When Assyria sent the nations to settle into the lands of Israel, things did not go well for them. Bold lions prowled the lands preying on the settlers. The fields could not be worked and water was scarce. The new Samaritans were afraid and sought help from the God of the land. The King of Assyria sent a Priest who had been taken captive back to the land to teach them the ways of the God of Israel. This brief passage explains the origin of the half-breed Samaritans that Jesus encountered who were a despised people because of their race and false religious practices.

The religion of the Samaritans is not unlike the religion of many today.  Dilday makes this connection in his commentary. He writes: It is a religion of fear.  The Samaritans would have never turned to God if it had not been for the plague of lions that threatened their lives. So today there are those who pray only when they are ill or in trouble.

The Samaritan religion was a religion of formal rituals. They believed that acceptable religion depended on practicing the appropriate rituals and customs. If the formalities were performed correctly, then the god would be pleased. So today there are those who go through the motions of formal ecclesiastical practices believing that in so doing they are pleasing God.

The Samaritan religion was a religion of compromise and syncretism. Verse 33 says, “They feared the Lord, yet served their own gods.” This is a religion that makes allowances for all viewpoints, and seeks the lowest common denominator. Its followers find it easy to accommodate their religion to the surrounding culture, for such religion takes its color from the environment in which its followers live.

Several verses later, God expresses his distress at this new religion.  God is a jealous God who will not share His dominion with any rivals. “The Lord, who brought you up from the land of Egypt with great power and an outstretched arm, Him you shall fear … you shall not fear other gods.”

We should beware of Samaritan influences in our lives today.

“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loves us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17