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THE GOSPEL OF JOHN
SAMARITAN HARVEST AND TRUE WORSHIP
[“Spirit and Truth”]
Key Word: Truth
John 4:1-6 – Jesus at a Samaritan Well
JN4:1 Now when the Master197
realized that the Pharisees heard Jesus was making more disciples and baptizing them than John –
The Master: A designation for Jesus used often by John and the disciples. [John 6:23; 11:2; 20:2, 18, 20, 25; 21:7, 12] Matthew uses
it only at Matthew 21:3 while Luke uses it over 20 times.
JN4:2 though Jesus did not actually baptize [others]198
but his disciples did –
Though Jesus did not actually baptize [others]: Had he baptized other it would likely create an unnecessary rift between those so
baptized and those baptized by others. Compare the example in 1 Corinthians 1:12; 3:4.
JN4:3 he left the area of Judea and he returned into the land of Galilee.199
He returned into the land of Galilee: Another multi-day walk of nearly 100 miles in the increasing sun of a Palestinian spring.
JN4:4 However, it was necessary that he cross through the land of Samaria.200
Cross through the land of Samaria: The major location of the northern ten-tribes of Israel with its capitol at Samaria. This territory
was off base to Jesus’ disciples. [Matthew 10:5, 6] The place is mentioned once more in John 8:48. Compare Luke 10:33; 17:11, 16; Acts 1:8; 8:1, 4. There was considerable animosity between Jews and their distant religious kinsmen.
JN4:5 Therefore, when he arrived in a town of Samaria called Sychar201
– near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph202
Sychar: Some have Shechem. Compare also Joshua 24:32. This is the only occurrence of the place name.
Near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph: Compare Genesis 33:19 and Genesis 48:22. The Bible generally identifies a place name or time with great care and cross-referencing to authenticate the reality. Many of these have been identified in Biblical archaeology.
JN4:6 where there was Jacob’s Fountain203
– Jesus was tired from the journey204
and he sat down on the fountain.205
It was about noon.206
Jacob’s Fountain: Wells were often deep with some steps descending below ground. It was a cool place with some shade. Here in order to drink one needed a water jar with a line for lowering to the cool waters below.
Jesus was tired from the journey: He has just walked a considerable distance, likely speaking with his disciples and others as he journeyed.
It is spring and already quite warm in this part of the world. The Creator, God, does “not tire out or grow weary.” [Isaiah 40:28] Jesus the Nazarene is a human being with his own limitations. [Compare also Mark 6:31.]
He sat down on the fountain: Probably the rocks around the well, though he could not reach the water.
It was about noon: It was very warm by now. Spring is a beautiful moment in Israel with multitudes of birds in route north, flowers abloom in the desert
and patches of green on the hills. No doubt this water was still very cool from the spring ground water.
John 4:7-15 – A Samaritan Woman and Living Water
JN4:7 A Samaritan woman approached to draw water. Jesus said to her,
“Give me a drink.”207
Give me a drink: He did not have the water-jar with the necessary line for lowering.
JN4:8 (For his disciples had gone into the town in order to buy some food.208)
Disciples had gone into the town in order to buy some food: They carried money and would be returning with food for a noon meal by
JN4:9 Now the Samaritan woman responded to Jesus: “Why is that you ask me a Samaritan woman for a drink when you are a Jew?”209
(For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.)210
Why is that you ask me a Samaritan woman for a drink when you are a Jew: She recognizes him physically as a Jew. Her question demonstrates
the degree of dislike between the Samaritans and Jews.
For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans: Or,
no dealings with, do not associate with, do not use vessels in common. Compare Ezra 4:3 and Acts 10:28.
JN4:10 Jesus answered and said to her:
“If you had any idea about the free gift of The God,211 and who
the person is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ no doubt you would ask him and it is very likely he would give you Living Water.”212
If you had any idea about the free gift of The God: Or, what it is God gives, the generosity of God. [Ephesians 2:8]
He would give you Living Water: It is possible Jesus echoes Jeremiah 2:13. See the notes on John 7:37. [Isaiah 12:3; Zechariah 13:1; 14:8]
JN4:11 She said to him: “Sir,213
you have no way of drawing [up water] because the well is so deep. So, from where do you have this Living Water?
Sir: Or, Lord. She does not know who Jesus is. Some cultures and languages address others with respect as in “Sir,” or
“Senor.” Indeed, Spanish versions here use “Senor.”
JN4:12 Are you are greater than our father Jacob?214
[He] gave us this well and from it he drank, also his sons and his flocks.”
Are you are greater than our father Jacob: Note John 8:53 and a similar question from the Jews. [Matthew 12:41; Luke 11:31]
JN4:13 Jesus answered her:
“Everyone drinking from this water will become thirsty again.JN4:14But those likely to drink from the Water that I shall give will never get thirsty throughout all periods of time.215 Because the Water I will give will become an inner water fountain, bubbling up unto endless life.”216
Will never get thirsty throughout all periods of time: Or, shall never thirst again. Compare notes on John 6:35 and John 7:38. The
Greek is EIS TON AIONA, or “into the Age,” “into future periods of time.”
Become an inner
water fountain, bubbling up unto endless life: Or, KJV: a well of water springing up into everlasting life; RSV: eternal life.
JN4:15 Now facing toward Jesus the woman said: “Sir,
give me this Water so that I may never get thirsty again. Then I will never have to come here again to draw water.”
John 4:16-26 – True Worship in Spirit and Truth
JN4:16 Jesus said to her:
“Go call your husband to come here.”217
Go call your husband to come here: A response she did not expect and we can see a startled, puzzled look on her face as she examines
Jesus more closely.
JN4:17 The woman answered and said to him: “I do not have a husband.” Jesus told her:
“You spoke well in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’JN4:18For you have had five husbands, and now the man you have is not your husband.218 You spoke truthfully.”
Now the man you have is not your husband: It is interesting that Jesus does not rebuke her for this, nor does he tell as he does others, “Go and sin no more.” In Israel such was not a sin against the Law, and this is Samaria where attitudes may be quite different.
JN4:19 The woman said to him: “I see that you are a prophet!219
I see that you are a prophet: She understands that the word “prophet” is not always someone who foretells something. Here Jesus has told her something a stranger cannot know. This is an example of supernatural “knowledge.” Compare that charismatic gift in 1 Corinthians 12:7. Compare notes on John 9:17. [Luke 7:16, 39]
JN4:20 Our forefathers worshipped in this mountain,220
but you [Jews] say that the place where it is necessary to worship is in Jerusalem.”221
Our forefathers worshipped in this mountain: Compare 2 Kings 17:29; 23:19, 20.
The place where it is necessary to worship is in Jerusalem: Compare Deuteronomy 12:5 and Psalm 122.
“Believe me, woman, that an hour is coming when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, will you people [render] worship to the Father.JN4:22You [Samaritans] are worshipping that which you do not know.222 We [Jews] are worshipping what we know,223 because salvation is of the Jews.224
You [Samaritans] are worshipping that which you do not know: Samaritans were a conglomeration of different nations with a variety
of gods. [2 Kings 17:29, 33]
We [Jews] are worshipping what we know: The Hebrews, and then the Jews, benefited
from a form of worship revealed by God. [Exodus 3:13-16; 6:3]
Because salvation is of the Jews: Or, originates
with. The word “salvation” occurs more than 200 times in the Hebrew Bible, 80 times in the Psalms and 30 times in Isaiah. The Nazarene’s name “Jesus” means “Yehowah is Salvation.”
JN4:23But, an hour is coming, and is now [here], when the True Worshippers225 will [render] worship to the Father spiritually and in harmony with Truth,226
because the Father is searching for such persons to worship Him.227
True Worshippers: Or, genuine, real. Implying there are false worshippers.
Will [render] worship to the Father spiritually and in harmony with Truth: Or, in spirit and truth; in reality, in the true way. As opposed to Mark 7:7. [Compare John
The Father is searching for such persons to worship Him: Or, looking for, seeking. Compare Acts
17:26, 27. [2 Chronicles 16:9]
JN4:24The God [is] Pneuma,228 and those worshipping Him must of necessity worship spiritually and in harmony with Truth.”229
The God [is] Pneuma: Or, KJV: God is a spirit; ABU: God is Spirit. It may be, God is spiritual and those who worship Him must do so spiritually. Jesus reveals God’s nature or main characteristic – He is not human or earthly, but an invisible Being who can exert a force on others. Compare Paul’s contrast of the soul-like with the spirit-like in 1 Corinthians 15.
Worship spiritually and in harmony with Truth: Or, spirit and truth. That is, true worship of God is not dependent on any material or physical place or thing in contrast to the nations and their worship of demons. It needs no candles, prayer beads, incense, music or a material temple. It needs no clerical hierarchy. True worship must be in harmony with Biblical truth. [John 17:17]
JN4:25 The woman said to him: “I know that Messiah is coming, the One called Christ.230
Whenever that person should arrive, he will proclaim everything to us.”231
I know that Messiah is coming, the One called Christ: This is revealing regarding the Samaritans, for shortly after Pentecost Peter
used the second of the “keys of the kingdom” with regard to the Samaritans. [Acts 8:1, 4-8, 14-17] This was about three years later. We wonder how much this single meeting of the Nazarene influenced the work in Samaria.
He will proclaim everything to us: Whether she anticipates the immediate appearance in her life is not clear, but she clearly has given
some thought to it. Surely when she says “us” she means the hated Samaritans. She may know of Moses’ prophecy regarding the coming of the great Prophet like him. [Deuteronomy 18:15-19] This Prophet would have Yehowah’s “words in his mouth.”
JN4:26 Jesus said to her:
“I am that person, speaking to you!”232
John 4:27-30 – Disciples Wonder and the Woman’s Question
JN4:27 Now about this time the disciples of Jesus returned,233
and they were wondering because he was speaking with a woman.234
Of course, no one asked:235
“What do you want?” Or, “Why are you speaking with her?”
The disciples of Jesus returned: We see them returning in their small crowd under the high hot sun with parcel bags of food. As they
draw close they see the Nazarene with a woman. Some rabbis did not speak to women publicly, particularly a Samaritan woman.
Because he was speaking with a woman: This is yet early in Jesus’ ministry. It tells us here that Jesus did not regularly speak to women other wise it would not have come as a surprise to his disciples. They do not yet know this man who will go
on to speak to many women in contrast with other Jewish rabbis.
Of course, no one asked: That is, to the woman, “What do you want?” Or, dare they say to Jesus, “Why are you talking to her?” But they thought it, John reveals. Perhaps he thought it himself.
JN4:28 Therefore, the woman departed with her water jar.236
She left and went into the town and began telling other persons:237
The woman departed with her water jar: Women generally did this work of gathering water. It is the unusual sign of a man carrying
a water jar that will identify the person who will lead to the upper room. [Mark 14:14, 15] We see her walking off toward the town with a joyful movement in her steps. The Apostle John must learn the details of this conversation from Jesus himself, or later
from the woman.
Began telling other persons: The manifest fruitage that true conviction has occurred. Compare
2 Corinthians 4:12, 13. This simple act of bearing witness is the engine that moves Christianity throughout the ages.
JN4:29 “Come and behold the person who told me everything I did.238
Is this possibly the Christ?”239
Who told me everything I did: Of course, this is a slight exaggeration, but we can forgive her heightened enthusiasm. No doubt she
related the exact details of her recent conversation with the Jewish man at Jacob’s Well.
Is this possibly
the Christ: Possibly she is sure, but does not know what the reaction of the people will be.
JN4:31 At this same time the disciples of Jesus were saying, “Rabbi, eat.”240
Rabbi, eat: We would love to know the contents of this noon meal, obviously it was “fast food” ready to eat. Surely there
was bread and possibly wine, and likely olives and figs. See notes above on Rabbi. Jesus has walked a long distance and has now waited in conversation for food. He must be very hungry. It is possible this urging by the disciples is caused by their wondering
about his talking to this woman.
JN4:32 However, [Jesus] told them:
“I have food to eat about which you do not know.”241
I have food to eat about which you do not know: Jesus’ never misses the slightest opportunity to grab his disciples’ attention and teach them an important teaching. It is also possible this is something of a distraction to get their minds back on important matters, rather than why he was speaking to a woman. In a moment they would soon learn, as Jesus was to further eat this special “food” in this Samaritan village.
JN4:33 Therefore, the disciples were facing one another and asking, “Has someone brought him some food?”242
Has someone brought him some food: We may think this humorous, but had we been there we, too, would wonder what this “food”
was. It is a teaching technique that first focuses attention on the subject and then proceeds with the explanation.
JN4:34 Jesus told them:
“My food is that I should do the will of the One who sent me,243
and that I should finish His work.244
My food is that I should do the will of the One who sent me: Or, KJV: my meat. It is clear Jesus believes he was sent by Someone else. The idea that an activity is food or meat persists in modern expressions regarding sports. The Nazarene has not come to do his own will, but that of Another.
And that I should finish His work: RHM: complete his work; NAS: accomplish his work. Compare notes on John 5:30, 36; 6:38; 17:4; 19:30. This “work” involved several important matters, including the cultivation of faith in Messiah, and the declaration of God’s Name. Note that God’s will is paralleled with “works.”
JN4:35Do you not say, ‘It is four months until the harvest comes.’ Behold, I tell all of you, Open your eyes and gaze at the fields.245 They are white for harvesting.
JN4:38I sent all of you to be
reaping where you have not labored.248 Others have labored and all of you have entered into their
I sent all of you to be reaping where you have not labored: It is possible the record in Matthew 10 about sending forth the twelve has already occurred. The spiritual soil of Israel had been under cultivation like a vineyard for a thousand years by the prophets in preparation for the Messiah. Jesus had also labored most recently in these fields. Now his disciples would labor and benefit from the work of others.
You have entered into their labor: Or, have inherited, benefit from. [Acts 10:43; 1 Peter 1:12]
John 4:39-42 – Samaritans Believe
JN4:39 Now many of those Samaritans from the town believed250
in [Jesus] by means of the word of the woman who testified,251
“He told me all the things I ever did.”
Now many of those Samaritans from the town believed: There can be no question John remembers this about three years later when the
events of Acts 8:14-17. There must have been some stories told.
The word of the woman who testified: The testimony of women was normally rejected. This is what gives the strong ring of truth to the testimony of those women who were first to witness the resurrection of the Lord.
JN4:40 Therefore, the Samaritans approached Jesus and requested him to remain with them, and he stayed there two days.252
He stayed there two days: We can only imagine the day and night-long conversations and good company. Here Jesus violates a long-standing
rule of the Jews not to have any dealings with the Samaritans.
JN4:41 And many more believed because of his word
JN4:42 than on account of the woman’s report. They told her: “Not through your report alone are we now believing, for we have heard, and we now realize that this person is truly the Savior of the world
We now realize that this person is truly the Savior of the world of humankind: Or, world. This is the only occurrence of the designation “Savior” in John’s Gospel. [Luke 2:11] Though both The God and His Son receive the title “Savior”
– the Holy Spirit never so called – this is not proof of the Trinity, otherwise others would have to be included in The Godhead. [Judge 3:9, 15; 1 Samuel 23:5]
John 4:43-45 – Galileans Receive Jesus
JN4:43 Now, after the two days [Jesus] left there into the land of Galilee.
JN4:44 For Jesus testified that a prophet has no honor in his own fatherland.254
Jesus testified that a prophet has no honor in his own fatherland: Or, country, homeland. He probably means Judea where Bethlehem
is located. Of all his apostles, only one was from Judea – Judas. The others were all from Galilee.
JN4:45 So, when he arrived into the land of Galilee, the Galileans received him because
of having seen everything [Jesus] did in Jerusalem at the festival. For they had just returned from the festival.255
For they had just returned from the festival: There must have been thousands on the road to Jerusalem and the Passover. These people were much devoted
to make the near 200 miles round trip to worship in Jerusalem.
John 4:46-54 – “Your Son Lives”
JN4:46 Then, Jesus came again into the [town] of Cana of Galilee where he made the water [into] wine. Now there was a royal person whose son was sick256
Some royalty whose son was sick: Or, nobleman, officer; NWT: attendant of the king.
JN4:47 This person had heard257
that Jesus was arriving from the land of Judea into the land of Galilee. [He] went and approached Jesus and made a request so that [Jesus] would come down [to Capernaum] and heal his son, for the son was near death.
This person had heard: News along the road back to Galilee must have spread fast as different persons related what they witnessed
JN4:48 Facing toward him Jesus said:
“Unless you people see signs and wonders you will never believe!”258
Unless you people see signs and wonders you will never believe: Jesus is critical of those who require a sign or miracle before they
believe. Compare Paul’s principle in 1 Corinthians 1:22.
JN4:49 The person of royalty said to Jesus: “Master, come down [to Capernaum] before my little boy dies!”
JN4:50 Jesus said to him:
“Return, your son is alive!”259
The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and returned [to Capernaum].
Return, your son is alive: Or, KNX: thy son is to live; TCN: your son is living. An echo of Elijah. [1 Kings 17:23]
JN4:51 But already on his way down his slaves met him, saying that his boy was alive.
JN4:52 So, he inquired of them regarding the hour in which [his son] had improved. They told him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour his fever left him.”
JN4:53 Therefore, the father knew that it was in that hour when Jesus said to him,
“Your son is alive!”
And so he believed – he and his whole household.
JN4:54 Now, this was again the second sign260
Jesus did returning from the land of Judea into the land of Galilee.
The second sign: The first the “sign” regarding the
Review Questions on Chapter Four
Where does Jesus rest?
What conversation took place with a Samaritan woman?