Tag Archives: Nablus

Jacob’s Well — Then and Now

SycharMap01Just to the northeast of the modern city of Nablus is the small suburb of Askar (New Testament Sychar).  It was in the vicinity of Sychar that Jesus met the Samaritan Woman at “Jacob’s Well” (John 4 and especially 4:12).

In 1860 the Greek Orthodox purchased the property and restored the crypt that included the famous 75 ft. deep well.  Although the foundation and walls of a church were begun in the 20th century, the church was not completed until 2007.


View of the uncompleted interior of the Greek Orthodox Church in the 1970/s. The “outhouse-looking” structures are the entrance and exit to the subterranean well.

The image below is the current beautiful interior of the Greek Orthodox Church.


Interior of the Greek Orthodox Church — 21st Century — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download

In the image above note the iconostasis and especially the two staircases down to the well.  Compare the current state of the church with its prior status pictured above!


View of the grotto and the well head that is located under the altar area of the Greek Orthodox Church (ca. 1934). — This picture is from the Matson Photograph Collection, Library of Congress, call number LC-M32-A[P&P].

 Tradition has it, that this is the spot where Jesus, at mid-day, met the Samaritan woman who had come to draw water (John 4).


View looking down from Mt. Gerizim, where the Samaritan Temple was built, at the Greek Orthodox Church built over the site of “Jacob’s Well” (see John 4).



Tel Balata (Shechem) Becoming Tourist Friendly

February 4, 2016 — given the current “situation” I cannot recommend travel to this area of the country.  Hopefully, more peaceful conditions will return.

Original Post – ca August 2011.  On a recent trip to Israel I visited the OT site of Shechem (modern Nablus) for the first time since 2000. Shechem is identified with T. Balata and is located 30 mi. [48 km] N of Jerusalem, on E side of Nablus.

Twenty Seven Foot High Cyclopean Foundation for City Wall at Shechem—1600 BC

Shechem is mentioned close to 60 times in the Bible. It was an important non-Israelite center that figured prominently in the stories of Abraham, Jacob, and later Abimelech (Judges 9). During the days of Joshua it seems to have served as an Israelite tribal and religious center.

Shechem was located on the boundary between Manasseh and Ephraim (Josh 17:2, 7) and was designated as a Levitical city as well as a city of refuge (Josh 20:7; 21:21; 1 Chron 6:66, 67). It served briefly as the first capital of the N kingdom but was replaced by Tirzah and then Samaria.

I have posted 10 high-resolution images of Shechem—including two original drawings of the site by Balage Balogh—on my web site.  To view a map and images Click Here.

To visit a very useful (official?) web site on the modern (2011!) development of Tell Balata click here.  There you can download a pdf diagram of the tell, pdf maps on how to get to the site, and plans for future touristic development.  We wish them well!  To visit Balage Balogh’s web site Click Here.