Saturday we read about how Israel was conquered by the Assyrian Empire and it's people were taken away to Assyria. The King of Assyria then resettled people from other conquered lands in Samaria. This kind of population shifting seems to have been somewhat common among empires of the time. The goal was creating a more governable empire by taking people away from their homeland while sowing some kind of good will by giving them land. Of course, recent rulers have tried similar experiments; we call it ethnic cleansing.
This story paves the way for an important fact in the New Testament. In Jesus' day Jews hated and looked down on Samaritans. This story tells us where that animosity came from. The Samaritans were the people the Assyrians resettled to what had been Israel (whose capital was Samaria). As the story tells us, they worshiped the Lord, but they also worshiped the gods they had worshiped before. As we know, in Christ there's welcome for everyone. May we be generous and loving as we witness to God's love to the world.