Lent • Day 37

Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept.

Genesis 33:4

So [Jesus] came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well.

John 4:5-6

Around 700 years before Jesus was born, the children of Abraham divided.

Ten tribes formed the Kingdom of Israel in the north. Two tribes became the Kingdom of Judah in the south. For generations, the two sibling nations fought.

Eventually, the Assyrians marched on the Kingdom of Israel and defeated it. The conquered Israelites intermingled with their captors, marrying Assyrians and worshiping their gods and goddesses alongside The LORD (2 Kings 17:29-4, Ezra 9:1-10:44).

By the time of Jesus, no one was more despised and discriminated against by pureblooded, faithful Jews than the halfbreed, idolatrous descendants of the Kingdom of Israel known as Samaritans.

Jews viewed Samaritans as the Gentile children of Satan, a “herd” and not even a nation. Samaritan testimony was inadmissible is a Jewish court. The Samaritan city of Shechem was renamed “Sychar” by the Jews, which means drunkenness. Jews shunned all interactions with Samaritans, circumnavigating their territory when traveling between Galilee and Judea – extending the journey by days. To the Jews of Jesus’ time, Samaritans were subhuman, untrustworthy, unclean, ungodly foreigners to be avoided – not fellow descendants of Abraham and coheirs of the promises of God.

Jesus traveled through Samaritan territory and not around it on his trip from Judea to Galilee. He arrived tired and thirsty to a Samaritan village and sat down at its well.

Jacob’s well.

Remember Jacob?

After Jacob stole his father’s blessing from his big brother Esau, he ran away, scared of Esau’s anger and strength. The great-grandsons of Abraham divided.

Years later, humbled and sorry, Jacob invited Esau to meet with him.

Jacob waited with his whole household for Esau to arrive. His wives had never met his brother. His children had never seen their uncle.

Then Jacob saw his brother coming from a long way off. Esau was running.

Big brother embraced little brother, kissed him, and both men wept. Jacob told Esau that seeing his face was like seeing the face of God (Genesis 33:10).

Then Jacob dug a well nearby in Sychar.

Generations later, the promised Messiah came to the place where Abraham’s family was once mended to mend it once again. Jesus sat by Jacob’s well and waited for a Samaritan to come and drink and be embraced by God.


• Who do I dislike that God loves? Who do I avoid that God runs to?

Our Prayer

LORD, we have reviled those you have reconciled. We have cursed those you have created. We have feared those you call family.

We repent.

Reconcile us to our brothers and sisters today. Give us a genuine love for them – Your love – and break us through the boundaries of race, politics, doctrinal differences, and nationality to embrace one another.