This sermon is part of the sermon series "The Heart". See series.
More than 3,000 years ago, near the city of Shechem, in the land we know today as Israel, an unknown seeker began digging a hole in the crusty soil where he and his family scratched out a living. The back-breaking work became harder still as his pick hit the strata of limestone that sits just below the topsoil in this unforgiving land. The sun was hot. The dry, dusty air burned in his throat and lungs. Nevertheless, the seeker continued working, day after day, digging deeper and deeper, sending bucket after bucket of stone fragments up to the surface. Months later, at a depth of more than 100 feet, the man finally struck what he was after. Up from the cracks in the limestone came bubbling a cold, clear substance. And from the depths of that pit, the seeker cried out toward the heavens a single word of ecstatic praise: "Water!"
The Bible tells us that, in time, this land and its cistern would be bought for "a hundred pieces of silver" by Jacob, the grandson of Abraham and father of Joseph (Genesis 33:18-19). The place would become known as "Jacob's well," and from its depths would rise the grace that sustained generation upon generation of Israelites. In time, however, this region of Canaan, known as Samaria, became shunned by traditional Jews. An offshoot of the Hebrew people established nearby Mount Gerazim as their central place of worship, building on its summit a magnificent temple and declaring it—not Jerusalem—as the one true place where God should be honored. For this reason, among others, a great antagonism grew up between Jews and their cousins, the Samaritans. When travelling between the southern and northern sections of Israel, most Jews and every Jewish holy man by-passed ...
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