AFTER the Passover mentioned in our last lesson, Jesus and his disciples seem to have tarried some time in the country of Judea before going back to Galilee. The record says: "And after these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judea, and there he tarried with them and baptized." At this same time John was baptizing in Enon, near to Salim, which is supposed to have been on the Jordan, about two-thirds of the way from the Dead Sea to the Sea of Galilee. And the disciples of John, when they heard that .Jesus and his disciples were preaching and baptizing throughout the country, "came unto John and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him." Perhaps these disciples of John were envious because that Jesus and his disciples were more sought after than they and their master; but John certainly had no such spirit, as his answer to them plainly shows. He said to them, "A man can receive nothing except it be given him from Heaven." He then went on to tell them that he was not the Christ, but that he had been sent to prepare the way before him, and in doing this his joy was fulfilled. But now that work was done; and from that time onward the fame of Christ was to increase, while his own must decrease. He also expressed his perfect confidence in Christ as the Saviour, and told them that without faith in him, none could be saved.

"When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples) he left Judea" and "returned in the power of the Spirit unto Galilee." Following the great road leading north from Judea into Galilee, Jesus and his disciples would pass by Ramah, Bethel, Gilgal, Shiloh, and other little towns; until finally, about thirty miles north of Jerusalem, they came to the city of Sychar. 

The ancient name of Sychar was Shechem, but it is now called Nablous. It is situated in the valley between two remarkable mountains called E'bal and Gerizim. 

The great road, leading north enters this valley about a mile and a half east of the city. Near this place, and just at the foot of Mount Gerizim, is the well, which Jacob dug in the parcel of ground which he bought of Hamor, the father of Shechem.

Many years before the time of Christ, when the children of Israel had first entered the land of Canaan, they came to Mounts Ebal and Gerizim, and there pronounced the blessings and curses, as Moses had told them to do when they were still on the other side of Jordan. These mountains seem remarkably suited for the purpose to which they were set apart by Moses. They rise close together; and it is said that part way up the side of Ebal is a recess in the mountain, exactly facing a similar recess in Gerizim. So travelers think that those who uttered the blessings and curses did not stand on the tops of the mountains, but in these recesses on their sides. In this way they might easily be heard from one mountain to the other, and also by the people in the valley below.