Religion & Spirituality:Christianity
JOHN 4:1-15 JESUS MUST GO THROUGH SAMARIA
As we move into Chapter four we will see John show us another side of Jesus. So far He has pursued his disciples and been pursued by Nicodemus, a supposedly very righteous and influential man, now He will make sure He will have a divine appointment with this very unrighteous and shunned woman of Samaria. Just as Nicodemus did not understand what Jesus was trying to tell him, this woman will not get it either. It is amazing how simple the Gospel is, that a little child can understand and believe, yet a grown man or woman with great intelligence will not and cannot understand it. Have you come to that place yet where you believe? I hope so, if not by the time this message is over I pray you will understand the truth and truly believe Jesus is the Christ, God in human flesh and ask Him to forgive you and save you.
It was, more than anything else, the glory of the land of Israel, that it was Emmanuel's land Isa 8:8 He will pass through Judah, He will overflow and pass over, He will reach up to the neck; And the stretching out of his wings Will fill the breadth of Your land, O Immanuel., not only the place of his birth, but the scene of his preaching and miracles. This land in our Savior's time was divided into three parts: Judea in the south, Galilee in the north, and Samaria lying between them. Now, in this chapter, we have Christ in each of these three parts of that land.
1 When therefore the LORD knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,
1Co 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. [Jesus made and baptized]
It is Christ's prerogative to make disciples, first to bring them to his foot, and then to form and fashion them to his will. These seem to be quoted as the very words which were brought to the Pharisees; and, from our Lord's conduct after this information, we may take it for granted that they were so irritated that they were determined to find an occasion to take his life; in consequence of which, leaving Judea, he withdrew into Galilee. Already the Pharisees had turned violently against John who had called them broods of vipers. It is most likely that they drew John out about the marriage of Herod Antipas and got him involved directly with the tetrarch so as to have him cast into prison. and hence they supposed they had a right to inquire into the conduct of both John and our Lord. They had on a former occasion sent to inquire of John to know by what authority he had introduced such a rite into the religion of the Jewish people. Though he feared not death and did not shrink from suffering, yet he did not needlessly throw himself into danger or provoke opposition
2 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) sent to baptize with the Holy Spirit, means that it was not the habit of Jesus. This is the last mention of baptism under the direction of Jesus till the Great Commission (Mt 28:19). It is possible that Jesus stopped the baptizing because of the excitement and the issue raised about his Messianic claims till after his resurrection when he enjoined it upon his disciples as a rite of public enlistment in his service.
3 He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee. Each time hereafter that Jesus appears in Jerusalem and Judea before the last visit there is an open breach with the Pharisees who attack him (Joh 5:1-47; 7:14-10:21,22-42; 11:17-53).
4 And he must needs go through Samaria. Lu 2:49 And He said to them, "Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?"
Or, it was necessary for him to pass through Samaria; for this plain reason, and no other, it was the only proper road. Samaria lay northward of Judea, and between the great sea, Galilee and Jordan, and therefore there was no going from Galilee to Jerusalem but through this province. From Jerusalem to Galilee, through Samaria, according to Josephus, was three day's journey. The direct and usual way was to pass through Samaria. Joseph was directed by God to go to Galilee, a place of safety.
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.
The Jews, regarded Samaritans as the most abominable of mankind.
So He came by going through Samaria to a city of Samaria. Now Samaria originally was the name of the capital city of the northern kingdom. When the kingdoms split after Solomon—Solomon was the last king of the unified kingdom (Saul, David, Solomon, and from Solomon’s sons)—the kingdom split, ten tribes went north, two stayed south. The south became known as Judah. The north as Israel. That’s historic.
When the kingdom was established independently in the north, Omri, who was one of the kings of the north...and by the way, all of them were evil, all of them were wicked, all of them were unrighteous, there was never a good king in the north. But Omri, according to 1 Kings 16, identified Samaria as the capital city. Well, it didn’t take long for the word Samaria to extend from the capital city to the whole region, so it all became known as Samaria.
[A city called Sychar] This city was anciently called Shechem. It seems to have been situated on the foot of Mount Garazim, in the province of Samaria, on which the temple of the Samaritans was built. After the ruin of Samaria by Salmanezer, Sychar, or Sheckem, became the capital of the Samaritans.
This place is remarkable in the Scriptures; 1. As being that where Abram first stopped on his coming from Haran to Canaan. 2. Where God first appeared to that patriarch and promised to give the land to his seed. 3. The place where Abram first built an altar to the Lord and called upon his name. . It was at this place that Joshua assembled the people before his death, and here they renewed their covenant with the Lord, Joshua chapter 24. After the death of Gideon it became a place of idolatrous worship, the people worshipping Baal-berith, One of the names of the city was Neapolis.
Now it is the first place where the gospel is preached out of the commonwealth of Israel; so Dr. Lightfoot observes; as also that the valley of Achor, which was given for a door of hope, hope to the poor Gentiles, ran along by this city, Ho 2:15
So we read there that He came to this place, a city in Samaria called Sychar. Probably modern Askar, still around, and located on the slope of Mount Ebal, opposite Mount Gerizim. Do you remember Ebal and Gerizim from Deuteronomy 28? The mountains of cursing and blessing where God warned the people, “If they obeyed they’d be blessed, if they didn’t, they’d be cursed?” That area. Now not just near this village, and by the way, the best estimate would be that if you started in Bethany, maybe He was staying with the family of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, we don’t know. But let’s assume Bethany, which is right by Jerusalem, somewhere in that area. It’s about a twenty-mile hike and when I say hike, I don’t mean it’s a flat walk, I mean it’s an exerting kind of hike, up and down and up and down and a rigorous walk, 20 miles would take it to where the modern town of Askar is, if that’s close to where Sychar is—a twenty-mile walk that day.
[That Jacob gave to his son Joseph] Jacob had bought this field from the children of Hamor, the father of Schehem, for a hundred pieces of money. Joh 4:1b1a) Here lay Jacob's ground, the parcel of ground which Jacob gave to his son Joseph, whose bones were buried in it, Ge 48:22; Jos 24:32. Probably this is mentioned to intimate that Christ, when he reposed himself hard by here, took occasion from the ground which Jacob gave Joseph to meditate on the good report which the elders by faith obtained. In faith Jacob said take my bones back
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. a state of weariness. The verb means to toil excessively (Lu 5:5). John emphasizes the human emotions of Jesus (Joh 1:14; 11:3,33,35,38,41; 12:27; 13:21; 19:28).
So Jesus goes the twenty miles and He arrives near Sychar, and some suggest that Jacob’s well (It was called that because Jacob’s bones were buried nearby)—they know where that is today. It was probably between a half a mile and a mile away from the village of Sychar. Askar is about a half a mile or so away.
He arrives at that place and we read this: “Jesus being wearied from His journey was sitting thus.” What does “thus” mean? Wearied, in a wearied condition; He sat in a slumped, wearied condition by the well. It was about the sixth hour. The day began at dawn, which means it began say around 6 A.M. and sixth hour puts it at noon. It is high noon; it is the middle of the day. The sun is at its peak and He has walked 20 miles, a rigorous, rigorous walk that morning. And He’s exhausted. The word “wearied,” kopiao, means to be to the point of sweat and exhaustion. It’s an extreme condition. He is worn out. He is spent. And at noon, under the blazing sun, He sits down on the edge of the well.
Even though Jesus was the eternal Word, He became fully man and shared the fatigue and thirst that all travelers experience (cf. Heb. 4:15-16).
The stage is set for this amazing encounter that is about to happen. And again there you see the humanity of Jesus, don’t you? You see His humanity. He understands all that we suffer as men and women because He was one of us. He knew what it was to be weary, to be thirsty, to be worn out, to be exhausted, which contributes to Him being a sympathetic high priest who learned from His own experiences how to sympathize with us. That kind of thing brings shame on those who say that only the Virgin Mary or the saints can sympathize with us. Jesus walked in our flesh. He understands even our physical weariness. And there He is by the well.
[Jacob's well] Cutting wells or pools for public use rendered a man famous, so this well was named after Jacob because he had digged it, and it was for public use. The well stands about a third of an hour walk from the present city of Neapolis and may be seen today.
The word John uses here is pege, rather than the usual Frear. “On the difference between the two Loyd comments: ‘A spring is a God-given thing. God creates the spring; man only digs the well.’ It is a curiosity that such a deep well should have been dug in a country where there are many springs. (Godet says that there are as many as eighty springs in the region.) The well must originally have been well over a hundred feet deep, so that digging and lining it was no small task. This has been worked into an argument that the well really was dug by Jacob. Only ‘a stranger in the land’ would have gone to all the trouble to construct such a well in a land as plentifully endowed with springs! Many commentators give the depth of the well as about seventy-five feet, but according to Hendriksen a great deal of debris has been cleaned out and the well restored to its original depth.” Morris, p. 257, fn. 20.
 Time does not permit an extensive exploration of the “well motif” in Genesis, but it has been noted elsewhere. Many of the important events in Genesis took place at a well. It was at a well that Abraham’s servant found a wife for Isaac (see Genesis 24). It was also at a well that Jacob first met Rachel (Genesis 29). A spring plays a vital role in the survival of Hagar and her son, Ishmael (Genesis 16).
[The sixth hour] About twelve o'clock. The time is noted here; 1. To account for Christ's fatigue - he had already travelled several hours, 2. To account for his thirst - the sun had by this time waxed hot. 3. To account for the disciples going to buy food because it was the normal time of dinner among the Jews.
7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. A polite request.
Three things about this woman seem to put her at a distinct disadvantage. First, she is a Samaritan. Second, she is guilty of sexual immorality, and third, she is a woman. We have already commented about the way the Jews felt toward the Samaritans. We are not left in doubt as to how the Pharisees would have dealt with such a woman:
[There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water] This was the normal employment of women, as we see in different parts of the sacred writings. The Jews say that those who wished to get wives went to the wells where young women were accustomed to come and draw water; and it is supposed that women of ill fame frequented such places also. Joh 4:1. 8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)
Drawing water was women’s work. Men worked in the field and did the hard work; women drew the water. That’s supported by all kinds of historical data. They did it every day. They did it every day because they needed water every day. Water was scarce in that part of the world, as you know. Wells were visited every day. That was a common meeting place for the women who came to draw water.
What is fascinating is that they came at dusk, typically. They came when the day had cooled down in the evening. Why is she coming at noon? Why is she there at twelve? Well, we can’t be certain about it, but it would be a reasonable thing to assume that this woman was a woman in town who had a very bad reputation—five husbands and living in adultery. And oh, by the way, the Samaritan religion was based upon an understanding of the Pentateuch which contains the Ten Commandments and a whole lot of other things that have to do with marriage and divorce and adultery, the five books of Moses. This is a scarlet woman. She would normally come at dusk if she was like other women, but if she was a woman of shame, maybe she came at noon because she knows nobody else is going to be there. And maybe she’s avoiding the confrontation and the stigma that she bears. And why this well? Because there’s some information historically that there were wells closer to Sychar. Why go this far? Why pass other wells? And the answer might be the same, that she avoided the very convenient places in the normal time of day to avoid the scorn of other women that she would have to face. She is not a respectable person.
Consequently by all expectations, she is not a woman worthy of attention from the Son of God. She is not a woman who is elevated. This is condescension. And how does He begin? He takes the initiative. He says to her, “Give Me a drink. J.C. Ryle says, “This is a gracious act of spiritual aggression on the sinner.” We don’t think about aggression in terms of evangelism, but we should. It’s a shocking thing, really, very shocking. Not so much in our culture, obviously, but in that culture it’s a shocking thing for Him to do because men don’t speak with women in public. That’s a breach of religious etiquette. And especially rabbis don’t speak to women in public. In fact, I remember reading years ago, a group of Pharisees and rabbis who were called the bruised and bleeding Pharisees and the reason they were bruised and bleeding was because every time they saw a woman they closed their eyes and they kept running into buildings. Jewish men didn’t talk to women. Do you know that Jewish rabbis were not supposed to talk to the women of their own family in public.
Whatever might be thought of the propriety of asking for a drink …, no Rabbi would have carried on a conversation with a woman. One of their sayings ran: ‘A man shall not be alone with a woman in an inn, not even with his sister or his daughter, on account of what men may think. A man shall not talk with a woman in the street, not even with his own wife, and especially not with another woman, on account of what men may say.’” Morris, p. 274, citing SBk, II, p. 438.
So here Jesus, a rabbi, a Jewish man, not only talks to a woman, but He talks to a woman who is an outcast, despised woman, who is a half-breed pagan and worse than that, she is by every measure a well-known adulteress who probably has been an adulteress for a long, long time, hence so many divorces. ’Cause if you look into the Law of Moses in the Old Testament, you will find that Moses did grant a divorce, but a divorce, as we know—because Jesus repeated it—for immorality. This is an immoral woman. It’s a shocking breach of everything Jewish for Him to say to this woman, “Give Me a drink.” And somebody might say, “Well, why doesn’t He have the disciples get Him a drink?” Well, can’t because verse 8 says they had gone away into the city to buy food; so He’s there alone. Why is He there alone? Well, because they needed food. How many disciples does it take to get food? All of them? No, but dismissing them was beneficial to the conversation, let’s put it that way. He wanted to be alone with the woman.
Joh 4:8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.
Without them there to get Him a drink, and without any instrument to get a drink, He says to the woman, “Give Me a drink.” It’s just absolutely shocking. And by the way, just a footnote, Jesus never did a miracle to quench His own thirst, satisfy His own hunger, or provide anything for Himself, never. There’s no record in all four gospels that Jesus ever did any miracle to feed Himself, provide for Himself, and thus He honored work, and He honored effort, and He honored care, and He honored sacrifice, and He honored giving and all the things that we do in life to sustain ourselves. This was also part of His commitment to humanity. We get what we need through either our own work, and our own effort, or somebody else’s work and somebody else’s effort. He didn’t do those kinds of miracles that would supply His own wants.
A Jewish Rabbi would rather go thirsty than violate these proprieties.
Strict Jews would not have purchased food from Samaritans as Jesus' disciples were attempting to do
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.
Here is another empty waterpot that I believe symbolizes the empty religion that man seeks for himself
Notice that in the verses that follow, Jesus does not answer this question. It is the gospel which changes all this:
Galatians 3:26-29- 26 For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to the promise
[That thou, being a Jew] Possibly the inhabitants of Judea distinguished themselves from those of Samaria by some peculiar mode of dress; and by this the Samaritan woman might have known Christ; but it is likely that our Lord spoke the Galilean dialect. [The Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans] The woman's question appears to have ended with the words, "Of Samaria" and the subsequent phrase are the words of the evangelist to explain the reason for the woman's question.
It certainly surprised her when He asked for a drink of water. She surmised that He was a Jewish rabbi, and perhaps she tried to “read between the lines” to find another meaning to His request. What was He really seeking?[i]
Of course, our Lord’s request was simply a way to open the conversation and share with her the truth about “living water.” [ii]
The hatred which existed between these two nations is well known. [The middle kingdom was taken captive by the Assyrians, who then repopulated the area with non-Jews (see 2 Kings 17), and to the Jews, who so prized racial and religious purity, the Samaritans were at best a people of suspect pedigree who practiced a corrupt religion. Perhaps she was surprised that Jesus would drink out of her water pot.
John adds, “The Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.” They don’t use the same utensils.
The Jews “do not use dishes Samaritans have used.” A Rabbinic law of A.D. 66 stated that Samaritan women were considered as continually menstruating and thus unclean. Therefore a Jew who drank from a Samaritan woman’s vessel would become ceremonially unclean.[iii]
In fact, the Jews in John 8:48 said, “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?” That’s what they said to Jesus. You’re nothing; that was one of their descriptions. “You’re a demon-possessed Samaritan.” Terrible scorn for the Samaritans.
Now again, you go back to 722 B.C., Assyria captures the northern kingdom. Transports everybody out. You can read the story yourself in 2 Kings 17. Takes everybody into captivity, leaves a few people there, a few of the Jews from the ten tribes, and into the district come Babylonians, people from Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, Sepharvaim. They’re even listed in that chapter of 2 Kings. They come in, they intermingle, they bring their gods, they get married, they lose their racial purity. This is an uncivilized time in the eyes of the Jews. They devise some bizarre form of their own religion, they build a temple on Mount Gerizim and they carry on their own kind of worship. We’ll see more about that later.
The bitterness is profound after the Jews in the southern kingdom, Judah came back from captivity. Remember they came back from their captivity. After they came back and rebuilt, you remember, it was Samaritans who tried to help them. Do you remember at the story of Nehemiah? The Samaritans wanted to help them and they refused to let them help. And so the Samaritans then tried to stop what they were doing and the bitterness got deeper and deeper and it lasted, and it lasted, and it lasted.
A renegade Jew, actually, it was a renegade Jew named Manasseh, who married a daughter of the Samaritan Sanballat. You remember he was the enemy of Nehemiah. This renegade Jew named Manasseh, who married the daughter of Sanballat, he’s the one that went up into Samaria and built the temple to sort of be their temple because they couldn’t be a part of the new temple being built in Jerusalem. So this rivalry had gone on. Here we are four or five hundred years later and the attitudes are bitter and deep.
Samaritans continued to worship on Mt. Gerizim and accepted only the Pentateuch as canonical. A small group of Israelis who claim to be able to trace their ancestry back to the Samaritans survives to the present day.
The Samaritans professed to believe in the God of Israel and awaited the coming of Messiah (see John 4:25). They accepted only the first five books of the Law, but rejected the rest of the Old Testament Scriptures. Wherever they found it necessary to justify their religion and their place of worship, they modified the Law. The relationship between the Jews and the Samaritans was definitely strained.
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.
Having captured her attention and stimulated her curiosity, Jesus then spoke a puzzling saying to cause her to THINK…. It was as if He had said, “Your shock would be infinitely greater if you really knew who I am. You—not I—would be asking!” Three things would have provoked her thinking: (1) Who is He? (2) What is the gift of God? (3) What is living water? “Living water” in one sense is running water, but in another sense it is the Holy Spirit (Jer. 2:13; Zech. 14:8; John 7:38–39).[iv]
(1.) Christ is the fountain of gardens, and well of living waters, open for every poor sinner, and freely given, that whosoever will may come unto him, and drink of the riches of his grace. (2.) Many carelessly disregard the invaluable blessings of the gospel, because they perceive not their excellence, nor their own want of them. (3.) They who would obtain the blessings of grace from Jesus and his Holy Spirit, must seek them in persistent prayer; and he who is faithful and true, hath promised, that none such shall ask in vain.
Is 55:1-7, Rev 7:16-17
The word used means, the free gift of God. And this is where evangelism starts. You initiate the conversation, you find your way in at a common point of interest, and then comes the reality that you are offering the sinner it without regard to moralit. It is mercy with no regard for morality. It is mercy with no regard for religion. It is just mercy. It is just grace.
It is the gift of God. This is the unique glory of the gospel. In opposition to all religion, all religion says, “Do this, do this, do this, do this, and God will give you this.” The gospel says, “In whatever state you’re in religiously, and whatever state you’re in morally, here’s a gift.” It is the gift of God. It is a gift of grace. It is a gift of mercy. Dorean, the word here, is “free gift.” Paul loves that word. Paul uses that word in Romans. He uses it in chapter 5, the free gift, the free gift. And that’s where our Lord starts with this unsolicited mercy being offered.
This was one of the many instances in which he took occasion from common topics of conversation to introduce religious discourse. None ever did it so happily as he did, but, by studying his example and manner, we may learn also to do it. One way to acquire the art is to have the mind full of the subject; to make religion our first and main thing; to carry it with us into all employments and into all society; to look upon everything in a religious light, and out of the abundance of the heart the mouth will speak,
Mt 12:34 "Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. [If thou knewest the gift of God] The Greek word used here signifies a free gift, a gift which is given without asking anything in return. Such a free gift of kindness was Jesus Christ to the world (chapter 3:16), and through him comes the gift of the Spirit which those who believe on his name were to receive.
2Co 9:15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
Christ will convert this woman, not by showing her that the Samaritan worship was dividing (though really it was so), but by showing her her own ignorance and immoralities, and her need of a Saviour. He hints to her what she should know, but was ignorant of: If thou knewest the gift of God, that is, as the next words explain it, who it is that saith, Give me to drink. If thou knewest who I am. She saw him to be a Jew, a poor weary traveler; but he would have her know something more concerning him that did yet appear. Note: (a.) Jesus Christ is the gift of God, the richest token of God's love to us, and the richest treasure of all good for us; a gift, not a debt which we could demand from God; not a loan, which he will demand from us again, but a gift, a free gift, Joh 3:16. (b.) It is an unspeakable privilege to have this gift of God proposed and offered to us; to have an opportunity of embracing it: thou wouldest have asked. Note: (a.) Those that would have any benefit by Christ must ask for it, must be earnest in prayer to God for it. (b.) Those that have a right knowledge of Christ will seek him, and if we do not seek him it is a sign that we do not know him. Jesus here means to denote by it his doctrine, or his grace and religion, in opposition to the impure and dead notions of the Jews and the Samaritans.
Ps 9:10 And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.
What is the gift of God? What is the living water? Well, it’s salvation, clearly. Everything that’s in salvation—mercy, grace, pardon, forgiveness, justification, flowing and flowing and flowing and flowing and flowing—and endlessly flowing.
[Living water] By this expression, which was common to the inhabitants both of the east and the west, is always meant spring water, in opposition to the dead, stagnant water contained in pools, ponds, tanks and cisterns; and what our Lord means by it is evidently the Holy Spirit, as may be seen in chapter 7:38-39. As water quenches the thirst, refreshes and invigorates the body, purifies things defiled and renders the earth fruitful, so it is an apt emblem of the Holy Spirit which so satisfies the souls that they no longer thirst for earthly good; it purifies them from spiritual defilement and it makes them who receive it fruitful in every good word and work.
As in His conversation with Nicodemus (3:5), Jesus again alluded to the Old Testament passages that promised salvation as satisfying water (e.g., Isa.12:3; 44:3; 49:10; 55:1-7; Jer. 31:29-34; Ezek. 36:25-27; Joel 2:28-32).
Isa 12:3 Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation.
Jer 2:13 "For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns-broken cisterns that can hold no water.
Zechariah 14:8 And in that day it shall be That living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, Half of them toward the eastern sea And half of them toward the western sea; In both summer and winter it shall occur.
Isa 1:2; Jer 6:19 Ps 36:9 For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.
Jer 17:13 O LORD, the hope of Israel, All who forsake You shall be ashamed. "Those who depart from Me Shall be written in the earth, Because they have forsaken the LORD, The fountain of living waters."
Jer 18:14 Will a man leave the snow water of Lebanon, Which comes from the rock of the field? Will the cold flowing waters be forsaken for strange waters?
Re 22:1 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb
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? concludes his boasts were absurd, and his offers a mere joke.
Jesus was speaking about spiritual water, but she interpreted His words to mean literal water. Again, we see how easily people confuse the material and the spiritual. Furthermore, this woman was concerned about how He would obtain this water, instead of simply asking Him to give her a drink of it.[v]
[Thou hast nothing to draw with] Thou hast no bucket. Good water is not plentiful in the east and travelers are often obliged to carry leather buckets or bottles with them, and a line also, to let them down into deep wells in order to draw up water.
She said to Him, ‘Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where then do you get that living water?’” This is sarcasm. This is a kind of scorn, kind of mockery. This woman is very used to defending herself.
12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?
“You’re not greater than our father Jacob, are you? Who gave us the well and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?” Who do you think you are? You’ve got something better than this? How are you going to give me water when you don’t have a bucket? How you going to drop the rope a hundred feet, pull up the water? Do you have some other well? Are you greater than Jacob? "There was a trace of sarcasm in the woman's reply, as if she meant, 'We Samaritans are the dirt under your feet until you want something; then we are good enough
Genesis 33:18 and 19, “Dug the well.” This is skepticism, mockery. Again, mercy responds kindly, patiently.
Of course Jesus is greater than Jacob—and greater than the well itself! To paraphrase His reply: “Whosoever continues to drink of this material water (or anything the world has to offer) will thirst again. But whosoever takes one drink of the water I give will never thirst again!” (see John 4:13–14) How true it is that the things of this world never completely satisfy. In hell today, people are crying, “I thirst!”
We have noted before that life is one of John’s key concepts. He uses the word at least thirty-six times. Campbell Morgan has pointed out that mankind needs air, water, and food in order to have life. (We might also add that he needs light.) All of these are provided in Jesus Christ. He provides the “breath” (Spirit) of God (John 3:8; 20:22). He is the Bread of Life (John 6:48) and the Light of Life (John 1:4–5), and He gives us the water of life.[vi]
[Our father Jacob] Despite of the mixture of the races the Samaritans still counted themselves as descendants of Jacob. Art thou greater? Art thou wiser, or better able to find water, than Jacob was? It seems that she supposed that he meant that he could direct her to some living spring, or to some better well in that region, and that this implied more knowledge or skill than Jacob had. To find water and to furnish a good well was considered an indication of skill and success. It was a subject of great importance in that region. Men like to commend that which their ancestors used as superior to anything else. The world over, people love to speak of that which their ancestors have done, and boast of titles and honours that have been handed down from them, even if it is nothing better than existed here--because Jacob's cattle had drunk of the water.
Her reference to "our father Jacob" was probably another barb designed to remind this Jew that Jacob was the Samaritans' ancestor as well as the Jews'.
13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whoever drinks of this water shall thirst again:
Jesus did not directly answer her question, or say that he was greater than Jacob, but he gave her an answer by which she might infer that he was. He did not despise or undervalue Jacob or his gifts; but, however great might be the value of that well, the water could not altogether remove thirst.
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 (bubbling up) into everlasting life. All the comforts of the world are insufficient to give any abiding satisfaction; Christ alone can bestow the substantial portion on the soul. They who pant after the earth, and its enjoyments, drink and thirst again;
It is a striking image, and especially in Eastern countries, where there are vast deserts, and often a great want of water. The soul by nature is like such a desert, or like a traveler wandering through such a desert. It is thirsting for happiness, and seeking it everywhere, and finding it not. It looks in all directions and tries all objects, but in vain. Nothing meets its desires. Though a sinner seeks for joy in wealth and pleasures, yet he is not satisfied. He still thirsts for more, and seeks still for happiness in some new enjoyment. To such a weary and unsatisfied sinner the grace of Christ is as cold waters to a thirsty soul.
[Springing up into everlasting life]. This water from Jacob’s well would satisfy only bodily thirst for a time. But the water Jesus gives provides continual satisfaction of needs and desires. In addition one who drinks His living water will have within him a spring of life-giving water (cf. 7:38–39). This inner spring contrasts with the water from the well, which required hard work to acquire. Jesus was speaking of the Holy Spirit who brings salvation to a person who believes and through Him offers salvation to others.[vii]
Joh 6:35 And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst again
Joh 7:37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.
What is it? It’s living water. It’s satisfaction forever, soul satisfaction forever.
15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.
The woman could not grasp this dark saying because of her sin and materialism. All she could understand was that if she had a spring she would not get thirsty and would not have to work so hard.[viii]
[Give me this water] She did not as yet comprehend our Lord's meaning; but her curiosity was much excited, and this was the design of our Lord, that he might have her mind properly prepared to receive the great truths which he was about to announce. water that will prevent thirst. Neither come, "nor keep on coming" as she has to do once or twice every day. She is evidently puzzled and yet attracted.
[i] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 299). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[ii] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 300). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[iii] Blum, E. A. (1985). John. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 285). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[iv] Blum, E. A. (1985). John. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 285). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[v] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 300). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[vi] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 300). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[vii] Blum, E. A. (1985). John. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 286). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[viii] Blum, E. A. (1985). John. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 286). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
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