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John Four

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

John 4:1 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,

John 4:2 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)

but his disciples. These disciples had formerly been John's disciples, and in effect were continuing John's ministry, now under Jesus with greater meaning.

John 4:3 He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.

John 4:4 And he must needs go through Samaria.

John 4:5 Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.

Sychar. Sychar was near ancient Shechem, where Jacob had bought land from Hamor, Shechem's father. Later, Joseph had been buried there (Genesis 33:19; Joshua 24:32). It was not far from the capital of the province of Samaria and also near Mount Gerizim, the worship center of the Samaritans (John 4:20). Samaria, Judaea and Galilee were all Roman provinces at this time, but Jerusalem and Samaria had formerly (before the exile) been the capitals of Judah and Israel, the southern and northern kingdoms, respectively.

John 4:6 Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.

Jacob's well. There is no specific well mentioned in Genesis in connection with the times of Jacob. The well which is today exhibited to tourists as Jacob's well, however, is probably the same as the one which the woman of Samaria called his well. This area, which is near Samaria, was originally bought by Jacob (Genesis 33:18-19).

John 4:7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.

woman of Samaria. Apparently in order to talk to this woman, Jesus deliberately took this route through Samaria to get to Galilee, even though, normally, “the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans” (John 4:9). He knew her need and that of the other people of the region (John 4:18, 39), and “must needs go through Samaria” (John 4:4). In so doing, He was “leaving us an example, that (we) should follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21), both of personal soul-winning and of rejecting ethnic prejudice.

John 4:8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)

John 4:9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.

John 4:10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

John 4:11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?

John 4:12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?

John 4:13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:

John 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

shall never thirst. The “living water” (John 4:10) of which Christ spoke was, of course, symbolic of the salvation He would provide. The waters of Eden (Genesis 2:10) and the New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:1) also speak of this.

John 4:15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.

John 4:16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.

John 4:17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband:

John 4:18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.

John 4:19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.

John 4:20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.

John 4:21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.

John 4:22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

of the Jews. The religion of the Samaritans was a corrupt offshoot of the Jews' religion, but it had no saving efficacy. The Jews had the temple of God, where the atoning sacrifices were offered, as well as the “oracles of God” (Romans 3:2). Most importantly, it was of them “as concerning the flesh Christ came” (Romans 9:5).

John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

in truth. True worship and saving faith no longer are mediated through types or require physical aids, now that Christ has come to bring full and free salvation. The truth in Christ, received through the Spirit by faith, is the worship the Father seeks (compare 2 Chronicles 16:9).

seeketh such to worship him. How could the omniscient God ever have to seek anything?! Yet the Lord Jesus affirmed that He does. Furthermore, Christ said that He Himself had “come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). In some inscrutable way, bound up in the humanly impenetrable balance between divine election and human responsibility, it satisfies the infinite heart of God when we respond to His sacrificial love in gratitude and worship.

John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

John 4:25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.

John 4:26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

I that speak unto thee. Even though the Samaritan religion was very deficient in many areas, they did believe in the Messianic promises, and it is significant that Jesus used His contact with this woman to convey the news of their fulfillment to these people. It is a common opinion that the Samaritans only used the Pentateuch, but they were obviously familiar with the doctrine of the coming Messiah, which is developed mostly in the books of Psalms and Prophets.

John 4:27 And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?

John 4:28 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men,

John 4:29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?

John 4:30 Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.

John 4:31 In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.

John 4:32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.

John 4:33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat?

John 4:34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

do the will. “Lo, I come to do thy will, O God” (Hebrews 10:9). The work He had been sent to do was finished on the cross, and He finally cried: “It is finished!” (John 19:30).

John 4:35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

John 4:36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.

John 4:37 And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.

another reapeth. The spiritual fields are white unto harvest and will yield rich fruit to those who reap, but those who have sowed or watered will share with the reapers, and all will rejoice together. Compare 1 Corinthians 3:6-8. In the Lord's service, all aspects of labor count the same.

John 4:38 I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.

John 4:39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.

John 4:40 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.

John 4:41 And many more believed because of his own word;

John 4:42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

John 4:43 Now after two days he departed thence, and went into Galilee.

John 4:44 For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country.

John 4:45 Then when he was come into Galilee, the Galilaeans received him, having seen all the things that he did at Jerusalem at the feast: for they also went unto the feast.

John 4:46 So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum.

John 4:47 When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death.

John 4:48 Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.

signs and wonders. Obviously the Lord would not encourage the modern emphasis on signs and wonders as incentives to faith.

John 4:49 The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die.

John 4:50 Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.

thy son liveth. Simply by a word, the Lord Jesus healed a young man who was near death. Not only did Jesus not even touch him, he was over ten miles away! This was a second miracle of creation, requiring nothing less than the power of the Creator Himself!

John 4:51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth.

John 4:52 Then inquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.

John 4:53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house.

John 4:54 This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee.

second miracle. Jesus actually had done many miracles in or near Jerusalem (John 2:23; 3:2) since the miracle of turning the water into wine. This is called the second miracle, either because it was the second done in Galilee or else because John was specifically counting only the seven great signs (all of these being miracles of creation) described in detail in order to win men to Christ (John 20:30, 31).