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Monday, December 12 2011
Shechem (also rendered in the KJV as "Sichem," in Genesis 12:6, and "Sychem," in Acts 7:16) was a city in Samaria (Samaria was the term used for the central area of the land of Israel, with Galilee to the north and Judea to the south). Shechem was located in a valley between Mount Ebal on the north and Mount Gerizim on the south. As such, it was one of the natural travel routes between Galilee and Judea.
Abraham (who was then yet-known as Abram; see Abram and Sarai and The LORD And The Two Angels) "passed through the land unto the place of Sichem [i.e. Shechem]" - where he built an altar to the LORD. Prior to that time, Abraham had been raised in a house of idols i.e. "24:2 And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods. 24:3 And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan [see Don't Look Back], and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac." (Joshua 24:2-3 KJV).
"12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee: 12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
Later, Abraham's grandson Jacob (who the LORD renamed as "Israel") purchased a plot of land there, where he eventually dug a well.
"33:18 And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padanaram; and pitched his tent before the city. 33:19 And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for an hundred pieces of money. 33:20 And he erected there an altar, and called it Elelohe-Israel." (Genesis 33:18-20 KJV)
As was the case with Abraham, those with Jacob also put away their idols at Shechem (the reason that Laban pursued Jacob was because someone had stolen his "gods" i.e. "31:19 And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father's. 31:20 And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled. 31:21 So he fled with all that he had; and he rose up, and passed over the river, and set his face toward the mount Gilead." Genesis 31:19-21 KJV).
"35:2 Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: 35:3 And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. 35:4 And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem." (Genesis 35:2-4 KJV)
"And he erected there an altar, and called it Elelohe-Israel"
The Messiah frequently journeyed between Galilee and Judea, through Shechem, including in this time when He returned home to Galilee after being rejected by the Hebrew-speaking people of Judea. While He could read and speak Hebrew, the Messiah's primary language was Aramaic, one of the Semitic family of languages; His famous "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabach-thani?" of Mark 15:34, along with many others, including calling His Father "Abba" in prayer, was in Aramaic, not Hebrew.
"4:1 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, 4:2 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) 4:3 He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee. 4:4 And he must needs go through Samaria." (John 4:1-4 KJV)
The place where Jesus Christ stopped was the very same where Abraham and Jacob stopped, as we read in the verses above.
"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, according to the hours of daylight method of time-keeping at the time]." (John 4:6-6 KJV)
While there, a Samaritan woman also came to the well. The Samaritans (see Samaritans) were the people from Babylon (where Abraham was born; see The Journey From Ur Of The Chaldees) who were brought in to settle the land after the "lost ten tribes" were taken away by the Assyrians (see The Galilee Captivity). The Hebrew-speaking people of Judah had as much arrogant contempt for Samaritans as they did for the people of Galilee and their Aramaic accent e.g. to Jesus they blasphemously said "8:48 Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? 8:49 Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me" (John 8:48-49 KJV) and regarding their Galilee-Aramaic accent, to Peter they said "26:73 And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee" (Matthew 26:73 KJV).
"4:7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 4:8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)
The Samaritan woman then received a lesson about the difference between what is merely physical self-righteousness and what is truly spiritual righteousness in the eyes of God. Water was the substance; the Holy Spirit was the lesson.
"4:11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 4:12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?
Despite His Aramaic language and/or accent, the Samaritan woman "understood" that what Jesus was teaching wasn't mere physical self-righteousness.
"4:15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.
The lesson was then amplified, for "when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (the reason, in itself, that the New Testament was written in Greek, the "world language" of the time, rather than in Hebrew, is because salvation isn't determined merely by physical language or physical ancestry; see Why Did The Magi Come? and The Joppa Lessons Of Jonah And Peter).
"4:21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 4:22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
Fact Finder: What was the lesson of the famous verse John 3:16? Did Jesus give the same lesson (of viewing mere physical birth as an end in itself - which it is, a dead end, without repentance and truly living according to God's Word) to Nicodemus as He did to the Samaritan woman?
This Day In History, December 12
1479: Emperor Frederick III (see The Holy Roman Empire) expelled the Jews from Schlettstadt Alsace.
1753: George Washington, then the British adjutant of Virginia, delivered an ultimatum to the French forces at Fort Le Boeuf, south of Lake Erie, reiterating Britain's claim to the entire Ohio river valley.
1792: Ludwig van Beethoven, aged 22 and newly arrived in Vienna, noted in his diary he had 15 ducats - enough for his first music lesson with Franz Joseph Haydn.
1896: In London, Guglielmo Marconi gave the first public exhibition of "wireless" radio.
1911: King George V of Britain held a coronation durbar (the room in the palace of a native prince of India in which audiences and receptions occur) in Delhi; the Indian capital was moved there from Calcutta.
1913: The famous painting "Mona Lisa" was recovered 2 years after having been stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris.
1930: The Spanish Revolution began.
1931: While facing a growing communist challenge, Chiang Kai-shek resigned as president of the Nanking government but continued as leader of the Nationalist government which still held control of much of China.
1943: The German Army began "Operation Winter Tempest," the attempt to relieve the Sixth Army which was then trapped in Stalingrad.
1964: Kenya became a republic.
1969: Greece withdrew from the Council of Europe shortly before it was to have been expelled because of its military regime.
1979: The port of Tumaco, Colombia, was hit by an earthquake measuring 8.0; 600 died and 80,000 were made homeless.