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,)
John 4:3 He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.
John 4:4 And he must needs go through Samaria.
The Pharisees were the religious leaders. They heard that Jesus was becoming more popular than John. When Jesus heard that He was drawing the interest of the Pharisees, He decided to go back to Galilee via Samaria. He could have made His way without going through Samaria, but it would have been a much longer trip. I think He chose to go through Samaria because He was come for the salvation of all people, and He had a divine appointment with the woman at the well and the people of that town.
The Samaritans were a people of mixed blood. Jewish people had taken partners from other nations and these were their descendants. According to George Salstrand, they only accepted the Pentateuch (Genesis-Deuteronomy) as inspired.
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.
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.
John 4:7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.
John 4:8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)
Verse 7, “give” = grant, allow, yield
Jesus came to Sychar to the plot of ground that Jacob had given Joseph--Jacob’s well. Jesus was tired from the journey and sat down by the well to rest. It was about noon. A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus asked her for a drink. He was alone because the disciples had gone into town to buy food.
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.
The Samaritan woman was surprised because the Jews and Samaritans didn’t associate with each other. So she asked Him why He would ask her for a drink; didn’t He know she was a Samaritan? Her vessel would have been considered unclean to a Jew.
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.
Jesus basically answered her by saying that if she knew who He was, she would ask Him for water and He would give her 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?
She didn’t get it. She told Him that the well was deep, and He didn’t even have a bucket. Where did He think He could get this living water? Was He claiming to be greater than Jacob, their ancestor who dug this well for his family and flocks?
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.
Then Jesus told her that everyone who drank from this well would get thirsty again, but anyone who drank the water He gave them would never thirst—in fact, he/she would live forever. He made it clear that the living water He gives would result in provision from within a person’s being. This obviously can’t be physical water.
John 4:15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.
The woman still didn’t get it. She just knew that it was hard work to come and draw water, and she wanted some of this water so she could quit coming to draw from the well.
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.
So Jesus revealed a little more about Himself. He baited her and told her to go and get her husband. She told Him she didn’t have one. Then He reeled her in—He said that He knew that. In fact, He knew that she had had five husbands, and that the man she was with now was not her husband. He knew that she had spoken truthfully.
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.
The woman was convinced that He was a prophet. So she figured He would be a good person to ask about the problem of where to worship. The Samaritans worshipped on this mountain (Mt. Gerizim) where their ancestors worshipped, but the Jews insisted that Jerusalem was the acceptable place of worship—and she knew that He was a Jew.
This time through I thought about what an interesting response the woman gave to Jesus. It shows that she had a desire to know spiritual truth. Verse 25 states that she was looking for the Messiah. Her actions show that she had more interest in spiritual truth than physical provision. I think that is why the Holy Spirit led Jesus in this direction. Scripture teaches that those who seek Him will find Him.
Deuteronomy 4:29 “But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.”
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.
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.
John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
Jesus told her that a time was coming when they would understand that neither place was THE place. I think He was indicating a difference in the focus of their worship in the next statement. He was also affirming that salvation (the Messiah) would come from God through the Jews.
Jesus basically declared that the time was coming when people would realize it didn’t matter where they worshipped, but who they worshipped and how (from the heart). God is Spirit (not trapped by flesh). He wants those who worship Him to be committed with their hearts, the real essence of who they are, and to worship Him “in truth”—confident and sincere in their faith in Him as the focus of their worship. To worship in spirit and truth takes me back to the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus was very clear that it was the intent in the spirit that was the true measure of a person’s obedience.
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.
She knows He is a prophet, and she is having a hard time understanding all He is saying. So she says—“I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when He is come, He will tell us all things.”
This verse made me curious this time through. Christ is the Greek expression for the Hebrew Messiah. I looked in the Old Testament for reference to Messiah and found it was a term used only by Gabriel in Daniel. According to Eerdman’s Dictionary, “’The Messiah’ is thus a term with roots in the Old Testament, but whose meaning arises from post-biblical usage. It is obvious that the Samaritan woman used the term in reference to a deliverer that the people expected God to send who would become their King. When Herod questioned the chief priests and scribes after the wise men came searching for the newborn King, they didn’t hesitate with an answer.
Matthew 2:1-6 “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.”
John 4:26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.
Then He drops the bomb—He tells her that He is the Messiah!
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?
Just then, the disciples returned. They were surprised to see Him talking with the woman, but no one questioned Him about it.
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.
The woman was so excited that she left her water jar and went back to town to spread the news. She told them about the man who told her all about herself. She wanted them to help her decide if He could really be the Christ. So they went back with her to see this man.
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.
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.
John 4:38 I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.
The disciples were trying to get Jesus to eat, but Jesus was still very spiritually focused and quickly told them that He had food to eat that they knew nothing about. Just like the woman—they didn’t understand. They were wondering who would have brought Him food. Then Jesus tells them that His food is “to do the will of Him that sent Me and to finish His work.” What sustained the Lord and kept Him going was His desire to do what His Father desired. Jesus always exampled the priority of the spiritual over the physical. Spiritual satisfaction and sustenance should not be dependent on physical well-being.
What did the Lord mean by “finish His work?” The Greek for the word finish means to “complete” or “make perfect.” I believe God’s work being referenced here is the provision for restored fellowship with man and the defeat of Satan that was promised in Genesis 3:15 and clearly identified in Revelation.
Genesis 3:14-15 “And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
Revelation 12:9 “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
This next part is a bit harder. I think the main point is easy—the field of humanity is full of people who are searching and are ready to hear the truth and respond with belief to the message of salvation (e.g., these Samaritans). The Lord used the planting and harvesting of crops to make His point. Evidently, harvest time was due in four months. He wanted them to see souls as ready and willing to believe now. When the harvest is made or when souls are won, both the sower and the reaper are rewarded. The confusion to me is to whom He is referring as the sower and reaper here. He tells His disciples that He sent them to reap what they hadn’t worked for. Other men had done the hard work—John the Baptist? Old Testament prophets? The patriarchs? Obedient saints through their steadfast actions of faith and obedience?
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.
The enthusiasm and testimony of the Samaritan woman became the turning point for many in that town. They became believers. They came and begged Jesus to stay, and He did—for two days. During that time many more in the town listened to His message and became believers also. They were no longer second hand recipients of God’s power and His message—they had interacted with the Lord personally and now were confident that He “is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”
Just think what might happen if we believers were as excited about the truth we know as this woman was. Why are we not? Because we don’t want to be thought of as “Jesus freaks?” I speak this to my shame—to our shame.
Because of my study of prophecy, I can’t help but want to make an application with the “two days” that He stayed with the Samaritans. He took two days out of His work among the Jews to work with the Gentile Samaritans. Could this be a type of the 2,000 years (2 days) that would represent the church age (the time when His ministry is mainly to the Gentiles) before resuming His efforts with Israel preceding His second coming?
2 Peter 3:8 “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
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.
After the two days, Jesus left this town and continued to Galilee. He didn’t expect to be believed there when He identified Himself because it was His home. They would never believe the Messiah could come from Nazareth (which was in Galilee)—someone they had watched grow up.
When He arrived, He was welcomed. Many had been in Jerusalem at Passover and had seen His actions there (probably the cleansing of the temple as well as the miracles referenced in 2:23).
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.
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.
He again visited Cana where He had turned the water into wine. Jesus was evidently becoming well known for His miracles. One of the royal officials in the area had a sick son in Capernaum. He heard Jesus was there and came and begged Him to heal his son who was dying. Verse 48 sounds like the comment of a frustrated man. Yet, He is ready to accommodate (I think especially because of the man’s faith) because He realizes that our instincts and mindset as humans are to see “proofs.” Jesus then sends the man on his way and told him his son would live. The man believed Him; he didn’t keep on begging Him to come with him; he left. His action proved his faith.
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 enquired 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.
His servants met him on his way home with the good news that his son was living, and he found out that the fever left the very hour that Jesus had talked with him. This caused not only him, but also his whole household to believe.
There have been many times that I have wanted the Lord to do a personal miracle for me to drive away the doubts that have come at times along the way. Then I realize the times where He has obviously provided for us miraculously, even though I can’t see Him face to face. I hate that part of me that gives in to circumstances and temptation. Suffice it to say I will be glad when I am with Him face to face and no longer have to fight the battles of the flesh.
Verse 54 says that this is the second miracle Jesus performed. I think this is referring to the location—in Cana of Galilee. How would the official have known to come to Him for healing if there were no reputation preceding Him. We know that He had done miracles in Jerusalem (cf 2:23).