What does Jacob's Well mean in the Bible?


1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Jacob's Well
(Hebrew: Bir Yakub; Bir Samariyeh)
Well on the highroad from Jerusalem, one mile and a half from Nablus, and almost one mile from the village of Askar or Sichar (John 4). Here Christ met the Samaritan woman. It is called Jacob's Well because the patriarch who "drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle" gave it to the tribe of Joseph. The opening of the well lies now in a crypt of a Crusader's chapel, over which the Greeks have built a church. The well itself Isaiah 7.5 feet in diameter, lined with masonry, and is still 75 deep. It seems to be fed by an underground rivulet, which occasionally runs dry in summer.
Holman Bible Dictionary - Jacob's Well
A place in Samaria where Jesus stopped to rest as He traveled from Judea to Galilee (John 4:6 ). There He met and conversed with a Samaritan woman on the subject of living water. The Old Testament contains no reference to it. It was located near the Samaritan city of Sychar. The well currently shown as the scene of the encounter of Jesus with the Samaritan woman certainly is an ancient well and is generally accepted to be the place referred to in the Gospel. See Jacob ; Sychar .
Fausset's Bible Dictionary - Jacob's Well
On a low slope of Mount Gerizim, at the opening of the valley of Shechem, from which it is one mile and a half distant eastward, with the grainfields of the plain of El Mukna in front. Hence, appears the appropriateness of the allusions "our fathers worshipped in this mountain," namely, Gerizim, whereon the Samaritan temple stood (John 4:20); "lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, for they are white already to harvest" (John 4:25). The distance from Shechem (Sychar) is no objection; for even if the Samaritan woman's coming to the well was not the result of a providential accident, the sacredness of Jacob's well and the excellence of its deep drawn water would account for her coming so far. It was not the public city well, otherwise it would have been furnished with some means of drawing the water (John 4:11). The sinking of so deep a well would only be undertaken by some one who had not access to the neighbouring streams and fountains.
The patriarchs had never want of pasture in Canaan, but often difficulties as to water (Genesis 21:25-30; Genesis 26:13-15; Genesis 26:18-22). Jacob therefore naturally provided himself with a well in his field just purchased (Genesis 33:17-19). With characteristic prudence he secured on his own property, by great labour, a perennial supply at a time when the surrounding watersprings, which abound on the surface, were in the hands of unfriendly neighbours. Formerly there was a a square hole opening into a vaulted chamber 15 feet square, in the floor of which was the well's mouth. The vault has fallen, so that stones have fallen in and much reduced its original depth, in Maundrell's time it was 105 feet deep; now it is often dry, at other times it has a few feet of water.
Caspari (Chronicles and Geog. Introd. to Life of Christ) says Sychar originally extended further to the S., and consequently a large part of it lay nearer to Jacob's well than to the fountain Ain el Askar at the N. side of the opening of the valley of Nablus toward the E. Those at the S. of Sychar would repair to Jacob's well rather than to Ain el Askar, which is ten minutes' walk from Jacob's well. The true mouth of the well is but four feet long, and opens into the well itself, which is seven and a half feet in diameter, and now owing to rubbish only 75 ft. deep. The vaulted chamber was possibly the crypt of the church built over the well in the 4th century. Dr. Rogers and Miss Peache have contributed 150 British pounds for clearing the well and protecting it with stonework (Palestine Exploration Quarterly Statement, April 1877).
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Jacob's Well
JACOB’S WELL. See Sychar.
Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Jacob's Well
JACOB’S WELL.—On the arrest of John the Baptist by Herod Antipas, Jesus left Judaea and returned with His loosely-attached followers to Galilee (Mark 1:14). He travelled by ‘the great north road’ through Samaria. This road, after skirting the W. edge of the plain of Mukhneh, and passing under the slopes of Gerizim, enters the wide bay forming the approach to the Vale of Nâblus. Here it divides, one branch striking west, the other going north across the bay, past the ruins and spring of ʽAskar. In the fork of these roads is Jacob’s Well (Bir Yâkûb), where Jesus, being wearied with His journey,—it was about the hour of noon,—sat down and rested (John 4:6).
The well is described (John 4:5) as in the neighbourhood of ‘a city of Samaria called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.’ This parcel of ground (χωρίον) is evidently the plot referred to in Genesis 33:18-19 as lying ‘before’ (or ‘to the east of’) Shechem, which Jacob purchased from the native Shechemites for 100 kesîtahs. Somewhere within its borders the bones of Joseph were afterwards buried (Joshua 24:32, cf. Acts 7:16): and the plot came to have for the N. Kingdom the kind of sanctity that Machpelah had for the Kingdom of Judah. It is nowhere recorded that Jacob dug a well here; but the fact had become a matter of common and well-established belief by the time of Jesus, and no serious doubt has since been raised as to the origin or locality of the well. The traditional sites of Jacob’s Well and Joseph’s Tomb (a little to the N.) are acknowledged by Jews, Samaritans, Christians, and Moslems alike. The tradition for the well goes back to Eusebius (OS, s.v. ‘Sychar’). See also art. Sychar.
In John 4:6 the well is called πηγὴ (‘fountain’) τοῦ Ἰακώβ: in John 4:11 the woman refers to it as τὸ φρέαρ (‘the cistern or pit’) which Jacob gave. The latter is the more exact description, inasmuch as it ‘is not an ʽain, a well of living water, but a ber, a cistern to hold water’ (PEFSt [1] , 1897, p. 197). Rainwater probably formed the greater part of its supply, though another smaller portion may have been due to infiltration from the surrounding strata. This would partly account for the ‘great local reputation’ of the water ‘for purity and flavour among the natives of El ʽAskar and Nablus.ʼ The neighbouring springs were ‘heavy’ (or hard), being strongly impregnated with lime, while Jacob’s Well contained ‘lighter’ (or softer) water, ‘cool, palatable, and refreshing’ (G. A. Smith, HGHL [2] p. 676). The woman’s presence at the well at noon may have been due to the fact that she was seeking water for workmen on the adjacent cornlands, rather than for domestic use (PEFSt [1] , 1897, p. 149). The sacred associations of the spot, together with the ‘real excellence’ of the water, probably drew visitors regularly both from ʽAskar (¾ mile away) and from Nâblus (1¾ miles distant), in spite of nearer and more copious supplies.
The true mouth of the well is several feet below the surface, and beneath a ruined vault, which once formed part of the ancient cruciform church mentioned by Arculph (a.d. 700), and referred to by Jerome (OS, s.v. ‘Sychar’). This narrow opening, 4 ft. long and just wide enough to admit the body of a man, broadens out into the cylindrical tank or well itself, which is about 7½ ft. in diameter and over 100 feet deep (G. A. Smith, l.c. p. 373). The interior appears to have been lined throughout with masonry, and thick layers of débris cover the bottom.* [4]
If the uniform tradition as to the well’s origin be correct, probably the incomer Jacob sank this ‘deep’ pit to avoid collision with the natives among whom be settled. A well of his own, on his own ground, would make him secure and independent.
Literature.—Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible ii. 535 f.; Encyc. Bibl. iv. 4829; Robinson, BRP [5] 2 [6] ii. 283 f.; Thomson, LB [7] ii. 146 f.; Baedeker-Socin, Pal. [8] 215 f.; Stanley, SP [9] 241; G. A. Smith, HGHL [2] 367 f., 676; Sanday, Sacred Sites, 31ff., 91; PEFMem. ii. 172 f.; PEFSt [1] , 1897, pp. 96, 149, 196; Expos. Times, v. [10]6 97 f.
A. W. Cooke.
Morrish Bible Dictionary - Jacob's Well
In the valley of Shechem, near to a city called Sychar, was the well where the Lord rested, and conversed with the woman of Samaria. John 4:5-12 . It is identified with Bir Yakub, at the base of Gerizim, 32 12' N, 35 16' E , and is one of the few spots in Palestine the identification of which has not been disputed.
The well is cut out of the solid limestone, 7ft. 6in. in diameter, and is 115 feet deep. The well's mouth is below the surface of the ground and is covered with a stone with a hole in the centre. A traveller, John of Wurzburg (A.D. 1160-1170), says that when he visited the well a church was then being erected over it; but that has long since been destroyed and a Russian Orthodox Church built over it, though unfinished due to the Communist Revolution of 1917. See SYCHAR.
Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Jacob's Well
or fountain, a well near Shechem, at which our Saviour conversed with the woman of Samaria, John 4:12 . Jacob dwelt near this place, before his sons slew the inhabitants of Shechem. If any thing, says Dr. E. D. Clarke, connected with the remembrance of past ages be calculated to awaken local enthusiasm, the land around this city is preeminently entitled to consideration. The sacred story of events transacted in the fields of Sichem, Genesis 37, from our earliest years, is remembered with delight; but with the territory before our eyes, where those events took place, and in the view of objects existing as they were described above three thousand years ago, the grateful impression kindles into ecstacy. Along the valley may still be seen, as in the days of Reuben and Judah, "a company of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing spicery, and balm, and myrrh," who would gladly purchase another Joseph of his brethren, and convey him as a slave to some Potiphar in Egypt. Upon the hills around, flocks and herds are seen feeding as of old; nor in the simple garb of the shepherds of Samaria, at this day, is there any thing repugnant to the notions we may entertain of the appearance formerly presented by the sons of Jacob. In the time of Alexander the Great, Sichem, or Napolose, as it is now called, was considered as the capital of Samaria. Its inhabitants were called Samaritans, not merely as people of Samaria, but as a sect at variance with the Jews; and they have continued to maintain their peculiar tenets to this day. The inhabitants, according to Procopius, were much favoured by the Emperor Justinian, who restored their sanctuaries, and added largely to the edifices of the city. The principal object of veneration among them is Jacob's well, over which a church was formerly erected. This is situated at a small distance from the town in the road to Jerusalem, and has been visited by pilgrims of all ages, but particularly since the Christian era, as the place where Christ revealed himself to the woman of Samaria. The spot is so distinctly marked by the evangelist, John iv, and so little liable to uncertainty from the circumstance of the well itself, and the features of the country, that, if no tradition existed to identify it, the site of it could scarcely be mistaken. Perhaps no Christian scholar ever read the fourth chapter of St. John's Gospel attentively, without being struck with the numerous internal evidences of truth which crowd upon the mind in its perusal. Within so small a compass, it is impossible to find in other writings so many sources of reflection and of interest. Independently of its importance as a theological document, it concentrates so much information, that a volume might be filled with the illustration it reflects upon the history of the Jews, and upon the geography of their country. All that can be gathered from Josephus on these subjects seems to be as a comment to illustrate this chapter. The journey of our Lord from Judea into Galilee; the cause of it; his passage through the territory of Samaria; his approach to the metropolis of that country; its name; his arrival at the Amorite field, which terminates the narrow valley of Sichem; the ancient custom of halting at a well; the female employment of drawing water; the disciples sent into the city for food, by which its situation out of the town is so obviously implied; the question of the woman referring to existing prejudices which separated the Jews from the Samaritans; the depth of the well; the oriental allusion contained in the expression, "living water;" the history of the well, and the customs illustrated by it; the worship upon Mount Gerizim:—all these occur within the space of twenty verses; and if to these be added that remarkable circumstance mentioned in the fifty-first verse of the chapter, where it is stated that as he was now going down, his servants met him," his whole route from Cana being a continual descent toward Capernaum, we may consider it as a record, signally confirmed in its veracity by circumstances, which remain in indelible character, to give them evidence, to this day.
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Jacob's Well
Easton's Bible Dictionary - Jacob's Well
(John 4:5,6 ). This is one of the few sites in Palestine about which there is no dispute. It was dug by Jacob, and hence its name, in the "parcel of ground" which he purchased from the sons of Hamor (Genesis 33:19 ). It still exists, but although after copious rains it contains a little water, it is now usually quite dry. It is at the entrance to the valley between Ebal and Gerizim, about 2 miles south-east of Shechem. It is about 9 feet in diameter and about 75 feet in depth, though in ancient times it was no doubt much deeper, probably twice as deep. The digging of such a well must have been a very laborious and costly undertaking. "Unfortunately, the well of Jacob has not escaped that misplaced religious veneration which cannot be satisfied with leaving the object of it as it is, but must build over it a shrine to protect and make it sacred. A series of buildings of various styles, and of different ages, have cumbered the ground, choked up the well, and disfigured the natural beauty and simplicity of the spot. At present the rubbish in the well has been cleared out; but there is still a domed structure over it, and you gaze down the shaft cut in the living rock and see at a depth of 70 feet the surface of the water glimmering with a pale blue light in the darkness, while you notice how the limestone blocks that form its curb have been worn smooth, or else furrowed by the ropes of centuries" (Hugh Macmillan).
At the entrance of the enclosure round the well is planted in the ground one of the wooden poles that hold the telegraph wires between Jerusalem and Haifa.

Sentence search

Jacob (2) - Jacob's Well
Sychar - City of Samaria in the vicinity of which was Jacob's Well, where the Lord met the woman of Samaria, and where He stayed two days, and many of the Samaritans believed on Him. Jacob's Well is about half a mile from the village
Sychar - It is objected that Jacob's Well at the entrance into the valley is a mile and a half from Shechem, and that it is unlikely the woman, if belonging to Shechem, would go so far for water when plenty was nearer at hand; but Robinson conjectures the town had extensive suburbs anciently which reached to near Jacob's Well. However Sychar may have been close to the well; and (Thomson, Land and Book, 31) the present village, Aschar, just above Jacob's Well, on the side of Ebal and on the road by which caravans pass from Jerusalem to Damascus, and by which doubtless Jesus passed between Judaea and Galilee, may answer to Sychar. of, Neapolis (Shechem ) by the field of Joseph with Jacob's Well. Jacob's Well is at the point where the narrow vale of Shechem broadens into the great plain; it is 2,000 yards E. The tomb of Joseph is a third of a mile northeastward, thence a path ascends to Aschar which is visible from Jacob's Well
Sychar - It has now, however, as the result of recent explorations, been identified with 'Askar, a small Samaritan town on the southern base of Ebal, about a mile to the north of Jacob's Well
Shalem - Perfect, a place (probably the village of Salim) some 2 miles east of Jacob's Well
Sychar - A small village near Jacob's Well, John 4:5
Jacob's Well - The distance from Shechem (Sychar) is no objection; for even if the Samaritan woman's coming to the well was not the result of a providential accident, the sacredness of Jacob's Well and the excellence of its deep drawn water would account for her coming so far. , and consequently a large part of it lay nearer to Jacob's Well than to the fountain Ain el Askar at the N. of Sychar would repair to Jacob's Well rather than to Ain el Askar, which is ten minutes' walk from Jacob's Well
Sychar - ” A village in Samaria where Jacob's Well is located (John 4:5-6 )
Shalem - Moreover, if Shalem were Salim, Jacob's Well and Joseph's tomb would have to be removed from their appropriate traditional site to a spot further E
Jacob's Well - It is called Jacob's Well because the patriarch who "drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle" gave it to the tribe of Joseph
Well of the Samaritan Woman - It is called Jacob's Well because the patriarch who "drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle" gave it to the tribe of Joseph
Gerizim - (See Judges 9:7) The Samaritans had a high veneration for this mountain; witness the words of the adulteress at Jacob's Well to Christ
Sechem - Here Joseph's bones were brought out of Egypt to be interred; and on the same piece of ground was the well called Jacob's Well, at which our Saviour sat down when he had the memorable conversation with the woman of Samaria, John 4, which caused her, and many other inhabitants of Sechem, or Sychar, as it is there called, to receive him as the Messiah. " The celebrated well called Jacob's Well, but which, with the inhabitants of Sechem, is known by the name of Bir Samaria, or the "Well of Samaria," is situated about half an hour's walk east of the town
Well - Beersheba, Rehoboth, and Jacob's Well are leading instances of wells (Genesis 21:19; Genesis 26:22). Jacob's Well is 75 ft
Wells - , and the two words πηγή, 'spring' or 'fountain,' and φρέαρ, 'well,' are both used respecting Jacob's Well; so that apparently it was a fountain (John 4:6 ) within the well
Mount Samaria - Hence, in the conversation the woman at Jacob's Well had with Christ, she seemed anxious to know whether they were right
Shechem - Jesus visited the region, preached to a woman at Jacob's Well, and many from Sychar believed on him
Shechem - In its vicinity was Jacob's Well or fountain, at which Christ discoursed with the woman of Samaria, John 4:5 . At the foot of these mountains on the east lies the beautiful plain of Mukhna, ten miles long and a mile and a half wide; and where the valley opens on this plain, Joseph's tomb and Jacob's Well are located, by the unanimous consent of Jews, Christians, and Mohammedans. " ...
"The principal object of veneration is Jacob's Well, over which a church was formerly erected
Gerizim And Ebal - The small Samaritan community continues to worship on Gerizim today, just as they did in Jesus' lifetime when He met the Samaritan woman drawing water from Jacob's Well
Jacob's Well - The principal object of veneration among them is Jacob's Well, over which a church was formerly erected
She'Chem - It is the SYCHAR of (John 4:5 ) near which the Saviour conversed with the Samaritan woman at Jacob's Well
Wells And Springs - ...
Jacob's Well, at the eastern entrance of the charming valley of Shechem, is still in existence, though now little used and often nearly dry
jo'Seph - His tomb is, according to tradition, about a stone's throw from Jacob's Well
Shechem (1) - However the phrase in Genesis 33:19, "a parcel of a field," Joshua 24:32, favors the site near Jacob's Well, bechelqat hasadeh , a smooth lever open cultivated land; in Palestine there is not to be found such a dead level, without the least hollow in a circuit of two hours
Jesus Christ - On his way through Samaria he conversed with a woman at Jacob's Well
Messiah - Jesus proclaimed himself as the Messiah in Nazareth (Luke 4:16-22 ) and at Jacob's Well to the Samaritan woman (John 4:24-25 )
Heracleon, a Gnostic - The water of Jacob's Well which she rejected is Judaism; the husband whom she is to call is no earthly husband, but her spiritual bridegroom from the Pleroma; the other husbands with whom she previously had committed fornication represent the matter with which the spiritual have been entangled; that she is no longer to worship either in "this mountain" or in "Jerusalem" means that she is not, like the heathen, to worship the visible creation, the Hyle, or kingdom of the devil, nor like the Jews to worship the creator or Demiurge; her watering-pot is her good disposition for receiving life from the Saviour
Jesus Christ - On the trip back to Galilee, Jesus rather openly declared to the woman at Jacob's Well in Samaria some of his challenging, new ideas
John, Theology of - The religious value of ceremonial water (2:9-11), the temple (2:20-22), rabbinic teaching (3:1-15), and Jacob's Well (4:13-15) are all replaced by Christ