Jacob's Well

(John 4:5, 6). This is one of the few sites in Israel about
which there is no dispute. It was dug by Jacob, and hence its
name, in the "parcel of ground" which he purchased from the sons
of Hamor (Gen. 33:19). It still exists, but although after
copious rains it contains a little water, it is now usually
quite dry. It is at the entrance to the valley between Ebal and
Gerizim, about 2 miles south-east of Shechem. It is about 9 feet
in diameter and about 75 feet in depth, though in ancient times
it was no doubt much deeper, probably twice as deep. The digging
of such a well must have been a very laborious and costly

"Unfortunately, the well of Jacob has not escaped that
misplaced religious veneration which cannot be satisfied with
leaving the object of it as it is, but must build over it a
shrine to protect and make it sacred. A series of buildings of
various styles, and of different ages, have cumbered the ground,
choked up the well, and disfigured the natural beauty and
simplicity of the spot. At present the rubbish in the well has
been cleared out; but there is still a domed structure over it,
and you gaze down the shaft cut in the living rock and see at a
depth of 70 feet the surface of the water glimmering with a pale
blue light in the darkness, while you notice how the limestone
blocks that form its curb have been worn smooth, or else
furrowed by the ropes of centuries" (Hugh Macmillan).

At the entrance of the enclosure round the well is planted in
the ground one of the wooden poles that hold the telegraph wires
between Jerusalem and Haifa.