John 4

Listen to John 4

Jesus and the Woman of Samaria

1 Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and 1baptizing more disciples than John
2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples),
3 he left Judea and departed 2again for Galilee.
4 3And he had to pass through Samaria.
5 So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field 4that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
6 Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, 5wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.[a]
7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, 6"Give me a drink."
8 (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.)
9 The Samaritan woman said to him, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?" (7For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)
10 Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you 8living water."
11 The woman said to him, "Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water?
12 9Are you greater than our father Jacob? 10He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock."
13 Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again,
14 but 11whoever drinks of the water that I will give him 12will never be thirsty again.[b] The water that I will give him will become 13in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
15 The woman said to him, "Sir, 14give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water."
16 Jesus said to her, "Go, 15call your husband, and come here."
17 The woman answered him, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You are right in saying, 'I have no husband';
18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true."
19 The woman said to him, "Sir, I perceive that 16you are 17a prophet.
20 18Our fathers worshiped on 19this mountain, but you say that 20in Jerusalem is 21the place where people ought to worship."
21 Jesus said to her, 22"Woman, believe me, 23the hour is coming when 24neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.
22 25You worship what you do not know; 26we worship what we know, for 27salvation is 28from the Jews.
23 But 29the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father 30in spirit and 31truth, for the Father 32is seeking such people 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 33Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, 34he will tell us all things."
26 Jesus said to her, 35"I who speak to you am he."
27 Just then 36his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, "What do you seek?" or, "Why are you talking with her?"
28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people,
29 "Come, see a man 37who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?"
30 They went out of the town and were coming to him.
31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, 38"Rabbi, eat."
32 But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you do not know about."
33 So the disciples said to one another, 39"Has anyone brought him something to eat?"
34 Jesus said to them, 40"My food is 41to do the will of him who sent me and 42to accomplish his work.
35 Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, then comes the harvest'? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that 43the fields are white for harvest.
36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that 44sower and 45reaper 46may rejoice together.
37 For here the saying holds true, 47'One sows and another reaps.'
38 I sent you to reap 48that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, 49and you have entered into their labor."
39 Many Samaritans 50from that town believed in him 51because of 52the woman's testimony, "He told me all that I ever did."
40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days.
41 And many more believed 53because of his word.
42 They said to the woman, "It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, 54and we know that this is indeed 55the Savior 56of the world."
43 After 57the two days he departed for Galilee.
44 (For Jesus himself had testified 58that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.)
45 So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, 59having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For 60they too had gone to the feast.

Jesus Heals an Official's Son

46 So he came again to 61Cana in Galilee, 62where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill.
47 When this man heard that Jesus 63had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.
48 So Jesus said to him, 64"Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe."
49 The official said to him, "Sir, come down 65before my child dies."
50 Jesus said to him, "Go; your son will live." The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way.
51 As he was going down, his servants[c] met him and told him that his son was recovering.
52 So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, "Yesterday at the seventh hour[d] the fever left him."
53 The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, "Your son will live." And he himself believed, 66and all his household.
54 67This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.

Images for John 4

John 4 Commentary

Chapter 4

Christ's departure into Galilee. (1-3) His discourse with the Samaritan woman. (4-26) The effects of Christ's conversation with the woman of Samaria. (27-42) Christ heals the nobleman's son. (43-54)

Verses 1-3 Jesus applied himself more to preaching, which was the more ( 1 Corinthians. 1:17 ) his disciples, by employing them to baptize. He teaches us that the benefit of sacraments depends not on the hand that administers them.

Verses 4-26 There was great hatred between the Samaritans and the Jews. Christ's road from Judea to Galilee lay through Samaria. We should not go into places of temptation but when we needs must; and then must not dwell in them, but hasten through them. We have here our Lord Jesus under the common fatigue of travellers. Thus we see that he was truly a man. Toil came in with sin; therefore Christ, having made himself a curse for us, submitted to it. Also, he was a poor man, and went all his journeys on foot. Being wearied, he sat thus on the well; he had no couch to rest upon. He sat thus, as people wearied with travelling sit. Surely, we ought readily to submit to be like the Son of God in such things as these. Christ asked a woman for water. She was surprised because he did not show the anger of his own nation against the Samaritans. Moderate men of all sides are men wondered at. Christ took the occasion to teach her Divine things: he converted this woman, by showing her ignorance and sinfulness, and her need of a Saviour. By this living water is meant the Spirit. Under this comparison the blessing of the Messiah had been promised in the Old Testament. The graces of the Spirit, and his comforts, satisfy the thirsting soul, that knows its own nature and necessity. What Jesus spake figuratively, she took literally. Christ shows that the water of Jacob's well yielded a very short satisfaction. Of whatever waters of comfort we drink, we shall thirst again. But whoever partakes of the Spirit of grace, and the comforts of the gospel, shall never want that which will abundantly satisfy his soul. Carnal hearts look no higher than carnal ends. Give it me, saith she, not that I may have everlasting life, which Christ proposed, but that I come not hither to draw. The carnal mind is very ingenious in shifting off convictions, and keeping them from fastening. But how closely our Lord Jesus brings home the conviction to her conscience! He severely reproved her present state of life. The woman acknowledged Christ to be a prophet. The power of his word in searching the heart, and convincing the conscience of secret things, is a proof of Divine authority. It should cool our contests, to think that the things we are striving about are passing away. The object of worship will continue still the same, God, as a Father; but an end shall be put to all differences about the place of worship. Reason teaches us to consult decency and convenience in the places of our worship; but religion gives no preference to one place above another, in respect of holiness and approval with God. The Jews were certainly in the right. Those who by the Scriptures have obtained some knowledge of God, know whom they worship. The word of salvation was of the Jews. It came to other nations through them. Christ justly preferred the Jewish worship before the Samaritan, yet here he speaks of the former as soon to be done away. God was about to be revealed as the Father of all believers in every nation. The spirit or the soul of man, as influenced by the Holy Spirit, must worship God, and have communion with him. Spiritual affections, as shown in fervent prayers, supplications, and thanksgivings, form the worship of an upright heart, in which God delights and is glorified. The woman was disposed to leave the matter undecided, till the coming of the Messiah. But Christ told her, I that speak to thee, am He. She was an alien and a hostile Samaritan, merely speaking to her was thought to disgrace our Lord Jesus. Yet to this woman did our Lord reveal himself more fully than as yet he had done to any of his disciples. No past sins can bar our acceptance with him, if we humble ourselves before him, believing in him as the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

Verses 27-42 The disciples wondered that Christ talked thus with a Samaritan. Yet they knew it was for some good reason, and for some good end. Thus when particular difficulties occur in the word and providence of God, it is good to satisfy ourselves that all is well that Jesus Christ says and does. Two things affected the woman. The extent of his knowledge. Christ knows all the thoughts, words, and actions, of all the children of men. And the power of his word. He told her secret sins with power. She fastened upon that part of Christ's discourse, many would think she would have been most shy of repeating; but the knowledge of Christ, into which we are led by conviction of sin, is most likely to be sound and saving. They came to him: those who would know Christ, must meet him where he records his name. Our Master has left us an example, that we may learn to do the will of God as he did; with diligence, as those that make a business of it; with delight and pleasure in it. Christ compares his work to harvest-work. The harvest is appointed and looked for before it comes; so was the gospel. Harvest-time is busy time; all must be then at work. Harvest-time is a short time, and harvest-work must be done then, or not at all; so the time of the gospel is a season, which if once past, cannot be recalled. God sometimes uses very weak and unlikely instruments for beginning and carrying on a good work. Our Saviour, by teaching one poor woman, spread knowledge to a whole town. Blessed are those who are not offended at Christ. Those taught of God, are truly desirous to learn more. It adds much to the praise of our love to Christ and his word, if it conquers prejudices. Their faith grew. In the matter of it: they believed him to be the Saviour, not only of the Jews but of the world. In the certainty of it: we know that this is indeed the Christ. And in the ground of it, for we have heard him ourselves.

Verses 43-54 The father was a nobleman, yet the son was sick. Honours and titles are no security from sickness and death. The greatest men must go themselves to God, must become beggars. The nobleman did not stop from his request till he prevailed. But at first he discovered the weakness of his faith in the power of Christ. It is hard to persuade ourselves that distance of time and place, are no hinderance to the knowledge, mercy, and power of our Lord Jesus. Christ gave an answer of peace. Christ's saying that the soul lives, makes it alive. The father went his way, which showed the sincerity of his faith. Being satisfied, he did not hurry home that night, but returned as one easy in his own mind. His servants met him with the news of the child's recovery. Good news will meet those that hope in God's word. Diligent comparing the works of Jesus with his word, will confirm our faith. And the bringing the cure to the family brought salvation to it. Thus an experience of the power of one word of Christ, may settle the authority of Christ in the soul. The whole family believed likewise. The miracle made Jesus dear to them. The knowledge of Christ still spreads through families, and men find health and salvation to their souls.

Cross References 67

  • 1. John 3:22, 26
  • 2. John 2:11, 12
  • 3. [Luke 13:33]
  • 4. ver. 12; Genesis 33:19; Genesis 48:22; Joshua 24:32
  • 5. John 19:28; [Matthew 4:2; Matthew 8:24; Matthew 21:18]
  • 6. [See ver. 6 above]
  • 7. Luke 9:53; [John 8:48; Ezra 4:3, 10]; See Matthew 10:5
  • 8. John 7:38; Jeremiah 2:13; Jeremiah 17:13
  • 9. [John 8:53]
  • 10. ver. 5
  • 11. [John 6:35, 51, 58; John 7:37]
  • 12. [Isaiah 49:10; Revelation 7:16]
  • 13. John 7:38
  • 14. [John 6:34]
  • 15. John 16:8
  • 16. John 9:17; [John 6:14]
  • 17. Luke 7:16, 39; See Matthew 21:11
  • 18. Genesis 12:6, 7; Genesis 33:18, 20; Deuteronomy 11:29; Deuteronomy 27:12; Joshua 8:33
  • 19. Judges 9:7
  • 20. See Deuteronomy 12:5
  • 21. [John 11:48]
  • 22. John 2:4
  • 23. ver. 23; John 5:25, 28; John 16:2, 25, 32
  • 24. Zephaniah 2:11; Malachi 1:11; 1 Timothy 2:8
  • 25. [2 Kings 17:28-34; Acts 17:23]
  • 26. Psalms 147:19, 20; Isaiah 2:3; Romans 3:1, 2; Romans 9:4, 5
  • 27. Psalms 147:19, 20; Isaiah 2:3; Romans 3:1, 2; Romans 9:4, 5
  • 28. Matthew 2:4, 5; Acts 13:23; Romans 11:26
  • 29. ver. 21
  • 30. [Romans 8:15; Ephesians 2:18; Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 3:3]
  • 31. Psalms 145:18; [John 1:17]
  • 32. [John 6:44]
  • 33. See John 1:41
  • 34. Deuteronomy 18:18; [ver. 29]
  • 35. John 9:35-37
  • 36. ver. 8
  • 37. ver. 17, 18; [ver. 25]
  • 38. See John 1:38
  • 39. [ver. 11, 15; John 3:4; John 6:34, 52]
  • 40. [Job 23:12]
  • 41. John 5:30; John 6:38; John 14:31
  • 42. John 5:36; John 17:4
  • 43. Matthew 9:37; Luke 10:2; [ver. 25, 30]
  • 44. [Matthew 13:37; Mark 4:14]
  • 45. ver. 38
  • 46. Isaiah 9:3; [Amos 9:13]
  • 47. [Job 31:8]
  • 48. Joshua 24:13
  • 49. [Acts 8:5-17, 25]
  • 50. ver. 5, 8
  • 51. [John 17:20]
  • 52. ver. 29
  • 53. John 8:30
  • 54. [1 John 5:20]
  • 55. 1 John 4:14; [John 3:17; John 12:47; 1 Timothy 4:10]
  • 56. See John 1:29
  • 57. ver. 40
  • 58. See Matthew 13:57
  • 59. John 2:23; John 3:2
  • 60. ver. 20
  • 61. John 2:1
  • 62. John 2:9
  • 63. ver. 3, 54
  • 64. John 2:18; John 6:30; [John 20:29]
  • 65. [John 11:21, 32; Mark 5:35; Luke 8:49]
  • 66. Acts 16:34; Acts 18:8; See Acts 11:14
  • 67. [John 2:11 with ver. 45, 46]

Footnotes 4

Chapter Summary


In this chapter the apostle cautions against seducing spirits; advises to try them, and gives rules by which they may be known, and by which they are distinguished from others; and then returns to his favourite subject, brotherly love. He exhorts the saints not to believe every man that came with a doctrine to them, but to try them, since there were many false teachers in the world; and gives a rule by which they may be tried and judged, as that whatever teacher owns Christ to be come in the flesh is of God, but he that does not is not of God, but is the spirit of antichrist that should come, and was in the world, 1Jo 4:1,2, but, for the comfort of those to whom he writes, he observes, that they were of God, and had overcome these false teachers, through the mighty power of the divine Spirit in them, who is greater than Satan, and all his emissaries, 1Jo 4:4. He distinguishes between seducing spirits, and faithful ministers of the word; the former are of the world, speak of worldly things, and worldly men hear them; but the latter are of God, and they that have any spiritual knowledge of God hear them; but such as are not of God do not heal them, by which may he known the spirit of truth from the spirit of error, 1Jo 4:5,6. And then the apostle returns to his former exhortation to brotherly love, which he enforces by the following reasons, because it is of God, a fruit of his Spirit and grace, and because it is an evidence of being born of God, and of having a true knowledge of him; whereas he that is destitute of it does not know him, seeing God is love, 1Jo 4:7,8, and having affirmed that God is love, he proves it, by the mission of his Son, to be a propitiation for the sins of such that did not love him, and that they might live through him; wherefore he argues, that if God had such a love to men, so undeserving of it, then the saints ought to love one another, 1Jo 4:9-11. Other arguments follow, engaging to it, as that God is invisible; and if he is to be loved, then certainly his people, who are visible; and that such who love one another, God dwells in them, and his love is perfected in them; and that he dwells in them is known by the gift of his Spirit to them, 1Jo 4:12,13, and that God the Father so loved the world, as to send his Son to be the Saviour of it, before asserted, is confirmed by the apostles, who were eyewitnesses of it; who also declare, that whoever confesses the sonship of Christ, God dwells in him, and he in God; and who had an assurance of the love of God to them, who is love itself; so that he that dwells in God, and God in him, dwells in love, 1Jo 4:14-16. And great are the advantages arising from hence, for hereby the saints' love to God is made perfect; they have boldness in the day of judgment, since as he is, so are they in this world, and fear is cast out by it, 1Jo 4:17,18, but lest too much should be thought to be ascribed to love, that is said to be owing to the love of God to them, which is prior to theirs to him, and the reason of it, 1Jo 4:19. And the chapter is closed with observing the contradiction there is between a profession of love to God, and hatred of the brethren, seeing God, who is invisible, cannot be loved, if brethren that are seen are hated; and also the commandment, that he that loves God should love his brother also, 1Jo 4:20,21.

John 4 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.