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The Samaritan Woman (John 4)

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“God is a Spirit” (Jn. 4:24)




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John 4

Jesus converts a Samaritan woman
When therefore the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize but his disciples), 3 he left Judea and departed again into Galilee. 4 It was necessary for him to pass through Samaria. 5 So he came to the city of Samaria called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground which Jacob gave his son Joseph. 6 Jacob's well was also there. Jesus, being tired from his journey, sat tired by the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water, and Jesus said to her: Give me a drink.
   8 His disciples had gone into the city to buy food. 9 The Samaritan woman replied to him: How is it that you, being a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink? (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 that said to you: Give me a drink, you would have asked of 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. From where then have you that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his cattle? 13 Jesus answered and said to her: Every one that drinks of this water shall thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst. The water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water, springing up to eternal life. 15 The woman said to him: Sir, give me this water, that I do not thirst ever again, nor come all the way here to get water.
   16 Jesus said to her: Go, call your husband and come back here. 17 The woman answered and said to him: I have no husband. Jesus said to her: You said well that you have no husband, 18 for you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not your husband. This you have said truthfully. 19 The woman said to him: Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus said to her: Woman, believe me, the hour is coming, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall you worship the Father. 22 You worship that which you do not know. We worship what we know. For salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour comes and now is, when true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such worshipers are who the Father seeks. 24 God is Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. 25 The woman said to him: I know that the Messiah is coming (he that is called Christ). When he comes, he will declare to us all things. 26 Jesus said to her: I that speak to you am he.
   27 And upon this scene came his disciples, and they marvelled that he was speaking with a woman. Yet no one said: What are you seeking? Or, Why do you speak with her? 28 So the woman left her waterpot and went away into the city, and said to the people: 29 Come, see a man who told me all things that I have ever done. Can this be the Christ? 30 They went out of the city and came to him.
   31 In the meantime the disciples pleaded with him, saying: Rabbi, eat. 32 But he said to them: I have food to eat that you do not know. 33 The disciples queried each other: Has anyone brought him something to eat? 34 Jesus said to them: My food is to do the will of Him that sent me and to accomplish His work.
   35 Do you not say: There are yet four months and then comes the harvest? Behold, I say to you, Lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white, ready to harvest. 36 He that reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit to everlasting life; that he that sows and he that reaps may rejoice together. 37 For herein is the saying true: One sows and another reaps. 38 I sent you to harvest that upon which you have not laboured; others have laboured, and you are taking over their labour.
   39 And from that city many of the Samaritans believed in him because of the word of the woman, who testified: He told me all things that I have ever done. 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they pleaded with him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 And they said to the woman: Now we believe, not because of your speaking; for we have heard for ourselves and know that this is indeed the Saviour of the world.

Jesus returns to Galilee
43 And after two days he left for Galilee. 44 Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honour in his own country. 45 So when he came into Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all the things that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they also had gone up to the feast.
   46 He came again to Cana of Galilee, where he 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 pleaded that he would come to Capernaum and heal his son. For his son was at the point of death. 48 Jesus replied to him: Except you see signs and wonders, you will in no way believe. 49 The nobleman said to him: Sir, come before my child dies. 50 Jesus said to him: Go your way. Your son lives. The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. 51 And as he was going home, his servants met him, saying that his son lived. 52 So he inquired of them the hour when he began to get better. They replied to him: Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. 53 The father knew that that was the hour when Jesus had said to him: Your son lives. And so he and his household believed.
   54 This was the second sign that Jesus did, when he had gone from Judea to Galilee.


4:6 Jesus’ needing to drink and becoming tired, needing to rest, all indicate His humanity. He wasn’t God Himself.

4:14 If we truly believe, we will become a well of water of life to other people. We can become the source of eternal life to people- in that we are the source of their contact with Christ. This means we should witness to people urgently and directly, knowing that we can give people the eternal life which otherwise they wouldn’t have.

4:22 People can go through the psychology and feeling of worship- but it’s not real worship.

4:24 God is Spirit in the sense that He is identified with His Spirit. God Himself is a personal being, not an abstract puff of ‘spirit’ blowing around. God “is” a consuming fire; He is revealed through the fire of His judgment, but this doesn’t mean that God equals fire and fire equals God. And the same with Him as Spirit.

4:27 Jewish religious leaders didn’t speak to women, nor Samaritans; nor did they teach the Bible to women; nor would they be alone in a woman’s company. Jesus was clearly not worried about gossip or His “image”- He intended to reach out to the marginal and despised.

4:29 It’s quite natural to tell others of our experience of Christ. The Gospels are full of people doing this.

4:32 Having a stimulating, unexpected conversation about the Lord with someone takes away our awareness of our tiredness and material problems. Preaching is for our benefit and blessing too.

4:39 All things- All her sins. On the basis of accepting her sinfulness she could witness to the people in a non-threatening way. Some people believe in Christ because of the word of a preacher; others believe in Him directly (v. 42). In some cases, therefore, we have the ability to bring a person to Christ; if we don’t do our part, they will not be saved. In this sense Paul can write to people and claim that they owed him their salvation.

4:53 Believed- But he is described as having “believed” the word of Jesus already, in v. 50. There are different levels of faith and conversion.