Ancient Shechem site re-opens

(Franciscan Media Center) Shechem, a place referred to over 50 times in the Bible, appears as early as Genesis 12:6.  Here we read about Abraham, our father in faith, who arrived at Shechem and offered sacrifice.  “Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.”  

Shechem’s importance is recognized, as it is mentioned throughout all of the major sections of the Old Testament, including Wisdom Literature and the Major Prophets.  Shechem is also mentioned in the New Testament in the Acts of the Apostles.  St. Stephen, immediately before his martyrdom, recalls sacred history.  “And Joseph sent and called to him Jacob his father and all his kindred, seventy-five souls; and Jacob went down into Egypt. And he died, himself and our fathers, and they were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of silver from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.” (7:14-16)

Why do we say all of this?  Our partners at Franciscan Media Center released a video documenting a brief history of Shechem as well as announcing that the site has been re-opened to pilgrims.  One of the most appreciated pilgrimage sites is Jacob’s Well, over which a Greek Orthodox Church has been built.  The Scripture tell us of that Jesus himself was in Shechem when we stopped and talked to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well.  “So he came to a city of Samar’ia, called Sy’char, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and so Jesus, wearied as he was with his journey, sat down beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.”(Jn 4:5-6)