“If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water…But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life… The woman then left her water pot and went her way into the city and saith to the men, Come see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? Then they went out of the city and came to him.” John 4:10, 14, 28-30
Dear Intercessors for Israel:
Greetings from Maryland! Marylois and I are briefly visiting family before we depart for Israel and another season at the House of Peace. Earlier this year, Marylois, and I, Sharon and Phil, and others visited the Palestinian city of Nablus, where some 125,000 people live. Nablus was once called Neapolis or New City, by the Romans. It is located in a valley between Mt. Ebal and Mt Gerizim. This is the area where the Samaritans dwelt. Today there are still about some 300 left who practice their ancient faith and worship on Mt Gerizim. Nablus is also where the ruins of biblical city of Shechem are found and where Abraham first built an altar to the LORD God (Gen. 12:6). Here, God promised the land to him.
Here Jacob built an altar and named it “El-elohe-israel,” meaning “God, the God of Israel” (Gen. 33:17-20). Here also Jacob dug a well for his many herds, and met Rachel. This well is still there today.
Jacob’s well was where Jesus was resting when the Samaritan woman came to draw water. It was a divine encounter, for she came away greatly changed. Her life had been marred by broken relationships, yet in meeting Jesus, she accepted “the gift of God” and went away whole.
Early church traditions say that her name was Photini, (the enlightened on.) Greek sermons from the fourth to the fourteenth centuries identify her as an “apostle” and “evangelist.” She was the first evangelist. Many of the Samaritans believed that Jesus was the Messiah because of what she said. They prevailed on Jesus to stay another two days. (vs 39-40) She then began traveling far and wide, preaching the good news of the Messiah’s coming, His death, and resurrection. Tradition says that Photini appeared before Nero, converted his daughter to Christianity and then died a martyr’s death. She was a spiritual well full of living water.
Samaria: The ancient Samaritans were outcasts. The Samaritan woman told Jesus that “the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans” (Jn. 4:9). And in many ways, the Samaritans were themselves like the woman who met Jesus by the well. Broken and divorced by the Jews, they were hated and rejected.
Long ago, the conquering Assyrians settled the kingdom of Northern Israel with non-Jewish gentiles who worshiped idols, who then intermarried with the Jews who were left (722 B.C.). These Jews had elected to worship God at their mountain, not the Temple in Jerusalem. They only followed the first five books of the Bible, not the Prophets or Psalms. These Israelite descendants of the Northern Kingdom were a rebellious lot. The worst insult that a Jew could use was to call someone a Samaritan, such as in John 8:48 when the hostile Pharisees answered Jesus by saying, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and are possessed?”
Samaritans were known to lie in wait for Jews traveling from Galilee to Jerusalem for the feast days. Sometimes these attacks escalated into death, and in at least one instance, Rome intervened. As a result, Galileans (except for Jesus) used the longer route on the other side of the Jordan. Under the leadership of Sanballat during the time of Nehemiah, they attempted to stop the rebuilding of the Temple.
The Disciples Marveled: John writes that “the disciples marveled” that Jesus was talking to a woman, no less a Samaritan one. Yet how much more did these Jewish followers of Jesus marvel when the whole city came and stay with them. This was unheard of: Jew and Gentile as one. Jesus, by deliberately journeying through Samaria, brought revival and healing. He was/is the gift of God, then, now and always. John writes that “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish.” (Jn. 3:16)
Nablus: Nablus is still a place where the Jews have no dealings with the people of this city. Overlooking this city are the Israeli communities of Alon Moreh and Itamar. Religious Jews sometimes visit Joseph’s tomb which is located near Jacob’s well, but under IDF supervision. There is still a wide gulf of separation here between those who are Jewish and those who follow Islam.
Please pray this week for Nablus and the people there. Pray that the Gift of God would be seen and that these modern-day Samaritan Muslims would seek after Jesus. Pray for revival.
News from Israel: Israel is still heavily involved in preventing Iran from re-supplying its forces with advanced weapon systems. The IDF announced that it has conducted over 200 strikes on targets in Syria. Israel has repeatedly stated that it will not tolerate an Iranian military presence of any kind in Syria, which has been supporting President Bashar Assad’s regime and abetting terror proxies such as Hezbollah in the ongoing civil war.
Syria is a war-torn nation where five countries: The United States, Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Israel itself are involved fighting their own aims. Israel is preparing itself and keeping its forces ready to counter any situation.
Pray that the IDF remain on alert and that any plans of the evil one against Israel would fail.
Israel-Philippines Agreement: Philippine President Duterte is making an official visit to Israel this week. Prime Minister Netanyahu in greeting him remarked: “We mark that this is the first visit by a president of the Philippines in the history of Israel. It is deeply appreciated. We remember the exceptional role of the Philippines that received Jewish refugees during the Holocaust. We remember that the Philippines was the only Asian country that voted for the establishment of the State of Israel in the UN resolution in 1947. Mr. President, we remember our friends. And that friendship has blossomed over the years, and especially over the last few years” (www.imra.org,il).
Three new agreements were signed in trade, in science, and in caregiving. The last concerning Philippine caregivers was the most important. Prime Minister Netanyahu declared:
“There has been a remarkable phenomenon in Israel where thousands and thousands of families have taken heart from the support given by Filipino care workers to the elderly. I am one of those families, Mr. President. My late father, who died at the age of 102, in his later years received incredible care by a caregiver from the Philippines, Lee, a woman of exceptional compassion and intelligence. She took care of my father’s every need. And when he passed away, she took care of his brother’s needs, until he passed away.
“I, like many, many Israeli families, am deeply moved by this show of humanity. And today we’re going to sign an agreement that will knock off as much as $12,000 from the cost of every caregiver. This is money that is taken away from the caregivers and the families, the Israeli families who so want their service. This is an exceptional agreement and I think it heralds the kind of friendship that we are developing.”
This reduction in costs is a great blessing for every Israeli that desires to hire a Philippine caregiver and to those who need employment from the Philippines.
I will be traveling to the Philippines next month to minister, and my heart is overjoyed to see how God is using these people to minister to his people in Israel in these last days.
Gene and Marylois/House of Peace