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After the people of Israel divided into two independent kingdoms (see The Division Of Israel), they eventually became corrupt. As a punishment from the LORD (i.e. Jesus Christ - see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM'), The Northern Kingdom was gradually taken off into exile first, by the Assyrians, until by 721 BC they were exterminated from the land (they were thereafter known as "the lost ten tribes"). Later, The Southern Kingdom also faced the LORD's wrath for their corruption. They were conquered and taken into exile by the Babylonians by 586 BC (see also Raiders Of The Lost Ark).
The major difference is that the people of Judah returned, as prophesied (see Jeremiah's Field), after 70 years. From that time on, the land of Israel as a whole became known as Judea because the people of Judah (in the national sense, Judah and Benjamin - see Was Paul A Jew or a Benjamite?) were the only part of the people of Israel that inhabited the land.
By the time of the Roman occupation however (see Ancient Empires - Rome), Judea was designated as the southern portion only. The Romans made Samaria and Galilee separate provinces, along with Judea, although "Judea" was still also sometimes used to refer to them all together. Hence, whenever Jesus Christ journeyed from Galilee, in the north, to Judea in the south, He had to cross Samaria in the central part of the land.
"As He went to Jerusalem, He passed through the midst of Samaria"
As in Galilee and Judea, there were believers and unbelievers in Samaria. Even among those who did believe, there were differences between those of His own people of Judah ("Jew" is an abbreviation of Judah, who was a son of Jacob i.e. the LORD renamed Jacob as Israel, not Judah as Israel), who seemed to take things much more for granted, than the "strangers" who recognized the Messiah as the Savior of all people. Notice in this example, only the foreigner "Samaritan" (see the Fact Finder question below) gave thanks to God for his healing, while the other nine men of Judea did not.
"17:11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 17:12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: 17:13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
The encounter with a "Samaritan" woman was also evidence of how outsiders were actually insiders when it came to recognizing the Christ (it was perhaps primarily because they weren't of Judah that they were able to see - see Why Can't 'The Chosen People' See?).
"4:4 And he must needs go through Samaria. 4:5 Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 4:6 Now Jacob's Well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour [i.e. noon - see Hours Of The Day].
Fact Finder: Who were the "Samaritans" in the time of Christ's first coming?