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THE GOSPEL of JOHN Part 1. - Chapter 4.

 

 

COMMENTARY on

 

THE GOSPEL OF JOHN Chapter 4.

 

 

Verses 1 – 2

 

John 4:1 Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John, 2 (Though Jesus himself did not baptize, but his disciples,)

 

 We are not told how Jesus knew the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John. May be Jesus had a word of knowledge from God the Father, but then it is also very likely Jesus or one of his disciple heard from one of the crowd of Jews who were coming to both Jesus and John to be baptized.

 

In John 3:23 we are told that both Jesus and John were baptizing in the same area.

 

Then in John 3:25 we are told that the Jews were challenging John's disciples, by what authority was John baptizing.

 

 

Verses 3 - 4

 

John 4:3 He left Judea, and departed again into Galilee. 4 And it was necessary for him to go through Samaria.

 

Given that Jesus wanted to distance himself from the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem; the quickest route from Judea to Galilee was through Samaria, therefore it was necessary for him to go through Samaria. This was not the only time Jesus Christ during his three year earthly ministry used this route (Luke 9:52 & 17:11). It would seem that this was the route that Jesus normally used when travelling back and forth between Judea and Galilee.

 

Verse 5

 

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

 

Sychar stood about eight miles southeast of the city called Samaria, and was formerly known as Shechem or Sichem (Gen 12:6 & 33:16). It was one of the cities allotted to the tribe of Ephraim (Joshua 21:21), and became a place of idol worship and was destroyed (Judges 9:45-46). It was latter rebuilt and became the residence of Jeroboam, the King of Israel (1 Kings 12:25). The Romans called it ‘Flavia Neopolis’ which was corrupted by the Arabs into ‘Nablus’, which it is still called to this day.

 

 

Verse 6alt

 

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

 

This well is not mentioned in the Old Testament. It was possibly first called Jacob’s well because it was near the land given by Jacob to Joseph.

 


Verses 7 - 8

 

John 4:7 There came a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus said unto her, Give me to drink. (For his disciples had gone away unto the city to buy meat.)

 

Being wearied with his journey, he sat on or by the well: it was about the sixth hour. The six hour being 12 o’clock, mid-day, and was the time most Jews had their meal. So it was as Jesus sat on the well, while his disciples went into the city to buy food.

 

While he sat; there came a woman of Samaria. Doubtless, not meaning she was from the from the city of Samaria, which was eight miles away, but that she lived in the land of Samaria, and most probably came from the city of Sychar to the well.

 

Most of the woman from the city would have come for water together for safety, and in the cool of the early morning, or in the cool of the evening. But this woman comes for water alone and during the mid-day heat.

 

Was she trying to avoid other people because of her shame?

 

Did the other woman of the city not trust her?

 

Where they unfriendly to her?

 

No doubt as Jesus saw her walking towards him, he would have first ask these questions of himself and then he ask them of God the Father; for the Son does nothing unless he first sees the Father doing it (John 5:19 & 8:28). Then, being led by the Spirit of God, Jesus said to her, Give me water to drink.

 

 

Verse 9

 

John 4:9 Then said the woman of Samaria unto him, how is it that you, being a Jew, ask a drink of me, who is a woman of Samaria? For the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.

 

The Jews considered the Samaritans to be spiritually unclean; therefore normally the Jews would not eat or drink with Samaritans, nor would it considered proper for a Jewish man to enter into conversation with a Samaritan woman, for the Jews had no dealings of friendship towards the Samaritans. So she would not have been expecting this Jewish man to be treating her with any respect, a respect she was not even receiving from her own people.

 

 

Verse 10

 

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

 

Jesus Christ himself is the gift of God; For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son (John 3:16).

 

Living water denotes from springs, fountains and running streams; water that brings life and never runs dry. (See notes on verse 13 – 14.)

 

 

Verses 11 – 12

 

John 4:11 The woman said unto him, Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from where then have you that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, and his children, and his cattle?

 

It would seem that if one wanted to draw water from this well, one would have to bring his own bucket and cord. Also the well was about 30 meters deep. So the woman asks in a mocking manner; from where then have you that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob?

 

 

Verses 13 – 14

 

John 4:13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinks of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinks 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. 15 The woman said unto him, 
Sir, give me this water that I thirst not, neither need I come here to draw.

 

In verse 10 Jesus tells the woman, if she had asked him for water he would have given her living water, denoting water that would always keep flowing and never run dry. But even in the natural when you drink living water from the well that never runs dry, as this woman well knew, you thirst again and again forcing you to walk back to the well day after day, all the days of your life to fetch water.

 

Now Jesus offers her water, that if you drink of it, you will never thirst again, but shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life, this Jesus spake of the Holy Spirit.

 

John 7:38 He that believes in me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 (Jesus spoke this of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Spirit had not yet been given; because Jesus was not yet glorified.)

 

The woman still thinking in the natural, mockingly address Jesus as Sir, as if she were address someone high and mighty, Sir, give me this water that I thirst not, neither need I come here to draw.

 

 

Verses 16 – 18

 

John 4:16 Jesus said unto her, Go, call your husband, and come here. 17 The woman answered and said; I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, you have honestly said, I have no husband: 18 for you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not your husband: in that you speak the truth.

 

As Jesus continues to be led by the Holy Spirit, he tells her to, Go, call your husband, and come here. Maybe Jesus had already received a word of knowledge from the Holy Spirit telling him of her five husbands.

 

Then maybe, as God prefers to call whole families into the kingdom, and Jesus recognizing the husband’s role as head of the household, he ask the woman to call her husband so that they both can receive this living water and be born again into the kingdom of God by the Spirit of God. Either way by time the woman says I have no husband, Jesus has received the word of knowledge and says unto her, you have honestly said, I have no husband: for you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not your husband: in that you speak the truth.

 

 

Verse 19

 

John 4:19 The woman said unto him, Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.

 

Up to this point the woman had been mocking Jesus Christ. To her Jesus was just some nut case, asking her for water to meet his needs, then telling her how he could not only supply her with an endless supply of living water, but water when you drank it, you would never thirst again. But now with one word of knowledge from the Holy Spirit, Jesus cut through to the dividing of the Spirit and Soul, and all of a sudden her eyes were open. No longer did she see a nut case sitting at the well, now she saw a prophet, a man of God.

 

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

 

Verses 20 - 24

 

John 4:20 Our fathers worshipped on this mountain; and you say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus said unto her, Woman believe me, the hour is come, when you shall neither on this mountain, nor at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You know not what you worship; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is come, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.

 

Jesus said to the woman, hour is come, and is now when;

 

1: True worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth (Verse 23).

 

Since the day of Pentecost, all those who have believed and received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Deliverer; who have repented and are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the deliverance of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). Therefore now, true worshippers worship the Father in spirit and in truth.

 

2: You will neither worship the Father on either of these mountains (Verse 21).

 

Mount Gerizim was not far from Sychar, and upon this mountain the Samaritan patriarchs had built a temple, similar to the temple in Jerusalem. 

 

Ever since the Samaritans had built this temple it was one of the main controversies between the Jews and the Samaritans. The Jews said we must worship God upon Mount Zion, while the Samaritans said we must worship God upon Mount Gerizim.

 

Although for a time, after the Day of Pentecost, the early Church still meet to worship God upon Mount Zion, with the destruction of the temple in 70 AD the worship of God upon Mount Zion by true believers ceased.

 

Some may say, but did not Jesus say

 

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

 

How can Jesus say, the hour is come, and now is, when the day of Pentecost was still three years away, and the destruction of the temple still about 40 years away?

Jesus Christ also said;

 

Mark 11:23 For truly I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be you removed, and be you cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he says shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he says.

 

As true worshipers baptized in name Christ we have received the gift of the Holy Spirit (Act 2:38), therefore we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16), and because we have the mind of Christ, we like Christ hear and speak the words of God the Father (John 12:49 – 50); and because they are the words of our Father they come to pass.

 

Other examples of this are;

 

1: When Jesus spake to the 10 lepers, telling them to go show themselves to the priests, even though they had not yet been healed (Luke 17:12 – 14).

 

2: When Jesus spake to the fig tree, “Let no man eat of you from this day ever.” The next day the tree was dead (Mark 11:13 – 14 & 20 – 21).

 

Also, when Jesus spake to the woman of Samaria, he was speaking what was already prophesied in the Scriptures.

 

Malachi 1:11 For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the nations; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.

 

From the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same, do not mean God will only be worshipped during the day light hours, but rather in means God will be worshiped among all the nations of the earth, where ever the sun rises and goes down.


In every place incense shall be offered unto my name. All around the world the offering of incense was the most common form of public worship. So Jesus like Malachi is prophesying a coming time when true worshipers would worship God the Father in Spirit and in truth throughout the world from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same.

 

John 4:22 You know not what you worship; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.

 

In their ignorance the Samaritans knew not what they worshiped, but the Jews (those who were waiting for the coming of the Messiah) knew what they worshipped for salvation was coming to them through the Messiah, God the Son.

 

Jesus Christ said: you neither know me, nor my Father: if you had known me, you should have known my Father also (John 8:19). Only those who come to God the Father through Jesus Christ can know the Father.

 

 

Verses 25 – 26

 

John 4:25 The woman said unto him, I know that Messiah is coming, (which is called Christ): when he has come, he will tell us all things. 26 Jesus said unto her, I that speak unto you am he.

 

The Samaritans acknowledged the writings of Moses, and were therefore also expecting the coming of the Messiah. It is unlikely that the woman gave the following translation (which is called the Christ), but this most likely was added in by John when writing the “Good News” in the Greek language.

 

In verse 26, Jesus acknowledges that he is the Christ.

 

 

Verse 27

 

John 4:27 And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said what do you seek? Or why do you talk with her?

 

As I mentioned when commenting on verse 9; ‘The Jews considered the Samaritans to be spiritually unclean;’ therefore it was not considered proper for a Jewish man to enter into conversation with a Samaritan woman. Therefore just as the woman would not have been expecting this Jewish man to be talking to her with any respect, neither would have Jesus’ disciples have expected to find Jesus alone with and speaking to a Samaritan woman.

 

 

Verses 28 – 30

 

John 4:28 The woman then left her water pot, and went her way into the city, and said to the men, 29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that I ever did: is not this the Christ? 30 Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.


When the woman came to the well, because of her shame, she came alone in heat of the noon day sun. But now she had met the Christ, the source of the waters of life. With joy and excitement she forgot her shame; and she forgot the natural water she had come for. Now she was off to tell her friends, and bring them to Christ; so they too could partake of the waters of life, and they came out from the city to meet with him.

 

 

Verses 31 – 34

 

John 4:31 In the meantime his disciples spoke to him, saying, Master, eat. 32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that you know not of. 33 Therefore his disciples said one to another, has any man brought him anything to eat? 34 Jesus said unto them, my meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

 

While the woman was off in the city to sharing her news about Jesus Christ, the disciples brought to Jesus the food they had purchased in the city, and they asked him to eat. But Jesus said I have meat to eat that you know not of.

 

The Samaritan woman had come for natural water, and Jesus gave her of the spiritual waters of life. The disciples brought Jesus natural food, but in the mean time Jesus had partaken of spiritual food. Jesus said unto them, my meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. When we do the will of God our Father and are faithful to complete his work, we partake of spiritual food that builds up and strengthens our spiritual body.

 

 

Verse 35

 

John 4:35 Do you not say, there are yet four months, and then comes the harvest? Look and see, I say unto you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are already white unto harvest.

 

It seems that there was a common saying there are yet four months, and then comes the harvest? And that this saying was often used to put off doing things, or to put off finishing a work one had already started. Jesus said unto them, my meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Many start the good work in God’s field, but soon become weary; others are called to gather the harvest, but they put off doing the task until it is too late. If we want to receive our reward, we must complete the work of God who sent us.

 

 

Verses 36 – 38

 

John 4:36 And he that reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit unto life eternal: that both he that sows and he that reaps may rejoice together. 37 And herein is that saying true, one sows, and another reaps. 38 I sent you to reap that where you laboured not; other men laboured, and you are entered into their labours.

 

In the natural both he that sows and he that reaps receive their reward. So it is in the spiritual, both he who sows the good news of the kingdom into people’s lives, and he who gathers souls into the kingdom enjoy the eternal rewards. When Jesus and his disciples shared the gospel to the woman of Samaria and the people of Sychar, they were already ripe unto harvest, because someone else (most probably John and his disciples) had already sown the seed of gospel to them. Therefore they were expecting the Christ, and were ready to receive him into their lives. Herein is that saying true, one sows and another reaps.

 

 

Verses 39 – 42

 

John 4:39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him through the saying of the woman, which testified, he told me all that I ever did. 40 So when the Samaritans came unto him, they asked of him that he would remain with them: and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word; 42 and they said unto the woman, no longer do we believe because of your sayings for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Deliverer of the world.

 

On the testimony of the woman many believed Jesus was the Christ and they asked him to remain in Sychar. So Jesus remained there two days preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and because of the word he preached many more believed he was the Christ. And they testified, saying to the woman no longer do we believe because of your sayings for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Deliverer of the world.

 

 

Verses 43 – 45

 

John 4:43 Then after two days he departed from there, and went into Galilee. 44 For Jesus him-self testified that a prophet has no honour in his own country. 45 Therefore when he came into Galilee, the Galileans received him, having seen all the things that he did at Jerusalem at the feast: for they also went unto the feast.

 

Soon after Jesus Christ began his earthly ministry Jesus went to his home town of Nazareth were after preaching in the synagogue, the Jews tried to kill him. After which Jesus said No prophet is accepted in his own country (Luke 4:24). So when Jesus departed from the city of Samaria and went into Galilee, instead of going back to his home town, where he was not accepted, he went into Cana of Galilee where he knew he would be better received. Many from there had also travelled to Jerusalem for the feast, and they also had seen the things he had done there. Although there are exceptions to the rule, it is not unusual for prophets not to be accepted in their home town or city.

 

 

Verses 46 – 47

 

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. 47 When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to him, and asked of him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. 48 Then Jesus said to him, except you see signs and wonders, you will not believe.

 

So it was that Jesus came again in Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. There he was meet by a nobleman, who was possibly connected by birth to Herod Antipas, or one of his court officials. It also seems that his usual place of residents was in Capernaum, about a day’s travel from Cana. When the nobleman heard that Jesus had come into Galilee, he went to him, and asked him to come to Capernaum to heal his son: for he was at the point of death.

 

 

Verse 48

 

John 4:48 Then Jesus said to him, except you see signs and wonders, you will not believe.

 

Jesus did not speak these words so much at the nobleman; for he believed and had travelled a day’s journey, just to ask Jesus to heal his son. Jesus spoke these words at the Galileans; for the Samaritans had readily received and believed that Jesus was the Christ, even though he had performed no miracles in their mist. But the Galileans, even though Jesus had performed many miracles in their mist, most were still slow to receive and believe that he was the Christ.

 

 

Verses 49 – 50

 

John 4:49 The nobleman said unto him, Sir, come down before my child dies. 50 Jesus said unto him, Go your way; your son lives. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.

 

It seems although the nobleman believed Jesus could heal his son, he was also of the opinion that in order to heal his son; Jesus would have to come to his son and laid hands on him. He had not yet come to that understanding that all Jesus had to do, was just say the word and his son would be healed (Matthew 8:8). But then Jesus Christ said the word; Go your way, your son lives. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.

 

 

Verses 51 – 53

 

John 4:51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, your son lives. 52 Then he enquired of them the hour when he began to recover, they said unto him, yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. 53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in which Jesus said unto him, your son lives: and he believed, and his whole house.

 

It would appear the son recovery was very quick. Given how sick he was just moments earlier, in the natural the healing was totally unexpected and unexplainable. It was a miracle; there was no other way to explain the sudden recovery of the son. Wanting to comfort the nobleman’s mind and soul, servants were sent to tell him your son lives. The father asked them what time did he begin to recover, and when they told him, he realized it was the very same hour he first believed that his son began to recover.


The son’s recovery began yesterday at the seven hour, that is 1 pm our time. As it was a day’s travel from Cana to Capernaum, and both the nobleman and the servants would need to prepare before they left. Thus it would be unlikely anyone travelled more than 4 to 5 hours on the afternoon the son was healed before they bedded down for the night, therefore meeting around noon the day following the miracle.

 

 

Verse 54

 

John 4:54 This was the second miracle that Jesus did, having come out of Judea into Galilee.

 

John 2:23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.

 

The first miracle Jesus ever performed was the turning of the water into wine (John 2:11). After this Jesus went to Jerusalem at the Passover where he performed many miracles. Later Jesus returns to Galilee, where at the word of Jesus Christ the nobleman’s son is healed; and John calls this the second miracle.

 

It would seem most likely that this was the second miracle Jesus Christ performed in Galilee. Others would say this was the second of only four miracles that John gives us any detail on. Personally I am inclined to say this was the second miracle Jesus Christ performed in Galilee.

 

Written by Kenneth Allan Clark and printed and published by

VICTORIOUS CHRISTIAN MINISTRIES INTERNATIONAL. P.O. BOX 144 WYNNUM QLD 4178 AUSTRALIA.
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Scripture taken from the “Clarks English Translation” © Copyright 2011 by Victorious Christian Ministries International. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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