Jacobs Well (2)

Jacob's Well

The following is the latest description of this spot (Bir Yakub), taken from Lieut. Conder's Tent Work in Palestine, 1:71. A full account is given in the Memoirs accompanying the Ordnance Survey, 2:172 sq.

"The tradition of Jacob's Well is one in which Jews, Samaritans, Moslems, and Christians alike agree. There are also other reasons which lead to the belief that the tradition is trustworthy; the proximity of Joseph's Tomb and of Sychar, and finally the fact of a well existing at all in a place abounding with streams, one of which is within one hundred yards' distance. No other important well is found near, and the utility of such a work can only be explained on the assumption that it was necessary for the patriarch to have water within his own land, surrounded as he was by strangers, who may naturally be supposed to have guarded jealously their rights to the springs. By digging the well Jacob avoided those quarrels from which his father had suffered in the Philistine country, pursuing a policy of peace which appears generally to have distinguished his actions.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

"The well then, as being one of the few undoubted sites made sacred by the feet of Christ, is a spot of greater interest that any near Shechem. Its neighborhood is not marked by any very prominent monument, and, indeed, it would be quite possible to pass by it without knowing of its existence. Just east of the gardens of Balata, a dusty mound by the road half covers the stumps of three granite columns. After a few moments' search a hole is found south-west of them, and by this the visitor descends through the roof of a little vault, apparently modern. The vault stretches twenty feet east and west, and is ten feet broad, the hole in the pointed arch of the roof being in the north-east corner. The floor is covered with fallen stones, which block the mouth of the well; through these we let down the tape and found the depth to be seventy-five feet. The diameter is seven feet six inches, the whole depth cut through alluvial soil and soft rock, receiving water by infiltration through the sides. There appears to be occasionally as much as two fathoms of water, but in summer the well is dry. The little vault is built on to a second, running at right angles northwards from the west end, but the communication is now walled up. In this second vault there are said to be remains of a tessellated pavement, and the bases of the three columns above mentioned rest on this floor, the shafts sticking. out through the roof — a sufficient proof that the vault is modern."

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