Antagonism between Samaria and Jerusalem went back hundreds of years to the time of the Assyrian Captivity. Samaria was the capital city of the northern kingdom of Israel. When the Assyrians conquered Israel, they sent thousands of Israelites into exile but thousands stayed behind, too. To lessen the likelihood of rebellion and feelings of national pride, the Assyrians replaced the exiled people with people they captured from other countries. Many Israelites married into these foreign families. As a result, many Israelites blended Judaism with the worship of the gods of the foreign people. When Ezra, Nehemiah, and other Jews returned to Jerusalem decades later to rebuild the temple and the walls surrounding the city, they refused to let the Samaritans take part. The Jews came to dislike the Samaritans so much that they avoided Samaria even if it meant taking the long way around to get somewhere. Jesus took the long way around to get from Judea back to Galilee. In addition, most people of that era viewed women as second class citizens. So not only did Jesus go out of his way to speak to a Samaritan, but a Samaritan woman at that.