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was the fact, that Samaria became a sort of refuge, for fugitives and outlaws among the Jews. By the influence of these refugees, and that of the law of Moses, which gradually reformed their manners, the Samaritans became in the course of ages, quite as religious, and quite as just in their religious sentiments as the Jews themselves. Still the enmity continued, and perhaps was never greater than at the period of the ministry of our Lord. As it happened Samaria was directly between Galilee and Jerusalem, so that the Galileans were obliged to pass through that country on their way to their national festivals.
One there was, who was superior to these bitter and irrational prejudices. Let us see on what occasions he rebuked and condemned them. And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, that he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before his face, and they went and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples, James and John saw this, they said : Wilt thou that we command fire to come down from Heaven, and consume them as Elias did? And he turned and rebuked them and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of Man is come not to destroy men's lives, but to save them."
On another occasion, we read that a certain lawyer stood up and tempted him, saying: “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, what is written in the law? How readest thou ? And he answering, said : Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right, this do and thou shalt live. But he willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus : And who is my neighbor ? And Jesus answering, said: A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed came where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pieces of money and gave them to the host, and said unto him: Take care of him, and whatever thou spendest more, when I come again I will repay thee. Which now of these three,
thinkest thou, was neighbor to him that fell among the thieves. And he answered: He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him: Go thou and do likewise."
This difference of the Jews with the Samaritans gave occasion to one of the noblest passages in the life of Jesus, whether we consider the exquisite humanity of his conduct, the sublime and glorious truths which he uttered, or the striking predictions wbich he delivered of the vast changes in the religious condition of the world, which he, then a solitary and weary traveller, was about to accomplish. It is one of the most beautiful pieces of historical painting in all literature.
Soon after he commenced his ministry he had occasion to go from Judea to Galilee, and he must needs pass through Samaria. “ 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. Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore being weary with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus saith unto her; Give me to drink. For his disciples were gone unto the city to buy meat. Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou being a Jew, askest drink of me which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. Jesus an
swered, and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith unto thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith unto him : Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep; from whence hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again. But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. The woman saith unto him; Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. Jesus saith unto her, Go call thy husband and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her; Thou hast well said I have no husband. For thou hast had five husbands, and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband; in that saidst thou truly. The woman saith unto him; Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain, and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus saith unto her: Woman, believe me, the hour cometh when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what, we know what we wor
ship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh and now is, when the true worshipper 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 woman saith unto him ; I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ; and when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified ; He told me all that ever I did. So when the Samaritans were come to him they besought him that he would tarry with them, and he abode there two days. And many believed because of his own word, And said unto the woman: Now we believe not because of thy saying, for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world."
What an emphatic rebuke to religious bigotry to the end of time! How odious, how contemptible, does he make that fierce and inhuman spirit to appear! Here were the Jews and Samaritans in near neighborhood of each other, the only nations on earth who worshipped the true God, both believing in the Divine mission of Moses, and both waiting for the same Messiah, yet of all nations bearing to each other the most bitter hatred! How insignificant and mean their sentiments and conduct! " The Jews have no