This past week we focused on Jesus' encounter with the woman at the well. The wells in Scripture (especially the OT) were often symbolic of sexuality and fertility. However, in a twist on that idea, the sex life of the woman at the well is put on trial. In this, what John is conveying, is that Jesus' encounter with the woman (which would have been scandalous) is not about sexual prowess, but about redeeming and making whole a woman who had been torn apart by sex.
Here is some more information about the particular well:
Jewish, Samaritan, Christian, and Muslim traditions all associate the well with Jacob. The well is not specifically mentioned in the Old Testament, but Genesis 33:18-20 states that when Jacob returned to Shechem from Paddan Aram, he camped "before" the city and bought the land on which he pitched his tent. Biblical scholars contend that the plot of land is the same one upon which Jacob's Well was constructed.
Jacob's Well is mentioned by name in the New Testament (John 4:5-6) which says that Jesus "came to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near the field which Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there." The Book of John goes on to describe a conversation between Jesus and aSamaritan woman (called Photini in Orthodox tradition), that took place while Jesus was resting at the well. (John 4:7-15) The site is counted as a Christian holy site.
The writings of pilgrims indicate that Jacob's Well has been situated within different churches built at the same site over time. By the 330s AD, the site had been identified as the place where Jesus held his conversation with the Samaritan woman, and was probably being used for Christian baptisms. By AD 384, a cruciform church was built over the site, and is mentioned in the 4th century writings of Saint Jerome. This church was most likely destroyed during the Samaritan revolts of 484 or 529. Subsequently rebuilt by Justinian, this second Byzantine era church was still standing in the 720s, and possibly into the early 9th century.
The Byzantine church was definitely in ruins by the time the Crusaders occupied Nablus in August 1099; early 12th-century accounts by pilgrims to the site speak of the well without mentioning a church. There are later 12th-century accounts of a newly built church at Jacob's Well. The first such definitive account comes from Theoderic, who writes: "The well ... is a half a mile distant from the city [Nablus]: it lies in front of the altar in the church built over it, in which nuns devote themselves to the service of God. This well is called the Fountain of Jacob." This Crusader era church was constructed in 1175, likely due to the support of Queen Melisande, who was exiled to Nablus in 1152 where she lived until her death in 1161. This church appears to have been destroyed following Saladin's victory over the Crusaders in the Battle of Hittin in 1187.
In March 1697, when Henry Maundrell visited Jacob's Well, the depth of the water in the well measured 15 feet (4.6 m). Edward Robinson visited the site in the mid-19th century, describing the "remains of the ancient church," lying just above the well to the southwest as a "shapeless mass of ruins, among which are seen fragments of gray, granite columns, still retaining their ancient polish." Local Christians continued to venerate the site even when it was without a church. In 1860, the site was obtained by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and a new church, consecrated to St. Photini the Samaritan, was constructed shortly thereafter; a 1927 earthquake destroyed that building.