Samaria was the center of a rival religion to Judaism and was shunned by the Jews of Jesus' time.
The Samaritans set up a deceptive alternative, a rival religion based on the Torah (5 books of Moses) only, no other scriptures, to compete with the "spiritually correct" Jewish worship at Jerusalem.
Samaritans were a mixed race of those who followed Jehovah and also worshiped false idols. Jews considered Samaritans to be a dangerous and disgusting mind-control cult.
Jesus even instructed one group of his disciple missionaries to not enter any city of the Samaritans.
So why did Jesus speak of the Good Samaritan? Why was a Samaritan woman at the well the recipient of one of Jesus Christ's most profound spiritual teachings? Why did Philip preach the Gospel to Samaritans who were bewitched and mentally in bondage to a hypnotist sorcerer named Simon?
There's only a few hundred Samaritans left today. They have a small, urbanized community called Holon near Tel Aviv, and their holy land "reservation" atop Mt. Gerizim.
What would be the equivalent of a Samaritan today?
If Jesus were alive on earth today, would He speak of the Good Mormon? The Good Muslim? The Good Jehovah's Witness? The Good Seventh Day Adventist? The Good Scientologist?
By considering these questions and issues, we gain a deep understanding of how to witness to members of cults in our modern day.
We must avoid being holier than thou Pharisees, self-impressed and arrogant about our alleged "correct doctrine". We must love the cult member and not attack the cult, but present the Gospel by speaking the truth in love.
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