Where is Samaria?


Acts 8:5-8 Samaria

Acts 8:9-13 Simon the Sorcerer
ACTS 8:5  5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.

Where is "Samaria"?
The "city of Samaria" (Acts 8:5) is located about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Jerusalem in central Israel. Samaria was bought and built in 878 BC by Omri, the king of the northern kingdom of Israel (The twelve tribes of Jews that settled in Israel eventually split into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah): "In the thirty-first year of Asa king of Judah, Omri became king over Israel, and reigned twelve years. Six years he reigned in Tirzah. And he bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver; then he built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, Samaria, after the name of Shemer, owner of the hill" (1 Kings 16:23-24). Samaria remained the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel until 722 BC, when it was conquered by the king of Assyria, who exiled its upper class to Assyria and brought in pagans from five Assyrian cities (see 2 Kings 17) who brought along their idolatry, including child sacrifices (see Moloch), and intermarried with the lower class Jews who had been allowed to remain in Samaria. (It should be noted that "Samaria" also referred to the lower half of the northern kingdom of Israel, and eight centuries later, to the central third of Israel, with Judea to the south and Galilee to the north.)

Who is "Philip" (Acts 8:5)?
One of the seven deacons of the church in Jerusalem (see Acts 8).

How significant was Philip going to Samaria?
The people of Samaria ("Samaritans") claimed God of Abraham and Jacob as their God but rejected the Hebrew Tanakh (what we call the Old Testament) except for the Pentateuch (the first five books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) and worshipped in their own temple built on Mount Gerizim (see Samaritan woman). The Jews despised the beliefs and ancestry of the Samaritans and rejected them as a spiritually and racially unclean mongrels; and the Samaritans in turn rejected the Jews. Philip going to Samaria to preach Christ crossed major racial, cultural, historical and theological barriers. It would be akin to a Jewish Christian going to preach Christ to the Palestinian Muslims today.

Why did Philip go to Samaria to preach Christ?
To obey Him (see Acts 1:8 in Promise of the Father).

ACTS 8:6-8  6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 And there was great joy in that city.

What happened when the Gospel began to be shared in Samaria?
The love, "joy" (Acts 8:8) and the truth of Jesus flowed, converting, healing, and breaking down racial, historical and cultural barriers. Even today, the love of Jesus still conquers even the strongest racial animosities, even those between the Jews and the Palestinians.

Why don't more Jewish Christians preach Christ to the Palestinians?
They should preach more, but what about you?

How often do you and your church go to a racially different neighborhood in your town to share Jesus' love and truth?

Is your church even racially integrated? If not, why not?