So now begins the search for clues to solve the mystery of Jacob's well. As suggested in my last blog, my ancestor Jakob was sending down a messages through the ages. He knew exactly what he was doing; of that I have no doubt. Placing a not so discrete inscritption on his cover page referring to the Karaites on a book that was supposedly a Talmudic commentary would be like placing a red flag in front of a bull. You only do it if you know you're going to get an anticipated response. But a response from whom is the question. The fact that Jakob was able to get away with this sort of thing was a further indication that he was considered a secular writer and the rabbinical colleges wouldn't have been using his books in their teaching programs. So if not intended for Rabbinical studies, then who else did Jakob think would be reading a book on Talmudic law? You have a choice of two other possible groups;religious scholars that examine the discourses much in the same way a biologist examines cells under a microscope, or else the Karaites themselves who studied the Talmud so they could point out the inconsistencies and its failings. In truth, Jakob Goldenthal was probably writing for both these groups, since he made no attempt to conceal the fact that he was sending a message which was obvious from this single coverplate. But this was only from only one of his books and he authored many. At some point I will have to review his work on Aristotle. My copy of the book is becoming quite frayed and aged, and I've been reluctant to do much with it but I think it deserves a thorough search for cryptic messages as well.
And nothing could be more cryptic than his reference to the Well of Jacob. I have been searching through a tonne of information regarding this well. It has quite a history and was far more significant than merely a place to water your sheep. Knowing which avenue to venture in trying to decode his reference will be the hard part. Not impossible though. I'm certain that it will shout out to me when I stumble across it. And I have begun the deliberate search to find the answer in earnest so as far as I'm concerned, it's only a matter of time. To all you cryptohistorians out there, I ask your help on this quest for understanding. Your suggestions and analyses are most welcome. Your input is essential.
The Old Testement never talks directly about the well dug by Jacob. It does talk about the land he purchased outside the village of Shechem and one must assume that the well was required to water his livestock. The bible does tell us that he was quite wealthy in that regard, having herds and flocks that were envied by the people of Shechem. And at the time of Jesus there was a specific site referred to as Jacob's well as recorded in the New Testament.
Reports vary on the depth of the well from 240 feet in 670 AD to 67 feet in 1881 AD. They even vary on whether or not the well is fed from an underground stream so that the water is constantly moving making it cool and refreshing at all times or if it is dependant on percolation and rainfall, suggesting that the water could be stale. Jesus referred to it as "living water" when the Samaritan woman gave him a drink from it as gleand from the reference in John 4:6 and subsequently. It is identified as Jacob's well then and has been referred to as being such by Samaritans, Jews, Muslims and Christians ever since which is a good indication that it was call this long before Jesus drank from it. The well is located at the entrance to the valley between Ebal and Gerizim, approximately 2 miles south-east of Shechem. If its current diameter of about 8 feet reflects its original size and though 75 feet in depth now, but much deeper in ancient times as previously mentioned, then the digging of this well would have been a major accomplishment and expense. Trying to imagine workers in a confined space penetrating that deep into the ground in order to reach water when the valley of Shechem is not in short supply of streams and other water sources leaves one asking one question; Why?
Not even one question but many. Why dig three times the depth of what would be considered the water table at 75 feet? Why at Shechem, a place the bible describes as the town where Jacob's sons decimate the male population and take their wives and children to be their slaves? Why was this well so special to be identified with Jacob even though there's no mention of it in the Old Testament? And of course how did he do it? Not only the depth but how did diggers manage to go below the water level? And if the answer to that was proof that it was an underground stream that took 240 feet to reach and the high level is only the result of positive pressure then that only leads to another question. Who in their right mind would dig 240 feet to reach an underground stream and how would they even know it was there?
As for the mention of Karite holy days being celebrated at the well, this may have been Jacob's way of saying he saw little difference between the Karaites and the Samaritans. Two sects of Jews that practiced a form of Judaism without the requirement of the Talmud followed so closely by Rabbinic Jews. And if this was only a symbolic reference, Karaites being like the Samaritans, then was it possible that the Well of Jacob was also only a symbolic reference. Could my ancestor had been using it as a metaphor but if so, a metaphor for what?
If Jacob Goldenthal was well aware of the events recorded in Shadows of Trinity (http://www.eloquentbooks.com/ShadowsOfTrinity.html) could it be that the Jacob of the Well was in fact a veiled reference to his own ancestor Yakov Kahana, one of the heroes of the book? It was obvious that the Church feared Yakov was in some way an incarnation of "the Living Water." Was Jacob's use of the inscription on the coverplate merely his way of saying remember the story of Yakov Kahana? Or is there far more afoot and we are merely scratching at the surface?