Jesus told His disciples, ìYou shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in
all Judea and Samaria . . .î  (Acts 1:8)  Being a witness for Him in Jerusalem
and in all Judea was not easy, but it was understandable.  After all, they
were proclaiming the message of the Messiah of Israel.  Being a witness for
Him in Gentile Samaria was harder to understand, especially since Jews and
Samaritans did not think highly of each other in the first century. (cf. Lk.
There were good Biblical reasons why the Jews did not have any dealings with
the Samaritans.  There was the history of the Samaritans, as recorded by the
writer of Kings: ìIn the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured
Samaria and carried Israel [the northern kingdom] away into exile to Assyria.
. . .  And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon and from Cuthah and
from Avva and from Hamath and Sephar-vaim, and settled them in the cities of
Samaria in place of the sons of Israel.  So they possessed Samaria and lived
in its cities.  And it came about at the beginning of their living there, that
they did not fear the Lord . . .î (2 Kgs. 17:6, 24-25)
God sent punishment on the new inhabitants of Samaria for their idolatry, but
instead of changing their practices, they only added a veneer of worship to
the God of Israel.  The Biblical account continues: ìTo this day they do
according to the earlier customs: they do not fear the Lord, nor do they
follow their statutes or their ordinances or the law, or the commandments
which the Lord commanded the sons of Jacob, whom He named Israel. . . .  So
while these Gentiles feared the Lord, they also served their idols; their
children likewise and their grandchildren, as their fathers did, so they do to
this day.î (2 Kgs. 17:34, 41)
After the return from exile, God made it clear that Israel should have nothing
to do with the peoples who were living in the land. (cf. Neh. 13:23-25)
However, He never commanded Israel to despise or mistreat the Samaritans.
That is why Jesus told a Jewish audience the uncomplimentary parable in which
a good Samaritan takes care of an abandoned, wounded Jew - his enemy.  Jesus
taught that one must show this kind of self-sacrificing love in order to
receive eternal life. (Lk. 10:25-37)
Jesus loved the Samaritans.  He wanted them to repent and believe, so that
they might live.  But God must be known and worshipped in truth.  Repentance
and faith are not ethereal substances.  They have both content and context.
To worship God in Spirit and in Truth, people need to know both that content
and that context.  So when Jesus encountered a Samaritan woman at Jacobís
well, he told her, ìYou  [Samaritans] worship that which you do not know; we
[Jews] worship that which we know; for salvation is from the Jews.î (Jn. 4:22)
Part of the truth of God is the Jewishness of His gospel.  [Please see ***.]
God has prepared a way of salvation for all peoples, but He has prepared it in
a very narrow way.  God has presented Himself and His way of salvation to all
the earth through the Jews.  That may be offensive to some, but it is an
integral part of Godís eternal plan of redemption and a necessary component of
Messiahís identity.
The Samaritans were not pleased to be reminded of Godís relationship with the
Jewish people and His promises to them.  Nonetheless, Jesus did not hide His
Jewishness in order to appeal to Samaritans.  On the contrary, He chose to
make His Jewishness and the Jewishness of the gospel a central issue.  And
what was the result?  After Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman, she believed
and ìfrom that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word
of the woman. . . .  And many more believed because of His word.î (Jn. 4:39,
The Samaritans were not pleased to be reminded of the falseness of their own
religious system, but they recognized the authority of the Messianic
prophesies in Tanakh.  They knew that the Messiah of the Jews was the savior
of the world.
After that Messiah, Jesus, rose from the dead, His followers proclaimed the
gospel in Jerusalem and Judea, and also in Samaria. (Acts 8:1-14)  They did
not formulate a new gospel for the Samaritans.  They preached the only gospel
they had - the gospel that Jesus had taught them, the same one He had
communicated to the Samaritan woman.  The Bible tells us that the Samaritans
received that message.