John Chapter 4

Published Aug. 30, 2023, 12:45 p.m.

Recap Ch 3: Wealthy religious leader Nicodemus meets Jesus at night.  Jesus stuns him with his interpretations of scripture and speaks to him with metophors of being "Born from above" and puns about the Spirit blowing where it wishes.  John the Baptist continues to witness that Jesus is the promised Messiah.  "He must increase, but I must decrease".

  • Jesus will now meet the Samaritan worman.  Contrast this meeting with the Jesus meeting with Nicodemus.  (time, place, setting, status, etc.)

  • Jewish History:
    The Samaritans were half-Jew, half-Gentile. The race came about after the Assyrian captivity of the northern kingdom of Israel in 721 B.C. Certain people from the nation of Israel stayed behind. These people intermarried with the Assyrians producing the Samaritans. (more info)

    When Cyrus permitted the Jews to return from the Babylonian exile, the Samaritans were ready to welcome them back. The (Jewish) exiles, however, despised the Samaritans as renegades. When the Samaritans wanted to join in rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem, their assistance was rejected. You will find this in the Book of Ezra, Chapter Four. With the rejection came political hostility and opposition. The Samaritans tried to undermine the Jews with their Persian rulers and slowed the rebuilding of Jerusalem and its temple. Nehemiah tells us (Nehemiah 13:28-29) that a grandson of the high priest, Eliashib, had married a daughter of Sanballat, the governor of the province of Samaria. For defiling the priesthood by marrying a non-Jewish woman, Nehemiah drove Eliashib from Jerusalem – though Sanballat was a worshiper of Yahweh. According to the historian Josephus, Sanballat then had a temple built on Mount Garizim in which his son-in-law Eliashib could function. Apparently this is when the full break between Jews and Samaritans took place.  (source)
  • Samaritans stated that their mountain was the dwelling place of the Lord, not the Temple in Jerusalem.
    The Samaritans had their own temple, their own copy of the Torah - the first five books of the Old Testament - and their own religious system.

  • Jews called the Samaritans a ‘herd’, not a nation.
  • A widely used Jewish proverb stated that “a piece of bread given by a Samaritan is more unclean than swine’s flesh.”
  • Sometime early in the first century, Samaritans threw human bones into the Temple in Jerusalem on the day of Passover. This heinous act, according to the Jews, defiled the sanctuary making it impossible to celebrate the most important feast of the year.  (source)

Jesus and the Woman of Samaria

Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.[a]

A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For 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 living 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 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He 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 whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.[b] The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

  1. Why did Jesus have to go through Samaria?  Luke sheds insight on a trip through Samaria (Luke 9:51-56) (Not necessarily same trip).

  2. Sixth hour is about noon.  How does Jesus speak with this woman?  How do you think we get this account since no diciples were present?

  3. "Are you greater than our Father Jacob?"  What is she doing by calling Jacob "our" Father?

  4. How has the interaction gone so far?  What personal motives might be at play for the woman?  Are we like that?

16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call 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 you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is 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 Messiah is coming (he 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.”

  1. Jesus seems to model a very generous way of interpreting this woman's words.  (He has the benefit of knowing people better than they know themselves -- Jeremiah 17:9-10). She wants to mask the reality: She has had 5 husbands and the one she has now is not her husband.  Jesus way of speaking to her is persuasive:  He knows her situtaion and knows she is not at peace with her situation.  Why is it difficult for us to speak to people about sin?  Especially calling someone out who is in sin? Is it impossible?

  2. After percieving Jesus to be a prophet she goes right to the politically important question of the day: Who is right, the Jews or the Samaritans?  Talk about how Jesus answers her.

  3. The Samaratians only used a modified Torah (1st 5 books of Bible).  This woman believes Messiah is coming. Why? Perhaps from Deuteronomy 18:15-22. And she believes He has not come yet (Deuteronomy 34:10).  How important is it to make an appeal to someone using a source that they trust?  What makes that difficult?

  4. Compare Jesus response to the Samaritan woman and his talk with Nicodemus.  What makes the difference?

27 Just then his 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 who 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, “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, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to 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 the fields are white for harvest. 36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

  1. His disciples marveled that he spoke with her.  (That says a lot!)  What is her response to Jesus?  Compare again to Nicodemus.

  2. What is Jesus talking about in 35 to 38?  Does this have the same kind of message that Paul tells the Corinthians? (1 Corinthians 3:6-9)  Compare and contrast.

39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the 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 because 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, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”

  1. What was the result of the testimony of the Samaritan woman?  John the Baptist might be considered a "likely" witness of Jesus Christ.  The Samaritan woman seems more like an unlikely witness of Jesus Christ.  Which are you more like?  Can God use you as a witness about him?

  2. How is verse 42 a comfort when we feel like we are inadequate witnesses?  How should we respond to this passage?

43 After the two days he departed for Galilee. 44 (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.) 45 So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast.

Jesus Heals an Official's Son

46 So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had 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, “Unless you[c] see signs and wonders you will not believe.” 49 The official said to him, “Sir, come down before 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[d] 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[e] 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, and all his household. 54 This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.

  1.   Jesus is back in Cana where he did his first miracle.  Recall that Capernaum is about 20 miles away from Cana (roughly).  Jesus heals a man from 20 miles away.  I don't recall anything like this in the Old Testament.   This has similarities with Matthew 8:5-13 but may be a different healing miracle.

  2. The healing was the "second sign".  The Samaritan woman was thoroughly impressed with Jesus knowlege of her inner self (As was Nathanael in Chapter 1). 


  1. John 4:6 That is, about noon
  2. John 4:14 Greek forever
  3. John 4:48 The Greek for you is plural; twice in this verse
  4. John 4:51 Or bondservants
  5. John 4:52 That is, at 1 p.m.
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  • Introduction to John's Gospel

  • John Chapter 1

  • John Chapter 2

  • John Chapter 3

  • John Chapter 4
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  • John Chapter 5

  • John Chapter 6

  • John Chapter 7 (and end of Ch.6)

  • John Chapter 8

  • John Chapters 9 and 10

  • John Chapter 10 and 11

  • John Chapter 12

  • End of John 12 and Chapter 13

  • John Chapter 14

  • John Chapter 15 and 16

  • John Chapter 17

  • John Selections from Ch. 18 and 19

  • John Chapter 20 and 21