Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mt. Gerizim, Mt. Ebal, and the samaritan woman

Deuteronomy 11:26 started out "See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse- ". Then God mentions the twin mountains - Mount Gerizim the blessings, and on Mount Ebal the curses. They still exist in Israel. There are some websites with the pictures.

My first thought was that there must be some meanings that may give me some insights regarding this. Gerizim means 'cut off' and Ebal means 'bald'. So??? Some websites say that Gerizim is fertile and Ebal is dry. As far as I can see, they look alike.
However, one website for Israel tour says that Mount Ebal has barren slopes and they are strewn with gray rocks. This place represents the curse that would be upon those who disobey God. Mount Gerizim has beautiful tree-covered slopes and represents the blessings that would come to the Jewish People if they obey God.
I read in Wikipedia that the Samaritans, after separation from the Jews ( I don't know when this happened. ? It must be long before Jesus' days.), see this place as a sacred mountain and celebrate Passover there. Wow. I really haven't grasped the Jewish (Israelite) history about the temple and locations and other things but this reminded me of one story in the NT. The well-known story of the Samaritan woman and Jesus. (John 4:7-) When this woman suddenly started talking about mountain, she may have meant this Mount Gerizim!?

Those mountains or those stones or that bronze snake were never meant to be worshipped. We love to have something we can see when we worship but God doesn't live in any man-made figures. God doesn't want us to worship the stars or other created things, either. He is a jealous God.

God put curse and blessings on those mountains. The Samaritans decided one of them was a sacred place. Jesus wasn't just talking to the Samaritan woman about worshiping in general (even though it is for everyone). Jesus was also talking about what pertains to her life and her people.

Was Jesus saying, "God will not be worshiped only in your mountain, woman"?
God will not be worshiped in only Jerusalem, either.
He can only be worshiped in spirit and truth. I am sure Jesus wanted us to know God is not limited by places.

Jesus is the Lord of every man. He was speaking in the Samaritan woman's personal level. This possible connection between the Samaritan woman and Mount Gerizim makes the story more alive.

In John 4, the cross reference mentions Deuteronomy 11:29. But John 4 is not in the cress reference of Deuteronomy.

It was a short, interesting learning experience.

(from 09/06-07/2008)

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