Last Sunday, the third Sunday of Lent, our Gospel of Jesus and the Samaritan woman in Jacob's well. Where is the present day Samaritan? Where is the present day Sychar? Where is that well called Jacob's well. Is the well still there or where it was situated. During our Holy Land Pilgrimage last November in celebration with the Golden Jubilee of the Diocese of San Pablo, we visited many places but more were not included such as the well of Jacob.
The Fountain of Jacob associated with ancient religious tradition as our Gospel of the third week of lent have narrated which is the place of encounter with the Samaritan woman and Jesus and later on with the neighbors and town's folk of the said woman, is presently situated according to the experts is situated a short distance from the archaeological site of Tell Balata.Tell Balata is the site of the remains of an ancient Canaanite/Israelite city located in the Palestinian West Bank.The site is listed by UNESCO as part of the Inventory of Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites of Potential Outstanding Universal Value in the Palestinian Territories. A site protected by United Nations.
Therefore, the well of Jacob is situated in a Palestinian territory controlled by Israeli Government. From my previous pilgrimage that there are Palestinian territory controlled by Palestine politically and militarily and there are Palestinian territory controlled by the Palestine politically but nor militarily. This present day territory is controlled by the Palestine politically but not militarily within the city of Nablus in the west bank after it was handed to the national Palestinian Authority on December 12, 1995 Today Nablus is inhabited by the Muslim majority and most of them are from the descendants of the Samaritans. .
Here is the coordinates, 32° 12′ 43″ N, 35° 16′ 40″ E
History coming from the writings of the pilgrims indicates that several Churches were built on the site and have suffered violent existence because of the peace and order climate. But the local Christians continue to venerate the site with or without the structured churches.
we have also to thank the Crusaders that one of their good work is to reclaim the holy sites. we thank them for occupying Nublus in 1099 wherein pilgrims have mentioned of the well without mentioning any church. A crusader era church was built on the year 1175 but was destroyed when Saladin become victorious in the Battle of Hittin in 1187. The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate obtained the place in 1860 and a Church was built in honor of Saint Photini, the Samaritan afterwards. The 1927 Jericho Earthquake destroyed it.
Since 1967 when the Israeli occupation of the west bank, the place became a site of tension between Jews and Christians. In November 1979, a week after a Zionist group came to the monastery claiming it as a Jewish holy place and demanding that all religious iconography be removed, the custodian of the well, Archimandrite Philoumenos, was found hatcheted to death inside the crypt housing the well.