Jesus having to go to Galilee, made up His mind to pass through Samaria. It was a long, rough journey, and at last they came near a town called Sychar. Near by was the well dug by Jacob when he lived in Shechem. Jesus was so tired that He sat down to rest on the edge of the well, while His disciples went on to buy food.
[Illustration: Jacob's well.]
While Jesus was sitting by the well, a woman came there to draw water. Jesus asked her to do something kind for Him, He said 'Give Me to drink.' The woman was surprised, and said to Him, 'You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan. Why then do you ask me for water?'
Jesus said, 'IF YOU KNEW WHO I AM, YOU WOULD HAVE ASKED ME, AND I WOULD HAVE GIVEN YOU LIVING WATER.' Jesus meant the Holy Spirit. He gives the Holy Spirit to everyone who asks Him.
Then Jesus spoke to the woman about the bad things she had done, and she tried to make Him talk about something else. But she could not stop His wonderful words. At last she said, 'I know that the Messiah is coming. He will tell us all things.' Then Jesus said to her, 'I THAT SPEAK UNTO THEE AM HE.'
Just then His disciples came up to the well, and they were very much astonished to see Him talking to the woman. The Jew men were too proud to talk much to women, even if the women were Jews; and this was a Samaritan. But the disciples did not ask Jesus any questions about why He talked to the woman. They brought Him the things they had been buying, and said, 'Master, eat.' But Jesus was so happy that He had been able to speak good words to that poor woman that He did not feel hungry any more. He told His disciples that doing God's work was the food He liked best.
After this Jesus lived for awhile first at Nazareth, and then at Capernaum. There was a boy ill in Capernaum just then with a fever. It is so hot near the Sea of Galilee that the people who live there often get fever. That sick boy's father was rich, but money could not make the dying boy well. His father had heard of Jesus, and when he knew that Jesus had come into Galilee, and that He was only a few miles away, he came to Him, and begged Him to come down to Capernaum and make his child well. At first Jesus said to him, 'You will not believe on Me unless you see Me do some wonderful thing.' But when He saw how eager the poor father was, He thought He would try him, and He said to him, 'Go thy way, thy son liveth.' Directly Jesus said that, the man felt sure in his heart that his boy was well. He did not ask Jesus any more to come with him, but he just went back home quietly by himself.
Next day, as he was going down the long hilly road from Cana to Capernaum, some of the servants from his house came to meet him, and they said to him, 'Thy son liveth.' Then the father asked them what time it was when the boy began to get better, and said, 'Yesterday, at the seventh hour (that means at one o'clock) the fever left him.' Then the father knew that that was the very time when Jesus had said to him, 'Thy son liveth,' and he and all the people in the house believed in Jesus.
The Jews could not bear paying taxes to the Romans, and they hated the publicans. They would not eat with them or talk with them. But Jesus did not hate the publicans. He only hated the wrong things they did. So one day, when He was outside the town of Capernaum, and saw Matthew sitting and taking the taxes, He said to him, 'Follow Me.' And Matthew got up from his work, and at once left all and followed Jesus.
Jesus often told His disciples beautiful stories. One day He told them a story to teach them not to be proud like the Pharisees. 'Two men went up into the Temple to pray: the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank Thee that I am not as other men are; I thank Thee that I am not even as this publican. Twice a week I go without food, and I give away a great deal of money. But the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me, a sinner. When the publican went home that night he was better and happier than the Pharisee. The Pharisee thought he was good; he did not want to be forgiven, and so God let him carry all his sins back home with him again. But the publican knew he was a sinner, and was sorry, and so God forgave his sins.'
While Jesus was in Capernaum, He went every Sabbath day to teach in the synagogue. One day a man shouted out --
'What have we to do with Thee, Thou Jesus of Nazareth? I know Thee who Thou art, the Holy One of God.'
Satan had put an unclean spirit, or devil, in that man. Jesus was not angry with the poor man, but He spoke to the unclean spirit, and said, 'Be silent, and come out of him.' He came out, and the man became well. The people in the synagogue were greatly surprised. They said, 'What thing is this? He commandeth even the unclean spirits and they obey Him.'
When the service was over, the people who had seen the miracle went home, and talked to everybody about what they had seen. Some of them had sick friends, and some had friends with unclean spirits, and they longed to bring them to Jesus. But it was the Sabbath, and they would not bring them until the evening, at which time their Sabbath came to an end. So as soon as the sun set that Sabbath day, a great crowd was seen standing round Peter's house. It seemed as if all the people of Capernaum must be there! They had brought their sick friends, and laid them down at the door. And Jesus put His hands on the sick people, and healed them all.
In the east there is a dreadful illness called leprosy, and the people who have it are called lepers. No doctor can cure it. At the time when Jesus lived on the earth, lepers were not allowed to come into cities. And they had to go about with nothing on their heads, and with their dresses torn, and with their mouths covered over; and when they saw anybody coming, they had to call out, 'Unclean! unclean!'
One day when Jesus went into a town a leper saw Him. The poor man came to Jesus and knelt down before Him, and fell on his face. And he said, 'If Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean.' And Jesus put out His hand, and touched him, and said to him, 'I will; be thou clean.' And as soon as Jesus had said that, the leper was well.
Sin is just like leprosy. A baby's naughtiness does not look very bad; but that naughtiness spreads and gets stronger as baby gets older, and nobody but Jesus can take it away.
Jesus Christ's body must often have felt very tired, for crowds followed Him about all the time. They came from Perea, and from Judaea, and from other places too, to see the wonderful new Teacher. And Jesus preached to them all, and healed their sicknesses. The most wonderful sermon that was ever preached in all the world is called the Sermon on the Mount, because Jesus sat down on a hill to preach it.
After a time Jesus went up again to Jerusalem. In or near Jerusalem there was a spring of water which was as good as medicine, because it made sick people well if they bathed in it often enough. This spring ran into a bathing-place called the Pool of Bethesda. Numbers of sick persons came to bathe in that pool. One Sabbath day Jesus saw quite a crowd there. Some were blind, some were lame, some were sick of the palsy. They were sitting, or lying, by the side of the pool. Jesus was very sorry for one poor man there. He had been ill thirty-eight years. So Jesus said to the man, 'Arise, take up thy bed, and walk.' And at once the sick man was well, and took up his mattress and walked.
Now the Rabbis had a number of very silly rules about the Sabbath day. Even if a man broke his arm or his leg on the Sabbath the Rabbis would not allow the doctor to put the bone right till the next day. So they were very angry when they found that Jesus had made that poor man well on the Sabbath day, and had told him to carry his mattress home. They told the man he was doing very wrong, and they tried to kill Jesus. But Jesus told them that His Heavenly Father was never idle, and that He must do the same works as God. That made the Rabbis more angry than ever. They said, 'He calls God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.' From that time the Jews in Jerusalem made up their minds more than ever to kill Jesus; and wherever He went they sent men to watch Him and listen to His words, so that they might make up some excuse for putting Him to death.
What kind of work does God do on Sunday, dear children? Why, He does all sorts of kind and beautiful things. He makes the sun rise, and the flowers grow, and the birds sing; and He takes care of little children on Sunday exactly the same as he does on other days. And Jesus did the same kind of work, He made people happy and well on the Sabbath. And we may do works of love -- kind, loving things for other people -- on Sunday.
Another Sabbath day, soon after that, the Lord Jesus and His disciples were walking through a cornfield. The disciples were hungry, so they rubbed some corn in their hands as they went along, and ate it. Some of the Pharisees saw the disciples, and they were shocked; and they spoke to Jesus about it. But Jesus told the Pharisees that the disciples were doing nothing wrong. He said, 'THE SABBATH WAS MADE FOR MAN, AND NOT MAN FOR THE SABBATH; THEREFORE THE SON OF MAN IS LORD ALSO OF THE SABBATH DAY.' Jesus meant that God gave the Sabbath day to Adam and his children as a beautiful present, to be the best and happiest day of all the seven. God meant it as a rest for our souls and bodies.