John Chapter 4 – The Deity Of Christ

John Chapter 4 – The Deity Of Christ

John 4 New King James Version (NKJV)

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A Samaritan Woman Meets Her Messiah

1 Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John 2 (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), 3 He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. 4 But He needed to go through Samaria.
5 So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” 8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.
9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.
10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
11 The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
15 The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”
17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.”
Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”
19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”
21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”
26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”
The Whitened Harvest
27 And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?”
28 The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men,29 “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” 30 Then they went out of the city and came to Him.
31 In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”
32 But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.”
33 Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?”
34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.35 Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! 36 And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. 37 For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’38 I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.”
The Savior of the World
39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of His own word.
42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”
Welcome at Galilee
43 Now after the two days He departed from there and went to Galilee. 44 For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. 45 So when He came to Galilee, the Galileans received Him, having seen all the things He did in Jerusalem at the feast; for they also had gone to the feast.

A Nobleman’s Son Healed

46 So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had 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 implored Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.”
49 The nobleman said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies!”
50 Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your son lives.” So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. 51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, “Your son lives!”
52 Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to 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 to him, “Your son lives.” And he himself believed, and his whole household.
54 This again is the second sign Jesus did when He had come out of Judea into Galilee.

Study notes.

4:1–26 The story of the Samaritan woman reinforces John’s main theme that Jesus is the Messiah and Son of God. The thrust of these verses is not so much her conversion but that Jesus is Messiah (v. 26). While her conversion is clearly implied, the apostle’s focus centers on Jesus’ declaration foretold in the Scriptures (v. 25). Important also is the fact that this chapter demonstrates Jesus’ love and understanding of people. His love for mankind involved no boundaries, for He lovingly and compassionately reached out to a woman who was a social outcast. In contrast to the limitations of human love, Christ exhibits the character of divine love that is indiscriminate and all-encompassing (3:16).

4:3 He left Judea. John the Baptist and Jesus had official scrutiny focused on them because of their distinctive message regarding repentance and the kingdom. Most likely, Jesus wanted to avoid any possible trouble with John’s disciples who were troubled with His growing popularity and, since the Pharisees were also focusing on His growing influence, Jesus decided to leave Judea and travel N in order to avoid any conflict.

4:4 He needed to go through. Several roads led from Judea to Galilee: one near the seacoast; another through the region of Perea; and one through the heart of Samaria. Even with the strong antipathy between Jews and Samaritans, the Jewish historian Josephus relates that the custom of Judeans at the time of the great festivals was to travel through the country of the Samaritans because it was the shorter route. Although the verb “needed” may possibly refer to the fact that Jesus wanted to save time and needless steps, because of the gospel’s emphasis on the Lord’s consciousness of fulfilling His Father’s plan (2:4; 7:30; 8:20; 12:23; 13:1; 14:31), the apostle may have been highlighting divine, spiritual necessity, i.e., Jesus had an appointment with divine destiny in meeting the Samaritan woman, to whom He would reveal His messiahship. Samaria. When the nation of Israel split politically after Solomon’s rule, King Omri named the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel “Samaria” (1 Kin. 16:24). The name eventually referred to the entire district and sometimes to the entire northern kingdom, which had been taken captive (capital, Samaria) by Assyria in 722 B.C. (2 Kin. 17:1–6). While Assyria led most of the populace of the 10 northern tribes away (into the region which today is northern Iraq), it left a sizable population of Jews in the northern Samaritan region and transported many non-Jews into Samaria. These groups intermingled to form a mixed race through intermarriage. Eventually tension developed between the Jews who returned from captivity and the Samaritans. The Samaritans withdrew from the worship of Yahweh at Jerusalem and established their worship at Mt. Gerizim in Samaria (vv. 20–22). Samaritans regarded only the Pentateuch as authoritative. As a result of this history, Jews repudiated Samaritans and considered them heretical. Intense ethnic and cultural tensions raged historically between the two groups so that both avoided contact as much as possible (v. 9; Ezra 4:1–24; Neh. 4:1–6; Luke 10:25–37). See note on 2 Kin. 17:24.

4:5 Sychar. This town is probably identified with the modern village of Askar on the shoulder of Mt. Ebal, opposite Mt. Gerizim. A continuous line of tradition identifies Jacob’s well as lying about a half mile S of Askar.

4:5, 6 These verses refer back to Gen. 48:22 where Jacob bequeathed a section of land to Joseph which he had purchased from the “children of Hamor” (cf. Gen. 33:19). When the Jews returned from Egypt, they buried Joseph’s bones in that land at Shechem. This area became the inheritance of Joseph’s descendants. The precise location of “Jacob’s well” has been set by a firm tradition among Jews, Samaritans, Muslims, and Christians and lies today in the shadow of the crypt of an unfinished Orthodox church. The term used here for “well” denotes a running spring, while in vv. 11, 12 John used another term for “well” that means “cistern” or “dug-out-well” indicating that the well was both dug out and fed by an underground spring. This spring is still active today.

4:6 wearied from His journey. Since the Word became flesh (1:14), He also suffered from physical limitations in His humanity (Heb. 2:10–14). the sixth hour. John used Roman time, which started reckoning from 12:00 p.m., so the time would be about 6:00 p.m.

4:7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Women generally came in groups to collect water, either earlier or later in the day to avoid the sun’s heat. If the Samaritan woman alone came at 12:00 p.m. (see note on v. 6), this may indicate that her public shame (vv. 16–19) caused her to be isolated from other women. “Give Me a drink.” For a Jewish man to speak to a woman in public, let alone to ask from her, a Samaritan, a drink was a definite breach of rigid social custom as well as a marked departure from the social animosity that existed between the two groups. Further, a “rabbi” and religious leader did not hold conversations with women of ill-repute (v. 18).

4:8 to buy food. This verse indicates that since Jesus and His disciples were willing to purchase food from Samaritans, they did not follow some of the self-imposed regulations of stricter Jews, who would have been unwilling to eat food handled by outcast Samaritans.

4:10 living water. The OT is the background for this term, which has important metaphorical significance. In Jer. 2:13, Yahweh decries the disobedient Jews for rejecting Him, the “fountain of living waters.” The OT prophets looked forward to a time when “living waters shall flow from Jerusalem” (Zech. 14:8; Ezek. 47:9). The OT metaphor spoke of the knowledge of God and His grace which provides cleansing, spiritual life, and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit (cf. Is. 1:16–18; 12:3; 44:3; Ezek. 36:25–27). John applies these themes to Jesus Christ as the living water which is symbolic of eternal life mediated by the Holy Spirit from Him (cf. v. 14; 6:35; 7:37–39). Jesus used the woman’s need for physical water to sustain life in this arid region in order to serve as an object lesson for her need for spiritual transformation.

4:15 The woman, like Nicodemus (3:4), did not realize that Jesus was talking about her spiritual needs. Instead, in her mind, she wanted such water in order to avoid her frequent trips to Jacob’s well.

4:16 call your husband. Since the woman failed to understand the nature of the living water He offered (v. 15), Jesus abruptly turned the dialogue to focus sharply on her real spiritual need for conversion and cleansing from sin. His intimate knowledge of her morally depraved life not only indicated His supernatural ability, but also focused on her spiritual condition.

4:18 not your husband. She was living conjugally with a man who Jesus said was not her husband. By such an explicit statement, our Lord rejected the notion that when two people live together it constitutes marriage. Biblically, marriage is always restricted to a public, formal, official, and recognized covenant.

4:19 You are a prophet. His knowledge of her life indicated He had supernatural inspiration.

4:20 on this mountain. Both Jews and Samaritans recognized that God had commanded their forefathers to identify a special place for worshiping Him (Deut. 12:5). The Jews, recognizing the entire Hebrew canon, chose Jerusalem (2 Sam. 7:5–13; 2 Chr. 6:6). The Samaritans, recognizing only the Pentateuch, noted that the first place Abraham built an altar to God was at Shechem (Gen. 12:6, 7), which was overlooked by Mt. Gerizim, where the Israelites had shouted the blessings promised by God before they entered the Promised Land (Deut. 11:29, 30). As a result, they chose Mt. Gerizim for the place of their temple.

4:21 neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem. There was no reason to debate locations, since both places would be obsolete soon and neither would have any role to play in the lives of those who genuinely worship God. Jerusalem would even be destroyed with its temple (A.D. 70).

4:22 you do not know. The Samaritans did not know God. They did not have the full revelation of Him, and thus could not worship in truth. The Jews did have the full revelation of God in the OT; thus they knew the God they worshiped, because salvation’s truth came first to them (see note on Luke 19:9) and through them to the world (cf. Rom. 3:2; 9:4, 5).

4:23 hour. This refers to Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension to God, having completed redemption. true worshipers. Jesus’ point is that in light of His coming as Messiah and Savior, worshipers will be identified, not by a particular shrine or location, but by their worship of the Father through the Son. With Christ’s coming, previous distinctions between true and false worshipers based on locations disappeared. True worshipers are all those everywhere who worship God through the Son, from the heart (cf. Phil. 3:3).

4:24 God is Spirit. This verse represents the classical statement on the nature of God as Spirit. The phrase means that God is invisible (Col. 1:15; 1 Tim. 1:17; Heb. 11:27) as opposed to the physical or material nature of man (1:18; 3:6). The word order of this phrase puts an emphasis on “Spirit,” and the statement is essentially emphatic. Man could never comprehend the invisible God unless He revealed Himself, as He did in Scripture and the Incarnation. must worship. Jesus is not speaking of a desirable element in worship but that which is absolutely necessary. in spirit and truth. The word “spirit” does not refer to the Holy Spirit but to the human spirit. Jesus’ point here is that a person must worship not simply by external conformity to religious rituals and places (outwardly) but inwardly (“in spirit”) with the proper heart attitude. The reference to “truth” refers to worship of God consistent with the revealed Scripture and centered on the “Word made flesh” who ultimately revealed His Father (14:6).

4:25 Messiah. The Samaritans also anticipated Messiah’s coming.

4:26 I who speak to you am He. Jesus forthrightly declared Himself to be Messiah, though His habit was to avoid such declarations to His own Jewish people who had such crassly political and militaristic views regarding Messiah (cf. 10:24; Mark 9:41). The “He” in this translation is not in the original Gr. for Jesus lit. said “I who speak to you am.” The usage of “I am” is reminiscent of 8:58 (see notes there). This claim constitutes the main point of the story regarding the Samaritan woman.

4:27–42 These verses reinforce Jesus’ acknowledgment that He was Messiah by offering proof for His claim. John gave 5 genuine, but subtle, proofs that Jesus was truly Messiah and Son of God which reinforced his main theme of 20:31: 1) proof from His immediate control of everything (v. 27); 2) proof from His impact on the woman (vv. 28–30); 3) proof from His intimacy with the Father (vv. 31–34); 4) proof from His insight into men’s souls (vv. 35–38); and 5) proof from His impression on the Samaritans (vv. 39–42).

4:27 at this point. Had the disciples arrived earlier, they would have interrupted and destroyed the conversation, and if they had arrived any later, she would have gone and they would not have heard His declaration of messiahship. This feature subtly reveals Jesus’ divine control over the situation that was occurring.

4:28–31 to the men. Jesus had such an impact on the woman that she was eager to share the news among the townspeople whom she had previously avoided because of her reputation. Her witness and candor regarding her own life so impressed them that they came to see Jesus for themselves.

4:32, 33 I have food. Just like the Samaritan woman’s misunderstanding of Jesus words regarding literal water (v. 15), Jesus’ own disciples thought only of literal food. John commonly used such misunderstanding to advance the argument of
his gospel (e.g., 2:20; 3:3).

4:34 My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me. Most likely Jesus echoed Deut. 8:3 where Moses stated, “man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord” (cf. Matt. 4:4; Luke 4:4). When He talked with the Samaritan woman, Jesus was performing the will of the Father and thereby received greater sustenance and satisfaction than any mere physical food could offer Him (5:23, 24; 8:29; 17:4). Obedience to and dependence upon God’s will summed up Jesus’ whole life (Eph. 5:17). God’s will for Him to finish is explained in 6:38–40 (see note on 6:40).

4:35 four months and then comes the harvest. The event probably happened in Dec. or Jan. which was 4 months before the normal spring harvest (mid-Apr.). Crops were planted in Nov., and by Dec. or Jan. the grain would be sprouting up in vibrant green color. Jesus used the fact that they were surrounded by crops growing in the field and waiting to be harvested as an object lesson to illustrate His urgency about reaching the lost which the “harvest” symbolized. Jesus points out the Samaritan woman and people of Sychar (“lift up your eyes”) who were at that moment coming upon the scene (v. 30) looking like a ripened “harvest” that urgently need to be “gathered,” i.e., evangelized. already white for harvest. Their white clothing seen above the growing grain may have looked like white heads on the stalks, an indication of readiness for harvest. Jesus knew the hearts of all (2:24), so was able to state their readiness for salvation (cf. vv. 39–41).

4:36–38 The Lord’s call to His disciples to do the work of evangelism contains promises of reward (“wages”), fruit that brings eternal joy (v. 36), and the mutual partnership of shared privilege (vv. 37, 38).

4:42 Savior of the world. This phrase occurs also in 1 John 4:14. The verse constitutes the climax to the story of the woman of Samaria. The Samaritans themselves became another in a series of witnesses in John’s gospel that demonstrated the identity of Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God. This episode represents the first instance of cross-cultural evangelism (Acts 1:8).

4:43–54 The episode of Jesus’ healing of the official’s son constitutes the second major “sign” of 8 which John used to reinforce Jesus’ true identity for producing belief in his readers (v. 54). In this episode, Jesus chided the official’s unbelief in needing a miraculous sign in order to trust in Christ (v. 48). While some believe that this story is the same as the healing of the centurion’s servant (Matt. 8:5–13; Luke 7:2–10), sufficient differences exist to demonstrate that it is different from the synoptic account; e.g., 1) no evidence exists that the official’s son was a Gentile; 2) the official’s son, not his servant, was healed; and 3) Jesus was far more negative regarding the official’s faith (v. 48) than the centurion’s (Matt. 8:10). One may divide this section into 3 parts: 1) Jesus contemplating unbelief (vv. 43–45); 2) Jesus confronting unbelief (vv. 46–49); and 3) Jesus conquering unbelief (vv. 50–54).

4:43 went to Galilee. After two days in Samaria, Jesus traveled to Galilee resuming the trip that began in v. 3.

4:44 prophet has no honor in his own country. This proverb (also in Matt. 13:57; Mark 6:4) contrasts the believing response of the Samaritans (v. 39) with the characteristic unbelief of Jesus’ own people in Galilee (and Judea) whose reticent faith depended so much on Jesus’ performance of miracles (v. 48). While in Samaria, Jesus had enjoyed His first unqualified and unopposed success. His own people’s hearts were not open to Him, but exhibited reluctance and hardness.

4:45 the Galileans received Him. The apostle may have meant these words as irony especially in light of the surrounding context of vv. 44, 48. The reception was likely that of curiosity seekers whose appetite centered more on seeing miracles than believing in Jesus as Messiah—as it had been at “the feast” (see notes on 2:23–25).

4:46 Cana of Galilee. The deep irony of the statement in v. 45 increases with the fact that Jesus had only recently performed a miracle in Cana at the wedding. Instead of responding in belief, the people wanted more (see note on v. 48). The basis of their welcome was extremely crass. nobleman. The Gr. term means “royal official” and most likely designated someone officially attached to the service of King Herod Antipas, Tetrarch of Galilee from 4 B.C. to A.D. 39. sick at Capernaum. Capernaum was approximately 16 mi. NE of Cana.

4:47 implored Him. The language here indicates that he repeatedly begged Jesus to heal his son. His approach to Jesus was out of desperation, but he had little appreciation of who Jesus was. In light of v. 46, apparently the nobleman’s motivation centered in Jesus’ reputation as a miracle worker rather than as Messiah.

4:48 Unless you people see signs and wonders. The “you” is plural. Jesus addresses these words to the Galileans as a whole and not just to the nobleman (see notes on vv. 45, 46). The response of the Galileans was fundamentally flawed because it disregarded the person of Christ and centered in the need for a constant display of miraculous signs. Such an attitude represents the deepest state of unbelief.

4:50 your son lives. Jesus met the demands of Galilean unbelief by healing the official’s son, revealing not only His sympathy, but His marvelous graciousness in spite of such a faithless demand for miracles.

4:52 the seventh hour. About 7:00 p.m., reckoning from noon using the Roman system. See note on v. 6.

4:53 at the same hour. The time when the official’s son improved corresponded precisely with the time that he had spoken with Jesus. This served to strengthen the nobleman’s faith and, as a result, the “whole household” believed.

Comments related to this post.

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The scripture text was taken from Biblegateway.com

The translation of the text is from The New King James Version.

Scripture notes were taken from The MacArthur Study Bible notes that are contained in Biblegateway.com

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