The Samaritan Temple

Q. When Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well , she tried to “side-track” the conversation with a question about where people should worship (John 4:19-20). She said “Our fathers worshiped on ‘this’ mountain…..”. Can you tell me the name of the mountain to which she was referring?

A. She was referring to Mt. Gerizim where the Samaritan Temple was located. It’s located due north of Jerusalem, about half way between Tel Aviv and the Jordan River.

Samaritans are the descendants of Jews left behind after the Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom. They intermarried with people of other races the Assyrians transplanted there. Today there are less than 1,000 Samaritans left, but they still believe that the “authentic” Torah identifies Mount Gerizim as God’s chosen place for worship. They built a temple here some 300 years before Christ, and Samaritan priests still offer animal sacrifices amidst the ruins, which are in the process of being restored by the Israeli government. Jacob’s well, where Jesus spoke to the woman, is nearby.

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