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body of Joseph was buried when his descendants came up from Egypt. On those opposing heights the blessings and the curses of the Law were recited, whilst the people stood in the valley between.” It was on Gerizim that Jotham spoke his parable of the trees choosing a king. In this ancient and venerable sanctuary, the kings of Israel received their inauguration, and after the secession of the northern tribes, Jeroboam fixed here his capital. And it was in this birth-place of the Jewish nation, that our Lord proclaimed the abrogation of all that was local and temporary in the covenant with Abraham and his seed, “Neither in this mountain nor yet at Jerusalem shall ye worship the Father. God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” The associations of this spot thus cover the whole range of Hebrew history, from its commencement to its close. The circumstances of our Lord's memorable visit are stated with great - precision. It was on his way from Judaea into Galilee, in the early spring
—“there are yet four months, and then cometh har
vest”—at the hour of noon—“Jesus being wearied with his journey sat thus on the well, and it was about the sixth hour.” At the same season, by the same route, at the same hour, we reached the well. Early in the year though it was, we found the heat very great and the journey toilsome. Thankful indeed were we to arrive at the resting-place. The fields were bright with the tender green of spring-time. The wide expanse of pasture and the patches of young corn were inexpressibly refreshing to the eye after our long sojourn among the barren hills of the south. In due time “the sower and the reaper would rejoice together.” But alas ! the spiritual harvest which had seemed ready to the reaper's hand as our Lord spoke, has issued only in disappointing failure. The divine Husbandman himself gathered in the first fruits; those that followed found “tares” only. The
Gen. 1, 25–26. Joshua xxiv. 32.
* Deut. xi. 29–30; xxvii. 12–13. Joshua viii. 33.
bitter animosity with which the Samaritans regarded the Jews was soon turned against the Christians. Even when the empire had become nominally Christian, violent and murderous persecutions broke out against the followers of Him who had here proclaimed Himself the Messiah, “I, that speak unto thee, am He.” And as though inheriting the fanatical hostility of their ancestors, the present Moslem population of Nablus, are amongst the most bigoted and violent in the whole East. The well is still “deep,” though the bottom is choked with rubbish and the stones cast into it by travellers. The measurements, however, vary
considerably. Maundrell, and Robinson in his first edition, make the depth one hundred and five feet; McCheyne, Wilson, and Calhoun only seventyfive. The careful and repeated soundings of my own party nearly coincide with the latter statement; we made it seventy-eight feet. I can suggest no way of reconciling these discrepancies. It is probable that the depth may have diminished since the visit of Maundrell in 1697. Robinson does not appear to have measured it himself, but to have relied upon the report of his companions. The upper part of the shaft is lined with rough masonry. After copious rains there is a little water in the bottom, but ordinarily the well is quite dry. A few hundred feet north of Jacob's well, in the same “parcel of
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ground," is Joseph's tomb. The structure over it is modern, and is an
ordinary Mohammedan wely. There is, however, no reason to doubt the authenticity of the tradition which fixes upon this as the sepulchre of the patriarch. The deep alluvial soil would not allow of the interment being in
a rock-hewn grave; but if the coffin were of granite or alabaster, like those of Egyptian magnates, it might yet be recovered if excavation were permitted. We have, however, already seen, when speaking of the cave of Machpelah,
place of sepulture and placed with those of the other patriarchs at Hebron.