There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus. He was one of the Jewish rulers.
He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. We know that God is with you. If he weren't, you couldn't do the miraculous signs you are doing."
Jesus replied, "What I'm about to tell you is true. No one can see God's kingdom without being born again."
"How can I be born when I am old?" Nicodemus asked. "I can't go back inside my mother! I can't be born a second time!"
Jesus answered, "What I'm about to tell you is true. No one can enter God's kingdom without being born through water and the Holy Spirit.
People give birth to people. But the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
You should not be surprised when I say, 'You must all be born again.'
"The wind blows where it wants to. You hear the sound it makes. But you can't tell where it comes from or where it is going. It is the same with everyone who is born through the Spirit."
"How can this be?" Nicodemus asked.
"You are Israel's teacher," said Jesus. "Don't you understand these things?
"What I'm about to tell you is true. We speak about what we know. We give witness to what we have seen. But still you people do not accept our witness.
I have spoken to you about earthly things, and you do not believe. So how will you believe if I speak about heavenly things?
"No one has ever gone into heaven except the One who came from heaven. He is the Son of Man.
Moses lifted up the snake in the desert. The Son of Man must be lifted up also.
Then everyone who believes in him can live with God forever.
"God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.
"God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world. He sent his Son to save the world through him.
Anyone who believes in him is not judged. But anyone who does not believe is judged already. He has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
"Here is the judgment. Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light. They loved darkness because what they did was evil.
"Everyone who does evil things hates the light. They will not come into the light. They are afraid that what they do will be seen.
But anyone who lives by the truth comes into the light. He does this so that it will be easy to see that what he has done is with God's help."
After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the countryside of Judea. There he spent some time with them. And he baptized people there.
John was also baptizing. He was at Aenon near Salim, where there was plenty of water. People were coming all the time to be baptized.
That was before John was put in prison.
Some of John's disciples and a certain Jew began to argue. They argued about special washings to make people "clean."
They came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan River is baptizing people. He is the one you gave witness about. Everyone is going to him."
John replied, "A person can receive only what God gives him from heaven.
You yourselves are witnesses that I said, 'I am not the Christ. I was sent ahead of him.'
The bride belongs to the groom. The friend who helps the groom waits and listens for him. He is full of joy when he hears the groom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.
He must become more important. I must become less important.
"The One who comes from above is above everything. The one who is from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks like someone from the earth. The One who comes from heaven is above everything.
He gives witness to what he has seen and heard. But no one accepts what he says.
Anyone who has accepted it has said, 'Yes. God is truthful.'
The One whom God has sent speaks God's words. God gives the Holy Spirit without limit.
"The Father loves the Son and has put everything into his hands.
Anyone who believes in the Son has eternal life. Anyone who says no to the Son will not have life. God's anger remains on him."
The Pharisees heard that Jesus was winning and baptizing more disciples than John.
But in fact Jesus was not baptizing. His disciples were.
When the Lord found out about all this, he left Judea. He went back to Galilee again.
Jesus had to go through Samaria.
He came to a town in Samaria called Sychar. It was near the piece of land Jacob had given his son Joseph.
Jacob's well was there. Jesus was tired from the journey. So he sat down by the well. It was about noon.
A woman from Samaria came to get some water. Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?"
His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.
The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew. I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" She said this because Jews don't have anything to do with Samaritans.
Jesus answered her, "You do not know what God's gift is. And you do not know who is asking you for a drink. If you did, you would have asked him. He would have given you living water."
"Sir," the woman said, "you don't have anything to get water with. The well is deep. Where can you get this living water?
"Our father Jacob gave us the well. He drank from it himself. So did his sons and his flocks and herds. Are you more important than he is?"
Jesus answered, "All who drink this water will be thirsty again.
But anyone who drinks the water I give him will never be thirsty. In fact, the water I give him will become a spring of water in him. It will flow up into eternal life."
The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water. Then I will never be thirsty. And I won't have to keep coming here to get water."
He told her, "Go. Get your husband and come back."
"I have no husband," she replied. Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband.
The fact is, you have had five husbands. And the man you have now is not your husband. What you have just said is very true."
"Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet.
Our people have worshiped on this mountain for a long time. But you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem."
Jesus said, "Believe me, woman. A time is coming when you will not worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem.
You Samaritans worship what you do not know. We worship what we do know. Salvation comes from the Jews.
"But a new time is coming. In fact, it is already here. True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. They are the kind of worshipers the Father is looking for.
"God is spirit. His worshipers must worship him in spirit and in truth."
The woman said, "I know that Messiah is coming." (He is called Christ.) "When he comes, he will explain everything to us."
Then Jesus said, "I, the one speaking to you, am he."
Just then Jesus' disciples returned. They were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, "What do you want from her?" No one asked, "Why are you talking with her?"
The woman left her water jar and went back to the town. She said to the people,
"Come. See a man who told me everything I've ever done. Could this be the Christ?"
The people came out of the town and made their way toward Jesus.
His disciples were saying to him, "Rabbi, eat something!"
But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about."
Then his disciples asked each other, "Did someone bring him food?"
Jesus said, "My food is to do what my Father sent me to do. My food is to finish his work.
"You say, 'Four months more, and then it will be harvest time.' But I tell you, open your eyes! Look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest right now.
Those who gather the crop are already getting paid. They are already harvesting the crop for eternal life. So those who plant and those who gather can now be glad together.
"Here is a true saying. 'One plants and another gathers.'
I sent you to gather what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work. You have gathered the benefits of their work."
Many of the Samaritans from the town of Sychar believed in Jesus. They believed because of the woman's witness. She said, "He told me everything I've ever done."
Then the Samaritans came to him and tried to get him to stay with them. So he stayed two days.
Because of his words, many more people became believers.
They said to the woman, "We no longer believe just because of what you said. We have now heard for ourselves. We know that this man really is the Savior of the world."
After the two days, Jesus left for Galilee.
He himself had pointed out that a prophet is not respected in his own country.
When he arrived in Galilee, the people living there welcomed him. They had seen everything he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast. That was because they had also been there.
Once more, Jesus visited Cana in Galilee. Cana is where he had turned the water into wine. A royal official was there. His son was sick in bed at Capernaum.
The official heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea. So he went to Jesus and begged him to come and heal his son. The boy was close to death.
Jesus told him, "You people will never believe unless you see miraculous signs and wonders."
The royal official said, "Sir, come down before my child dies."
Jesus replied, "You may go. Your son will live." The man believed what Jesus said, and so he left.
While he was still on his way home, his servants met him. They gave him the news that his boy was living.
He asked what time his son got better. They said to him, "The fever left him yesterday afternoon at one o'clock."
Then the father realized what had happened. That was the exact time Jesus had said to him, "Your son will live." So he and all his family became believers.
This was the second miraculous sign that Jesus did after coming from Judea to Galilee.