Jacobs Well

Jacob's Well (πηγὴ τοῦ Ι᾿ακώβ), on the curb of which Christ sat down during his interview with the Samaritan woman of Sychar (Joh 4:6). It was a deep spring (ver. 11) in the vicinity of Shechem, near the road from Jerusalem, probably so called from having been dug by the patriarch Jacob (ver. 8,28) when dwelling in this neighborhood (Ge 33:18). It is still known by the same title, about half a mile south-east of Nablûs (Robinson's Researches, 3, 112), at the foot of Mount Gerizim (Arvieux, 2, 66; Schubert, 3:136). It is bored through the solid rock, and 'kept covered with a stone by the Arabs (see Hackett's Illustrations p. 199 sq.). It is thus described by Porter in Murray's Handbook for Syria, 2, 340: "Formerly there was a square hole opening into a carefully built vaulted chamber, about ten feet square, in the floor of which was the true mouth of the well. Now a portion of the vault has fallen and completely covered up the mouth, so that nothing can be seen but a shallow pit, half filled with stones and rubbish." Dr. Wilson (Lands of the Bible, 2, 57) carefully measured the well, and found it nine feet in diameter, and seventy-five feet deep. It was probably much deeper in ancient times, as there are signs of considerable accumulation of stones and rubbish below its present bottom; and Maundrell (March 24) says that in his time it was thirty-five yards, or one hundred and five feet deep. It contains at times a few feet of water, but at others it is quite dry. Over the well, there formerly stood a large church, built in the 4th century, but probably destroyed before the time of the Crusades, as Siewulf (p. 45) and Phocas do not mention it. Its remains are just above the well, towards the southwest, merely a shapeless mass of ruins among which are seen fragments of gray granite columns still retaining their ancient polish (Robinson's Biblical Researches. 3, 132). (For older descriptions, see Hamesveld, 2, 396 sq.) SEE SHECHEM.

2. JACOB (Ι᾿ακώβ) was the name of the father of Joseph, the husband of the Virgin Mary (Mt 1:15,13). B.C. ante 40. SEE MARY.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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