Page images
PDF
EPUB

* What do we ? for this man doth many “ miracles. If we let him thus alone,” (after this manner doing many miracles,) “all men “will believe on him.” So ch. viii. 59, “ Then took they up stones to cast at him ; “ but Jesus hid himself, and went out of “ the temple, going through the midst of “ them, and so passed by”-passed by, by hiding himself after this manner.

After this latter manner it is to be understood, I should think, here-Jesus being wearied with his journey, sat down like a weary perfon by the side of the well, and in that attitude the woman found him, preparing, it should feem, to take some repose and some repast. The disciples, it is said, ver. 8, were gone away unto the city to buy meat;” but it doth not at all follow from thence that they all went, nor is it so probable that they did, leaving him alone ; but that, on the contrary, some of them stayed with him, making luch preparations as indicated a design in them to eat bread there.

I think I have elsewhere shown, from the reports of those that have visited these countries, that it is usual for them to stop to take their repasts in their journeying near water, and under the made of trees, rocks, or something that may afford them thelter from the injuries of the air. Our Lord with his disciples seem to have had the same intention, and applied to this woman for water, of which, in those circumstances, The must have been sensible they stood in great need; and had our Lord offered to purchase it, it doth not appear that she would have been surprised, for water was frequently proposed to be purchased in those hot countries anciently'; and it appears, from ver. 8, there was nothing extraordinary in the dealing of the Jews with the Samaritans, as to buying and felling: what astonished her was our Lord's asking for water as a favour.

muft

It was indeed no more than had often been alked by, and granted to, strangers : what one, in particular, had done aforetime, who dwelt in the land of Canaan, and asked the favour of a Syrian damsel to give him and his attendants drink, Gen. xxiv. 14 and 18, where there was no expressing surprise at it on either side. Nothing more than what has been done to strangers by the women of those countries in later times. But there were no such friendly

a the fameh whichad (carce filled the

* Numb. 20. 19.

2 So Haynes tells us, that arriving at Nazareth, the latter end of December, about five in the evening, p. 133, 1 34, upon entering “ the town, we saw two women fill« ing their pitchers with water, at the fountain I have « already described, and about twelve others waiting for « the same purpose ; who n we desired to pour some into « a trough which stood hard by, that our horses might u drink. We had scarce made the request, before they u instantly complied, and filled the trough, and the others « waited with the greatest patience.” Upon returning their thanks, “ one of them with very great modesty re« plied,” We consider kindness and hospitality to tran« gers, as an essential part of our duty.'” P. 144.

dealingss

[ocr errors]

dealings, in common, between the Jews and the Samaritans.

Their dealing with each other, as to buying and selling, unless where peculiar bigotry and ill-nature prevailed', will show that the Jews might, in a peaceful state of things, without being much incommoded, pass through Samaria in their way to or from the Temple, in which country, though not a very broad one, they must have had continual occasion to take their repasts, and to lodge also, in their passing through it, especially if they did not travel with greater expedition, in that part of their journey, than Joseph and Mary are supposed to have done, in the first part of their return from Jerusalem to Galilee, Luke ii. 44.

Wolfius has remarked, very justly, and I think some others, that the Greek word ET doth not necessarily signify on--that our Lord sat on the building belonging to the well: either a circular low wall about it, like those

Luke 9. 52, 53. ? They went, the Evangelist tells us, a day's journey, before they fought the child cfuis, who they supposed was in the company with some of their relations or acquaintance : now M. Maundrell alsures us, that according to tradition, it was at Beer that they fought him, and that a church was built there, in memory of this circumstance, by the devout empress Helena, p. 64; but Beer, according to Maundrell, was only 3 hours from Jerusalem, p. 66, or about ten miles : a day's journey then, in those circumstances, was only ten miles, but Samaria, though a narrow country, was much broader than that. 3 Wolfius on the place.

used

used in country towns among us, as painters and carvers seem to have understood it; or on a more magnificent erection over so celebrated a well, as that of which the patriarch Jacob and his family had been wont to drink. It has been used for fitting not on but near a river, and so, according to modern Eastern usages, it is most natural to understand it here, of fitting in a commodious place near that well.

Whether the disciples had cords and a small leather bucket with them to draw with, which the Samaritanefs did not remark; or whether the disciples were to procure proper implements in the city, which they were afterwards to return, or at least leave at the well for the use of it's owner, who would soon have occafion to go thither'; or whether they trusted to a favourable accident, as travelling people were very frequently coming to so celebrated a well, doth not appear. None of the conjectures are highly improbable.

The time indeed when they wanted this aslistance was not the usual hour of drawing water by the inhabitants, though a common time for travellers to stop and take their repast. But it is to be remembered, when

Thus Dr. Chandler, somewhere in his Travels in the Leser Afia, fpeaks of a goat's skin with the hair on made use of as a bucket, which was distended by a piece of wood, to which the rope was fixed, and which was left at a well by a benevolent peasant, (who had before drawn water for them from thence,) for their use while he was absent.

we

we find an inhabitant coming for water, that it was winter-time', and consequently we may believe water might then be drawn at any time-at noon, as well as in the morning or evening, though these earlier and later seasons seem to have been those that were mostly made use of even in winter. Thus when Haynes travelled from Cana to Nazareth, in the depth of winter, for it was about the end of December, he found many women assembled at a fountain, to draw water, at five in the afternoon, p. 144 compared with p. 131 and 134.

The coming then of the woman of Samaria to draw water, just at noon, doth not look as though our Lord was fatigued with the beat, as well as the length of the way, as some have conjectured. The air in those countries, it is acknowledged, is frequently considerably warm in the middle of the day, in the depth of winter ; but had it been so then, the woman would hardly have gone to the well at noon for water : The would, most probably, have stayed 'till the usual timethe evening, or fetched it in the morning.

That travellers frequently stop at noon, in order to take some refreshment, is evident from a remark made by Plaistead : in giving an account of his traversing the mighty desert between Bufferah and Aleppo, he tells us, p. 81, that the caravan with which be traveller

• See ver. 35, of this 4th of John. Vol. III,

S . did

« PreviousContinue »