Who were the Samaritans? What is a Samaritan?
Here's the answer:
The Samaritans were a people group, who used to live in the country that belonged to the tribe of Ephraim and Manasseh.
The Jewish people hated the Samaritans. God had instructed the Jews not to marry those from other people groups because those groups would bring their false religions and turn God’s people away from Him. The Samaritans were the people that resulted from Jews marrying people from another religion, so the Jewish people didn’t like them.
Another reason the Jews didn’t like the Samaritans was because they delayed the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem under Nehemiah (Nehemiah 6:1-14). The Samaritans also built themselves a temple they called "Mount Gerizim." They claimed this place was designated by Moses as the place of worship.
The Samaritans were also known to take in and care for Jewish prisoners. Samaria became known as a place of refuge for all outlaws. The Jews hated that they would protect criminals. Jews also hated the Samaritans because they only acknowledged Moses's first five books of the Bible and they rejected everything else. They also rejected all Jewish traditions.
Overtime, the hatred Jews had against the Samaritans only grew stronger. By the time of Jesus' earthly ministry, the Jews and Samaritans were not even allowed to drink out of the same cup of water. Even though the Jews hated the Samaritans and wanted nothing to do with them, Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman. Jesus also used a parable to tell the people about the good Samaritan who stopped on the road to help the injured person while the leaders of the Jews passed the injured person and left them to die (Luke 10:25-37).
Jesus loves all people, including Samaritans.
"Josiah did in the rest of the northern kingdom the same things he had done at Bethel. He removed all the small temples at the high places. He made them ‘unclean.’ The kings of Israel had built them in the towns of the northern kingdom. The people in those towns had made the LORD very angry" (2 Kings 23:19).
"Once again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria. Farmers will plant them. They will enjoy their fruit" (Jeremiah 31:5).
"The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘You are a Jew. I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’ She said this because Jews don’t have anything to do with Samaritans. Jesus answered her, 'You do not know what God’s gift is. And you do not know who is asking you for a drink. If you did, you would have asked him. He would have given you living water'" (John 4:9-10).