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CHRIST BY JACOB'S WELL.
PREACHED ON THE SUNDAY BEFORE EASTER, APRIL 13, IN THE
ENCAMPMENT ABOVE NABLÓS (SHECHEM).
PHILIP. ii. 5.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.
John iv. 24.
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him
in spirit and in truth.
between the different Christian Churches in this country. We have seen how vehemently each has contended for its own peculiar possessions, and has thought of nothing else in proportion; how, in consequence of this struggle for what is peculiar to each, that which is common to all has fallen into neglect. This is very like what has gone on in Christendom at large : we have each of us contended for what was peculiar to ourselves, in doctrine, opinions, and customs; we have forgotten that which we have all in common, and which is the most important of all. And what is this? It is, in one word, what the Epistle of this day brings before us—The mind
of Christ.' The Mind, the Character of Christ, that which He was and is, in that character which is so wonderfully described to us in the Gospels— to have this in any degree is what makes a man a Christian ; not to have it, is to make all other Christian institutions and opinions almost worse than useless. To enter into the recesses of this Divine Character, more holy than the most revered of earthly shrines; to impress this Mind upon ourselves; to carry away some portion of it home for our daily use, more sacred than the most sacred relics — this ought to be the object of all that we see as we traverse the scenes of His earthly life ; especially, it ought to be my object in what I have to say in these few moments on this Sunday: it is the one main object of that holy ordinance of which, by God's blessing, I trust we may partake on Easter Day.
To dwell on every part of that Character is, within these short limits, impossible. Let me take that which is expressed in the words which I have chosen, as you will all see, because they were spoken close to this very place. By the well which, ages ago, the Patriarch Jacobi had, in excess of prudence, dug for his flocks in the noble corn-fields which he had bought for his favourite son Joseph?, He, who was passing, as we are, from Judæa 3 through Samaria into Galilee, • sat' in the midday, or the evening, as we might sit, wearied' by the well. His followers had gone to buy provisions for His meal in the city up the valley; and He sat there, wearied and thirsty and alone, and saw a woman coming to draw water from the
1 John iv. 5, 6.
2 Gen. xxxiii, 19.
3 John iv. 3.
well, and made that simple request so natural to all of us - Give me to drink.' It is one of those touches of fellow-feeling with us which brings Him so near to us, and us to Him, even in bodily presence. It is this moment which is seized in one of the greatest of Christian hymns: -
Quærens me, sedisti lassus;
Thou, in search of me, didst sit
Not be wholly spent in vain !
- a heretic, as she was in the eyes of a Jew — He promised the gift of the water which springs up from no earthly well — the water of life, which rises within the depths of the human soul, and refreshes it with holy thoughts, and good resolutions, and pure feelings, as we pass through this dreary world, bearing each our heavy burden as
best we may.
How like to all that He said and did - how unlike, alas ! to so much that we say and do. The tender compassion to one who was disliked and despised by His own countrymen —
the boundless toleration of the differences that parted them
- the forbearance towards her hardness and narrowness and incapacity of understanding what He said -- the willingness to enter into a character and a life quite different from His own — the care and anxiety to do and say something for her good. Oh! which of us is there who does not need some portion of that spirit? - which of us is there who, if he has any portion of that spirit, will not feel rising within himself something of that stream of living water, which shall refresh himself and those around him, and leave a green spot behind, wherever he treads in the hard, dry, barren journey of our mortal life.
The conversation proceeds. How exactly it is in conformity with human nature and with Divine wisdom! He reads the secrets of her heart. He touches her own especial fault. She starts aside she will not have this mentioned. No. This is just what we all refuse to have touched. We fly, as she did, to some general topic: "Sir, I perceive that thou · art a prophet. There was the vexed question of doctrine between the Samaritans and the Jews. They worshipped, as they worship still, on Mount Gerizim. To the Jews, Jerusalem was, as it still is, the most holy place. It was out of this question, so naturally suggested by the scenery around Him, that there was brought out that great truth, which has changed the face of religion all over the world. He would not give his decision in favoureither of Jews or Samaritans, or, if He did, it was but in passing. He would not entangle himself with peculiar doctrines of either of the contending sects. But He gave them what was best for both of them, and is still the best for us. Gerizim and Zion before His prophetic glance melted into one. As He looked out on the wide fields of waving corn