Glimpses of Israel - Samaria

by Joseph Hunting


Samaria 's history dates back to about the eighth century B.C. when Omri reigned over Israel and bought a hill from Shemer for two talents of silver, "and called the name of the city which he built after the name of Shemer, owner of the hill, Samaria." (1 Kings 16:24)

Samaria became the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel for several centuries. Its kings were idol worshippers, one of the most infamous being Ahab who married Jezebel. In the course of time the inhabitants of Samaria became totally degenerate: "And they left all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the hosts of heaven, and served Baal. And they caused their sons and daughters to pass through the fire, and used divinations and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil the sight of the Lord to provoke Him to anger. Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them out of His sight." (2 Kings 17:16-18)

God removed the ten northern tribes into captivity and the armies of Sennacherib overran Samaria. During the centuries that followed the inhabitants of the land were a mixture of Israelites who were permitted to till the soil of their Assyrian overlords. Later they became known as the Samaritans and were despised by the Jews during the Second Temple period.

It was from Samaria that a woman came to draw water from Jacob's well nearby. To her amazement she found that the One with whom she conversed knew that she had had five husbands and that she was now living in adultery. To hide her embarrassment she said: "Our fathers worshipped on this mountain; and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship". Christ said to her, "Woman believe Me, the hour is coming, when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know FOR SALVATION IS OF THE JEWS." (John 4:20-22)