soon heard plunging into the water far below." Jacob esh Shellaby was let down into the well
by means of ropes supplemented by two long shawls, which formed the turbans of two
Samaritans who were present. The well was fortunately dry, and after some searching among
the stones (which are constantly being thrown into it by travellers), the Bible was found and
conveyed safely to Dr. Wilson, to his very great satisfaction. It was currently believed in
Nablus that it was a book of necromancy for the recovery of which so much trouble had been
taken. The well was at that time, 1843, found to be "exactly seventy-five feet deep,"
consequently if the measurements made in 1838 were accurate, debris to the amount of thirty
feet had collected in the well in the short space of five years!
In the month of May, 1866, Captain Anderson, R.E., in order to thoroughly examine the
well, caused himself to be lowered into it by means of a knotted rope. He states that the
mouth of the well has a narrow opening "just wide enough to allow the body of a man to pass
through with arms uplifted ; this narrow neck, which is about four feet long, resembling the
neck of a bottle, opens out into the well itself, which is cylindrical, and about seven feet six
inches in diameter. The mouth and upper part of the well are built of masonry, and the well
appears to have been sunk through a mixture of alluvial soil and limestone fragments, till a
compact bed of limestone was reached, having horizontal strata which could be easily worked,
and the interior of the well presents the appearance of being lined with rough masonry."
The depth was the same as it was in 1843, namely, seventy-five feet, and when Lieutenant
Conder measured it in 1877 he found no alteration. Probably this represents not much more
than half the original depth of the well, for it was " undoubtedly sunk for the purpose of
securing, even in exceptionally dry seasons, a supply of water, which at great depths would
always be filtering through the sides of the well, and would collect at the bottom."
Captain Anderson's descent into the well was rather a perilous one, for he fainted during
the process of lowering. As the rope had fortunately been securely and skilfully lashed round
his waist, and his feet rested in a loop, he reached the bottom safely though unconsciously.
Suddenly he heard the people shouting to him from above, and when he began to move he
found himself lying on his back at the bottom of the well, from whence " the opening at the
mouth looked like a star." Fortunately his ascent was accomplished in safety.
From Jacob's Well the road, evidently an ancient one, takes a north-westerly direction,
skirting the base of Gerizim. On the right is the ancient pasture-land of Jacob and his
descendants, now well cultivated, and yielding abundant harvests of wheat and barley, and a
good supply of beans, lentils, sesamum, cotton, and tobacco, and a wealth of wild flowers on
every uncultivated patch of ground, especially mallows and anemones of many colours and
ranunculi (see page 230). A spur of Gerizim runs northward as if to meet a corresponding
but less developed spur advancing southward from Ebal, the twin mountain opposite; the
point of their nearest approach is the true entrance to the Valley of Shechem. As we follow
the path, which takes a westerly direction round the northern extremity of Gerizim, the whole
length of the valley comes suddenly into sight, with its terraced hillsides, its running streams,