17458201911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 15 — Jacob's Well

JACOB’S WELL, the scene of the conversation between Jesus and the “woman of Samaria” narrated in the Fourth Gospel, is described as being in the neighbourhood of an otherwise unmentioned “city called Sychar.” From the time of Eusebius this city has been identified with Sychem or Shechem (modern Nablus), and the well is still in existence 11/2 m. E. of the town, at the foot of Mt Gerizim. It is beneath one of the ruined arches of a church mentioned by Jerome, and is reached by a few rough steps. When Robinson visited it in 1838 it was 105 ft. deep, but it is now much shallower and often dry.

For a discussion of Sychar as distinct from Shechem see T. K. Cheyne, art. “Sychar,” in Ency. Bibl., col. 4830. It is possible that Sychar should be placed at Tulūl Balātā, a mound about 1/2 m. W. of the well (Palestine Exploration Fund Statement, 1907, p. 92 seq.); when that village fell into ruin the name may have migrated to ʽAskar, a village on the lower slopes of Mt Ebal about 13/4 m. E.N.E. from Nablus and 1/2 m. N. from Jacob’s Well. It may be noted that the difficulty is not with the location of the well, but with the identification of Sychar.