Ancient Sources

Mount Ephraim and Benjamin

41. Here is Jacob's well


Sychar ante Neapolim iuxta agrum quem dedit Iacob filio suo Iosef in quo dominus noster atque salvator secundum Evangelium Ioannis Samaritanae mulieri ad puteum loquitur, ubi nunc ecclesia fabricata est.
(Jerome 165:1-4)


Eusebius, Onomasticon 164:1-4 (ca. 295 A.D.); Jerome 165:1-4 (ca. 390 A.D.)
Sychar (John 4:5) before Neapolis, near the field which Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Here according to John our Lord and Saviour conversed with the Samaritan woman beside the well, and the place is known to this day. Now a church has been built there.


John 4:5-30 Jesus speak to the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well
So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon. A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?" (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water." The woman said to him, "Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?" Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life." The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water." Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come back." The woman answered him, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You are right in saying, 'I have no husband'; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!" The woman said to him, "Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem." Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah is coming" (who is called Christ). "When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us." Jesus said to her, "I am he, the one who is speaking to you." Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, "What do you want?" or, "Why are you speaking with her?" Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, "Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?" They left the city and were on their way to him.

Itinerarium Burdigalense 588 (333 A.D.)
A mile from there is the place called Sychar, where the Samaritan woman went down to draw water, at the very place where Jacob dug the well, and our Lord Jesus Christ spoke with her. Some plane trees are there, planted by Jacob, and there is a bath which takes its water from this well.

Hieronymus, Ep.108 (Peregrinatio Paulae) 13 (385 A.D.)
She passed on to Shechem (not, as some wrongly take it, "Sychar"), now called Neapolis, and near Mount Gerizim she went into the church built round the Well of Jacob. This is where the Lord sat down, hungry and thirsty, and was refreshed by the faith of the woman of Samaria, who had left her five husbands, (the books of Moses) and the sixth whom she boasted she had (the error of Dositheus), and found the true Messiah and Saviour.

Anonymus Placentinus, Itinerarium 6 (ca. 570 A.D.)
From Tabor we went to the Sea of Tiberias, and the city which was once called Samaria, but its name is now Neapolis. In it is the well where the Lord askes the Samaritan woman for waterThis well is in front of the altar-screen, and they have a bucket there which, it is said, is the very one from which the Lord drank. Many diseases are cured there.

Adamnanus, De locis sanctis II,21 (ca. 670 A.D.)
The holy priest Arculf travelled through Samaria, and arrived at a city of that district whose Hebrew name is Shechem, though in Greek and Latin it is normally called Sicima. It is commonly (though incorrectly) called Sychar. Close to this city and outside its wall he saw a church with four bays stretching out to the four points of the world,like a cross. There is a sketch of it below.
Inside this church, and in the centre of it, is the Spring of Jacob, often called the "Well".It is midway between these four bays. Here, one day at noon, the Saviour sat down, tired by the effort of his journey. At this noon time the Samaritan woman also came to the well to draw water. Amongst other things which the woman said to the Lord was this reply, "Lord,thou hast nothing with which to draw water, and the well is deep" (John:4.11). Arculf, who drank water from this well, had this to say about its depth, "the well I saw was forty orias deep" (this means forty cubits, since an oria or a cubit is the width of both hands stretched out side by side).
Shechem, also called Sicima, was once accounted a city of priests and a city of refuge in the tribe of Manasseh. It is in Mount Ephraim, and joseph's bones were buried there.


Arculf's drawing
(ca. 670 A.D.)
Fons Iacob

see also: 35. Neapolis - (Nablus)
see also:
38. Sychar which is now Sycchora - ('Askar)
see also: 39. The (place) of Joseph - (Qabr an-Nabi Yusuf)
see also: 40. Sychem also Sikima and Salim - (Tell Balatah)
see also: 42. Tur Gobel (Mount Ebal) - (Jabal Islamiyah)
see also: 43. Tur (Mount) Garizin - (Jabal al-Tur)

Map Section 5 Place Discussion

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Created Saturday, December 16, 2000 at 12:56:58
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