrous worship of Baal, the ruling city of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, Samaria, was conquered by the Assyrian king, Sargon II, after a three year siege. The Assyrians had a mix and match policy, so they took most of the 10 tribes of Israel away in captivity and left a few behind. They also introduced people groups from other lands in an attempt to dilute resistance against Assyria. This mixing of the nations with Israelites caused the Jews in Judah to look down on them as half-breeds. The Jews thought the Samaritans were impure, like Gentiles. As there were 10 tribes making up the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and most of these were exiled, the 10 tribes were said to be lost. It was only the 2 tribes of Judah that remained. 

In the time of Jesus Samaritans recognised the authority of the Pentateuch only, and thought of Mt Gerazim as the true place for worshipping God, not Mt Zion in Jerusalem. The Samaritans actually built a temple of sorts on Mt Gerazim. This caused extra friction between Jews and Samaritans as both claimed to have the only true center for worshipping the LORD. Jesus, however, told the Samaritan woman that believers in the future would neither worship in Jerusalem nor on Mt Gerazim, but would rather worship from the heart in Spirit and in truth. Later, Jesus offered the Samaritan woman living water. He offers us the same even today; His Holy Spirit to come into our lives; bringing life and restoration to our ‘dry bones’.


Dear Father, thank You that we can worship You wherever we are and that we do not have to make pilgrimages to a temple to seek Your face. Thank You for seeking even Gentiles like us to be Your worshippers. Draw near to us as we draw near to You. Amen


Watch this video together about the Samaritan woman at the well.