4:1 When therefore the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John1 JESUS SETS OUT FROM JUDEA FOR GALILEE. A. REASONS FOR RETIRING TO GALILEE. Matthew 4:12; Mark 1:14; Luke 3:19,20; John 4:1-4
When therefore the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus
was making and baptizing more disciples than John. We saw at being
informed by his jealous friends. Like jealous friends, no doubt, informed
the Pharisees. Jesus may have known of this information being given by
reason of his supernatural powers, but it is more likely that he heard of it
in a natural way.
Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples)1,
(Although Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples). Jesus, as
divine Lawgiver, instituted baptism, and his disciples administered it. We
nowhere hear of the disciples of John administering baptism. In fact, the
Baptist, like the disciples of Jesus, baptized under a divine commission,
and could not delegate the power to others. It was the office of Jesus to
commission others to this work, not to perform it himself. Had he done so,
those baptized by him might have foolishly claimed for themselves some
peculiar honor by reason thereof (1 Corinthians
1:14,15). Jesus was the spiritual baptizer, in which baptism the
efficacy lies in the administrant; but water baptism, the efficacy of which
lies rather in the spirit of the one baptized than in the virtues of the
administrant, Jesus left to his disciples.
4:3 he left Judea,
and departed again into Galilee1.
He left Judea, and departed again into Galilee. We have in these
verses two reasons assigned for the withdrawal of Jesus into Galilee,
namely: (1) The imprisonment of John the Baptist (Matthew
1:14). (2) Knowledge of the Pharisees that Jesus was baptizing more
disciples than John (John
4:1). The first gives us the reason why he left Judea; the second, the
reason why he left fot Galilee. Jesus did not go into Galilee through fear
of Herod, for Herod was tetrarch of Galilee. The truth is, the absence of
John called for the presence of Jesus. The northern part of Palestine was
the most fruitful soil for the gospel. During the last six or eight months
of John's ministry we find him in this northern field, preparing it for
Christ's kingdom. While we cannot say definitely that John was in Galilee (Bethabara
and Aenon being the only two geographical names given), yet he certainly
drew his audiences largely from the towns and cities of Galilee. While John
occupied the northern, Jesus worked in the southern district of Palestine;
but when John was removed, then Jesus turned northward, that he might sow
the seed of the kingdom in its most fruitful soil. But if there was a reason
why he should "go" to Galilee, there was an equal reason why he
should "depart" from Judea. His popularity, manifesting itself in
the number of his baptisms, was exciting that envy and opposition which
caused the rulers of Judea eventually to take the life of Jesus (Matthew
27:18). The Pharisees loved to make proselytes themselves (Matthew
23:15). They no doubt envied John's popularity, and much more,
therefore, would they be disposed to envy Christ. The influence of the
Pharisees was far greater in Judea than in Galilee, and the Sanhedrin would
readily have arrested Jesus had he remained in Judea (John
10:39), and arrest at this time would have marred the work of Jesus.
Therefore, since it is neither sinful nor unbecoming to avoid persecution,
Jesus retired to Galilee, when he remained until his second passover. By
birth a prophet of Judea, he became, in public estimation, by this
retirement, a prophet of Galilee. Though Jesus first taught in Judea, the
ministry in Galilee so far eclipsed the work in Judea that it was spoken of
as the place of beginning, (Luke
23:5 manifestation (Matthew
4:4 And he must
needs pass through Samaria1.
And he must needs pass through Samaria. The province which took its
name from the city of Samaria, and which lay between Judea and Galilee.
Owing to the hatred which existed between Jews and Samaritans, many of the
Jews went from Jerusalem to Galilee by turning eastward, crossing the
Jordan, and passing northward through Perea. This journey required about
seven days, while the more direct route, through Samaria, only took three
days. Galileans often passed through Samaria on their way to and from the
Jerusalem feast (Josephus' Ant. 20:6,1). The arrest of John would scatter
his flock of disciples (Mark
14:27), and Jesus, as chief shepherd (1 Peter
5:1-4), hastened to Galilee, to gather together those which might else
go astray and be lost.
4:5 So he cometh
to a city of Samaria, called Sychar1, near
to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph2:
JESUS SETS OUT FROM JUDEA FOR GALILEE. B. AT JACOB'S WELL AND AT SYCHAR. John
So he cometh to a city of Samaria, called Sychar. Commentators long
made the mistake of supposing that Shechem, now called Nablous, was the town
here called Sychar. Shechem lies a mile and a half west of Jacob's well,
while the real Sychar, now called 'Askar, lies scarcely half a mile north of
Near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. It
was a small town, loosely called a city, and adjoined the land which Jacob
gave to Joseph (Genesis
24:32), Joseph's tomb being about one hundred yards east of it. The
mummy of Joseph, carried out of Egypt at the time of the Exodus, was buried
in this parcel of ground, and there is but little doubt that it really rests
in the place indicated by the tomb; and though the name Sychar may be
derived from the words "liar" or "drunkard", it is more
likely that it means "town of the sepulcher", referring to this
4:6 and Jacob's
well was there1. Jesus therefore,
being wearied with his journey, sat thus by the well2. It
was about the sixth hour3.
And Jacob's well was there. The Old Testament is silent as to when
or why Jacob dug this well. It lies on the southern side of the valley of
Shechem, where it opens upon the plain of Moreh (now called el-Mukhnah),
about a hundred yards south of the foot of Mt. Gerizim. It was one of the
few Biblical sites about which there is no dispute, and probably the only
place on earth where one can draw a circle of a few feet, and say
confidently that the feet of Christ have stood within the circumference.
Maundrell, who visited it in 1697, said that it was 105 feet deep, and had
in it fifteen feet of water. But travelers have thrown stones into it to
sound its depth, until at present it is only sixty-six feet deep, and has no
water in it except in very wet winters. It is seven and half feet in
diameter, and is walled with masonry to a depth of about ten feet, below
which it is cut through the solid rock. It lies four hundred yards nearly
due south from Joseph's tomb. As the neighborhood abounds in springs, the
well would hardly have been dug save by one who wished to be independent of
his neighbors--as Jacob did.
Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus by the well.
John gives us important items as to the humanity of Jesus. He tells us how
he sat as a wayworn traveler, hungry and thirsty, at Jacob's well; and he
alone records the words, "I thirst", spoken on the cross (John
19:28). The top of the well is arched over like a cistern, and a round
opening is left about twenty inches in diameter. On this arch or curbing
Jesus sat. We should note the perpetuity of blessings which springs from a
good deed. Gutenberg did not foresee the newspaper when he invented
printing; Columbus did not anticipate the land of the free when he led
discoverers to our shore, nor is it likely that the prophetic eye of Jacob
ever saw the wearied Christ resting upon the well-curb which he was
It was about the sixth hour. That is, twelve o'clock, if we reckon
by Jewish time, or six o'clock in the evening, if we reckon by the Roman
method. We prefer the latter method.
4:7 There cometh a
woman of Samaria to draw water1: Jesus saith unto her,
Give me to drink.
There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water. She was not of the
city of Samaria (which was then called Sebaste--the Greek word for
Augustus--in honor of Augustus Caesar, who had given it to Herod the Great),
but a woman of the province of Samaria, which lay between Judea and Galilee,
and reached from the Jordan on the east to the Mediterranean on the west,
comprising the country formerly occupied by the tribe of Ephraim and the
half tribe of Manasseh.
4:8 For his
disciples were gone away into the city to buy food1.
For his disciples were gone away into the city to buy food. Had the
disciples been present they would have bargained with the woman for the use
of her rope and pitcher; but in their absence Jesus himself asked her for a
drink. He met her on the ground of a common humanity, and conceded to her
the power of conferring a favor. Women have been immemorially the
water-carriers in the East (Genesis
2:16). Palestine is in summer a parched land, inducing intense thirst,
and the people usually comply cheerfully with the request for water; it was
probably so in Jesus' day (Matthew
10:42). Mohammed commanded that water should never be refused.
4:9 The Samaritan woman therefore saith
unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew1,
askest drink of me, who am a Samaritan woman? (For Jews have no dealings with
Thou, being a Jew. As his language and dress declared.
(For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans). It is not likely that
she meant to refuse his request, but she yielded to the temptation to banter
one who she thought despised her, and whose necessities now caused him for a
moment to forget his pride. The ancestors of the Samaritans were introduced
into the land of Israel by the king of Assyria, after he led the ten tribes
into captivity (2 Kings
17:24-41). When the Jews returned from their captivity in Babylon and
began to rebuild their temple, the Samaritans asked permission to build with
them, and when this was refused, an enmity arose between the two people
which never died out (Ezra
4:1-3). We must, however, restrict the word "dealings" to
social intercourse. Race antipathy did not ordinarily interfere with trade
or other matters involving money, as is shown by John
4:8. According to later tradition, a Jew accepted no hospitality from a
Samaritan, and to eat his bread as a guest was as polluting as to eat
swine's flesh, but such social courtesy was the very thing which Jesus here
asked. There are today between one and two hundred Samaritans dwelling in
Shechem at the foot of Mt. Gerizim, and Dr. Robinson says of them that they
"neither eat, nor drink, nor marry with the Jews, but only trade
4:10 Jesus answered and said unto unto
her, If thou knewest the gift of God1,
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 water2.
If thou knewest the gift of God, etc. Jesus is himself the Gift of
3:16; 2 Corinthians
9:15). But she knew not that God had bestowed a special Gift, and much
less that the one to whom she spoke was that Gift. Had she known she would
have understood that though physically Jesus was the object of her charity,
spiritually their cases were reversed, and she was the needy one, as Jesus
Living water would mean literally running or spring water, as
contrasted with still or cistern water. Jesus here uses it in the spiritual
sense. He fills us with his grace and truth (John
1:14) and grants unto us continual, untold refreshing (Revelation
7:17). The reviving and regenerating effects of the Holy Spirit are
likewise called living water (John
4:11 The woman saith unto him, Sir1,
thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep:
whence then hast thou that living water2?
Sir. This word ("kurios" in Greek) is elsewhere
Thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: whence then hast
thou that living water? She understood his words literally, and was
puzzled by them; but, won by the courtesy which suggested an exchange of
gifts, she answered respectfully, though incredulously.
4:12 Art thou
greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank thereof himself,
and his sons, and his cattle1?
Art thou greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank
thereof himself, and his sons, and his cattle? We should note three
points in this verse: (1) The greatness of Jesus. The woman had just called
him "Lord". The man at Bethesda, though he knew not Jesus,
afterwards did the same (John
5:7). People felt the majesty and dignity of Jesus. When he offered to
give a greater blessing than that given by Jacob, the woman at once
contrasted him with Jacob--Jacob with sons and cattle and wealth--and
wondered if this lonely stranger could really imagine himself greater than
the illustrious patriarch. (2) She claimed descent from Jacob; it was a
false claim. Jesus classed the Samaritans with Gentiles (Matthew
10:5), and spoke of them as strangers or aliens (Luke
17:18). (3) She spoke of the well as given by Jacob. She meant that it
had been given to Joseph (Genesis
48:22), and that her people had inherited it as descendants of Joseph.
4:13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Every
one that drinketh of this water shall thirst again1:
Every one that drinketh of this water shall thirst again. Jesus
here draws a contrast between earthly and heavenly blessings. No worldly joy
gives lasting satisfaction, but Jesus is the bread and water of life to his
6:35) their unfailing satisfaction.
4:14 but whosoever drinketh of the water
that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water
that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up unto
But the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water
springing up unto eternal life. A beautiful figure of the joy in Christ.
In heat, in cold; in drought, in shower; in prosperity, in adversity; it
still springs up, cheering and refreshing the soul, and this unto all
4:15 The woman saith unto him, Sir,
give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come all the way hither to draw1.
Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come all the way
hither to draw. She but dimly comprehended the nature of Christ's offer,
but was persuaded of two things: (1) The wonderful water was to be desired.
(2) Jesus was able and willing to give it. When she spoke of coming "to
draw", her words suggested the household to which it was her duty to
minister, and prepared the way for the command of Jesus to bring the head of
4:16 Jesus saith unto her, Go,
call thy husband, and come hither1.
Go, call thy husband, and come hither. She had asked Jesus for the
water of God's grace, but she needed to be made conscious of how much she
needed it--conscious (if we follow the figure) of her dormant thirst. Jesus,
therefore, gave command to call her husband, that by so doing he might
reveal her life and waken her to repentance.
4:18 for thou
hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: this hast
thou said truly1.
For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy
husband: this hast thou said truly. The divine wisdom of Jesus brought
to light a sad state of affairs. During the period of five marriages the
woman's life had at least some outward show of respectability, but now it
was professedly clean. The number of marriages reflects somewhat upon the
character of the woman, and hints that some of them may have been dissolved
by her own fault, though the loose divorce law of that age permitted a man
to dissolve the marriage ties on very slight provocation. Among the Jews the
great Hillel is reported to have said that a man might properly divorce his
wife if she burnt his dinner while cooking. It is not likely that any higher
ideals of matrimony obtained among the Samaritans.
4:19 The woman saith unto him, Sir,
I perceive that thou art a prophet1.
Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. She had heard of the
miraculous knowledge of the Jewish prophets, and this evidence given her by
Jesus persuaded her that he was one of them, as a like evidence had
persuaded Nathanael (John
1:48,49). By thus calling him a prophet, she virtually confessed the
truth as to all the things concerning which he had accused her.
4:20 Our fathers
worshipped in this mountain1; and
ye say2, that in Jerusalem is the
place where men ought to worship3.
Our fathers worshipped in this mountain. That is, Mt. Gerizim.
And ye say. You Jews.
That in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Though a
desire to divert the conversation from her own sins may have, in some slight
measure, prompted the woman to bring up this question about places of
worship, yet her main motive must have been far higher. If we ourselves
stood in the presence of one whom we felt assured to be fully inspired of
God, how hastily would we propound to him some of the vexed questions which
befog the religion of our time! Prompted by such a feeling, this woman
sought to have the great dispute between Jews and Samaritans decided.
Solomon's temple in Jerusalem was soon after its erection confronted by
those who denied its claims to be exclusively the place set apart for divine
worship. Jeroboam, the rebellious servant of Solomon, taught the people that
Bethel and Dan were as acceptable for worship as Jerusalem. But Jerusalem,
as the site of the first great temple, held precedence above all rivals
until its claims were discredited in popular estimation by the fact that it
was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. When, after many years, the returning
captives rebuilt its walls, it lacked the sanction of age, and it had lost
many of the features of divine recognition, which contributed to the
sacredness and grandeur of the first structure. Soon after its erection in
the days of Nehemiah, Manasseh, son of the high priest Joiada, and brother
of the high priest Jonathan (Nehemiah
13:28), married to the daughter of Sanballat, Persian governor of
Samaria. Refusing to dissolve this marriage at the decree of the governor of
Jerusalem, Manasseh was chased by Nehemiah from Jerusalem, and his
father-in-law made him high priests of the Samaritans, and undertook to
build for him the temple which afterwards crowned the summit of Mt. Gerizim.
Manasseh left Jerusalem about B.C. The temple built for him was destroyed by
John Hyrcanus about B.C. 129, but the place where it stood was still the
sacred center of Samaritan worship, as it is to this day.
Mt. Gerizim, and its supporting city of Shechem, had many grounds on
which to base their claims to be a sacred locality: (1) Here God appeared to
Abraham for the first time after his entering Canaan (Genesis
12:6,7); (2) here Jacob first dwelt (Genesis
33:18); (3) here Joseph came seeking his brethren (Genesis
37:12,13); (4) here was a city of refuge (Joshua
24:1); (5) here Joshua read the blessings and cursings (Joshua
8:33); (6) here also he gave his last address (Joshua
24:1); (7) here were buried the bones of Joseph (Joshua
24:32), and the neighborhood was prominent at the time of the division
of the ten tribes (1 Kings
12:1,25). If we may consider Samaritan traditions of that day as similar
to those of the present, they had added greatly to the real importance of
the neighborhood, for they now contend that (1) Paradise was on the summit
of Mt. Gerizim; (2) Adam was formed of the dust of Gerizim; (3) On Gerizim
Adam reared his first altar; (4) Seth here reared his first altar; (5)
Gerizim was the Ararat on which the Ark rested, and the only spot which the
flood did not overflow; and therefore the only place which escaped the
defilement of dead bodies; (6) on it Noah reared his altar; (7) here Abraham
attempted to offer Isaac; (8) here he met Melchizedek; (9) here was the real
Bethel, where Jacob slept and saw his ladder vision. Backed by such high
claims, the woman deemed it possible that this prophet might decide in favor
of Samaria's holy place. We should note that the Samaritans worshiped in Mt.
Gerizim because they could say, "Our fathers did so". Thus many
errors are perpetuated today because our fathers practiced them; but our
fathers had no more authority to alter or amend God's word than we have. The
Jews worshiped in Jerusalem because it had been prophesied that God would
select a spot as the peculiar place for his worship (Deuteronomy
12:5-11), and because according to this prophecy God had selected Mt.
Moriah in Jerusalem (1 Kings
9:3; 2 Chronicles
4:21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe
me, the hour cometh1, when
neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall ye worship the Father.
The hour cometh. Jesus used the word "hour" to indicate
that the time was "near at hand" when all religious distinctions
as to places would be abolished, and when every spot might be used for
purposes of worship (1 Timothy
4:22 Ye worship
that which ye know not: we worship that which we know1; for
salvation is from the Jews2.
Ye worship that which ye know not: we worship that which we know.
Jesus here speaks as a Jew, and draws a comparison between the intelligent
worship of his people and the ignorant worship of the Samaritans. Though the
Samaritans possessed the Pentateuch, they were without the revelation of God
which the prophets of Israel had developed, and their worship was neither
authorized nor accredited by God. Moreover, it led toward nothing; for
salvation was evolved from the Jewish religion, and not from that of
For salvation is from the Jews. Salvation proceeded from the Jews.
From them, according to the flesh, Christ came, and from them came also the
prophets, apostles, and inspired writers who have given us that full
knowledge of salvation which we possess today. We must take the words of
Jesus as referring rather to the two "religions" than to the two
peoples. Though as a body the Jews did not know whom they worshiped, and
though their teachers were blind leaders of the blind, yet the fault was in
their unbelief, and not in the revelation or religion in which they refused
to believe. On the contrary, if the Samaritans had believed his religion to
the full, it would hardly have been sufficient to have enabled him to know
what he worshiped. Samaria was, in the days of idolatry of Israel, a chief
seat of Baal worship, and in later days it was the home of magicians and
4:23 But the hour
cometh, and now is1, when the
true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth2:
for such doth the Father seek to be his worshippers3.
But the hour cometh, and now is. The hour is really here, but the
knowledge of it is not yet comprehended.
When the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth.
Jesus draws the mind of the woman from the place of worship to the Person or
Being worshiped, and from the form to the spirit of worship.
For such doth the Father seek to be his worshippers. God seeks for
genuine and not formal worshipers, and for those who worship him in truth;
that is, those who render him the obedience of faith with a filial spirit,
and not those who render him the empty service of types and shadows,
ceremonies and rites, which, through disbelief, have lost their meaning.
4:24 God is a
Spirit1: and they that worship
him must worship in spirit and truth2.
God is a Spirit. These words contain one of the most simple, yet
most profound, truths which ever fell upon mortal ear. Their truth is one of
the great glories of revelation, and corrects the mistaken conclusion of
human reason. They show that (1) God is absolutely free from all limitations
of space and time, and is therefore not to be localized in temples (Acts
7:48); (2) that God is not material, as idolaters contend; (3) that he
is not an abstract force, as scientists think, but a Being; (4) that he is
lifted above all need of temples, sacrifices, etc., which are a benefit to
man, but not to God (Acts
17:25). Spiritual excellence raises man above the beast, and spiritual
excellence in turn raises God above man (Isaiah
And they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth. That
is, men must offer a worship corresponding with the nature and attributes of
4:25 The woman saith unto him, I know that
Messiah cometh (he that is called Christ): when he is come, he will declare unto
us all things.
I know that Messiah cometh . . . he will declare unto us all things.
The breadth and largeness of Jesus' teaching suggested to her the great
Teacher who was to come, and caused her to yearn for him who could tell, as
she thought, perhaps even larger things. The Samaritans justified their idea
of a coming Benefactor by passages found in the Pentateuch, and got their
name for him from the Jews. Relying on the prophecy found at Deuteronomy
18:18, modern Samaritans regard the Messiah as a returning Moses,
calling him El-Mudy, the Guide. They contend that his name will begin with
M, and that he will live to be a hundred twenty years old. This woman's idea
of the Messiah was probably also very crude, but it was in part an
improvement on the general Jewish conception, for it regarded him as a
teacher rather than a world- conquering, earthly prince.
4:26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak
unto thee am [he].
I that speak to thee am [he]. That is the first recorded
declaration of his Messiahship made by Jesus. He was not confessed to be
Messiah by Simon Peter till the last year of his ministry (Matthew
16:16). Jesus spoke more freely as to his office in Samaria than in
Judea or Galilee, for, (1) the Samaritans would make no effort to take him
by force and make him a king (John
6:15); (2) his short stay in Samaria justified an explicit and brief
4:27 And upon
this came his disciples; and they marvelled that he was speaking with a woman1;
yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why speakest thou with her?
And upon this came his disciples; and they marvelled that he was
speaking with a woman. The spirit of the Rabbis is shown by their later
"Let no one talk with a woman in the street, no, not with his own
The estate of woman was then, and had been for a long time previous, very
low. Socrates thanked the gods daily that he was born neither a slave nor a
woman. Roman law gave the husband absolute authority over the wife, even to
put her to death; and Jewish contempt for women is made apparent by the
readiness with which the Jews divorced them.
Yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why speakest thou with her?
So deep was their reverence and respect that they did not question, though
they did not understand.
4:28 So the woman
left her waterpot1, and went away into the city, and saith
to the people,
So the woman left her waterpot. In the forgetfulness of great joy,
and as the unconscious pledge of her return.
Went into the city. Sychar (John
4:29 Come, see a
man, who told me all things that [ever] I did1: can
this be the Christ2?
Come, see a man, who told me all things that [ever] I did. To
publish Christ is one of the first impulses of those who feel Christ's
gracious power. Her invitation is like that given by Philip (John
1:46). On second thought her statement is not so much of an exaggeration
as it at first appears. Her five marriages and present state covered the
whole period of her adult life, and the way in which Jesus had disclosed it
all convinced her that every detail of it was spread out before him.
Can this be the Christ? Her question does not imply that she
herself had any doubts about the matter. She uses the interrogative form
because she does not wish to be dogmatic, but prefers to let the people
judge for themselves. Observe the woman's change of mind concerning Jesus.
She first called him "Jew", then "Sir," then
4:9,11,19), and now she invites her city to come forth and see "the
4:31 In the mean
while1 the disciples prayed him, saying, Rabbi, eat.
In the mean while. The time between the departure of the woman and
the arrival of her fellow-townsmen.
disciples therefore said one to another, Hath any man brought him [aught] to eat1?
The disciples therefore said one to another, Hath any man brought him
[aught] to eat? They understood his words literally, as a declaration
that he had dined.
4:34 Jesus saith unto them, My
meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to accomplish his work1.
My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to accomplish his
work. Jesus' delight at the woman's conversion, as a part of the work
which his Father had given him to do, overcome for a time his desire for
food. Food has several characteristics: (1) enjoyment; (2) satisfaction of
desire; (3) refreshment and strength. God's work had these characteristics
to Jesus, whose life fulfilled the principle that man shall not live by
bread alone (Matthew
4:35 Say not ye,
There are yet four months, and [then] cometh the harvest1?
behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on
the fields2, that they are white already unto harvest.
Say not ye, There are yet four months, and [then] cometh the harvest?
Jacob's well overlooked the luxuriant grainfields of the plain of Moreh. As
the disciples looked abroad over its patches of varying green, they would
say that it would yet be four months before these patches could be
harvested. Some commentators look upon the words of Jesus as proverbial, but
there is no proverb extant which places only fourth months between sowing
and reaping. In Palestine this period covers six months. We must, therefore,
take the words of Jesus as a plain statement as to the length of time
between the date of his speaking and the date of harvest. Harvest begins
about the middle of April, and counting back four months from that date we
find that this visit to Sychar occurred somewhere about the middle of
Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields,
that they are white already unto harvest. The harvests in the
natural world are slow. But turning their eyes toward Sychar, the disciples
could see the citizens of the town in their white garments pouring forth to
see Jesus, and to be gathered by him as a harvest of disciples which had
sprung up and ripened from the seeds of truth sown by the woman but a few
moments before. Spiritual sowing brings speedy harvests.
4:36 He that reapeth receiveth wages, and
gathereth fruit unto life eternal; that he that soweth
and he that reapeth may rejoice together1.
That he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.
Harvest times were seasons of great joy (Deuteronomy
9:3). But the joy of joys shall come when God gathers his redeemed into
the heavenly garner. In this present the humble teacher sows and the
evangelist, or more gifted brother, reaps; but in that glad hour it shall
matter little whether we have been a sower or a reaper, for we shall all
rejoice together. Sower and reaper alike shall receive wages, a part of
which shall be the "fruit" gathered--the soul saved. Jesus
regarded gaining a brother as a large compensation, a great gain (Matthew
4:37 For herein
is the saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth1.
For herein is the saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. See
4:38 I sent you
to reap1 that whereon ye have not
labored2: others have labored,
and ye are entered into their labor3.
I sent you to reap. Christ, as Lord of the harvest, sent both
sowers and reapers.
That whereon ye have not labored. In earlier days many prophets and
holy men had labored to prepare the people of Palestine, that they might be
gathered of Christ as disciples. Later John the Baptist had wrought a mighty
work toward this same end.
Others have labored, and ye are entered into their labor. Into a
field thus sown and cultivated Jesus was now leading his apostles, that they
might reap for him the ripened harvest. He bids them observe the speedy and
easy reaping on this occasion as an encouraging example to them, that they
may go forth with strong assurance and confidence. Even the minds of the
Samaritans were prepared to receive him, and a quick harvest could be
gathered among them.
4:39 And from
that city many of the Samaritans believed on him because of the word of the
woman, who testified1, He told me all things that [ever] I
And from that city many of the Samaritans believed on him because of
the word of the woman, who testified. The Jews rejected the testimony of
the prophets and holy men of God as recorded in the Scripture (John
5:46,47), but the Samaritans accepted the testimony of this woman, and
she was a sinner.
4:40 So when the
Samaritans came unto him, they besought him to abide with them1:
and he abode there two days2.
So when the Samaritans came unto him, they besought him to abide with
them. "His own received him not" (John
1:11), but these "strangers" welcomed him.
And he abode there two days. The stay was brief, but long enough to
prepare the way for a future church among the Samaritans in the neighboring
city of Samaria (Acts
8:5-8). From the nearer town of Shechem came Justin Martyr, one of the
greatest Christian writers of the second century.
4:42 and they said to the woman, Now
we believe, not because of thy speaking: for we have heard for ourselves, and
know that this is indeed the Saviour of the world1.
Now we believe, not because of thy speaking: for we have heard for
ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Saviour of the world. Only
such ready hearers could arrive at so great a truth in so short a time.
Wealth of revelation and blessing had made the Jews selfish, and their
conception of the Messiah was so perverted by this selfishness that they
could not conceive of him as being a "world" Savior. Thus wealth
often dwarfs where it should rather enlarge the heart. The incident
comprised in this section presents the expansiveness of Christianity in a
threefold aspect; viz.: (1) we see it breaking down the walls of racial
prejudice; (2) we observe it elevating woman, and certifying her fitness to
receive the very highest spiritual instruction; (3) we behold it lifting up
the degraded and sinful, and supplying them from the fountains of grace.
Such is real Christianity--the Christianity of Christ.
4:43 And after the two days he
went forth from thence into Galilee2.
JESUS SETS OUT FROM JUDEA FOR GALILEE. C. ARRIVAL IN GALILEE. Luke
Now after two days. The two days spent among the Samaritans at
He went forth from thence into Galilee. From Samaria.
4:44 For Jesus
himself testified, that a prophet hath no honor in his own country1.
For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honor in his own
country. Galilee was Jesus' "own country" (John
23:5-7). In Judea he had begun to receive so much honor as to bring him
into danger at the hands of the Pharisees; he would receive less in Galilee.
4:43 resumes the itinerary of John
4:1,2, after the interlude which tells of the woman at Sychar.
4:45 So when he
came into Galilee, the Galilaeans received him, having seen all the things that
he did in Jerusalem at the feast1: for
they also went unto the feast2.
So when he came into Galilee, the Galilaeans received him, having seen
all the things that he did in Jerusalem at the feast. The works which
Jesus had done in Jerusalem were for the most part fruitless as to its
inhabitants, but they bore the fruit of faith in far-off Galilee.
For they also went unto the feast. Of "the many who believed
on him" in Jerusalem (John
2:23), it is highly probable that a large number were Galilean pilgrims
who were then there attending the passover.
4:46 He came
therefore again1 unto Cana of
Galilee, where he made the water wine2. And
there was a certain nobleman3, whose
son was sick at Capernaum4.
THE SECOND MIRACLE AT CANA. John
He came therefore again. That is, in consequence of the welcome
which awaited him.
Unto Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. See John
And there was a certain nobleman. Literally, "king's
man", a word which Josephus uses to designate a soldier, courtier, or
officer of the king. He was doubtless an officer of Herod Antipas, tetrarch
of Galilee. That it was Chuzas (Luke
8:3) or Manaen (Acts
13:1) is mere conjecture.
Whose son was sick at Capernaum. The nouns in this verse are
suggestive. We have a "nobleman", yet neither riches nor office
lifted him above affliction; a "son", yet approaching an untimely
death before his father; and both these parties came to sorrow in
"Capernaum", the city of consolation. Neither circumstance, nor
age, nor situation can guarantee joy. We must still be seeking Jesus.
4:47 When he
heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee1, he
went unto him2, and besought
[him] that he would come down, and heal his son; for he was at the point of
When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee. And
was therefore within not very easy reach of his sick child's bedside.
He went unto him. Literally, "he went away unto him". The
verb contains a delicate suggestion that the father was reluctant to leave
the son, even to seek aid.
And besought [him] that he would come down, and heal his son; for he
was at the point of death. Many, like this father, only seek divine aid
when in the utmost extremity.
4:48 Jesus therefore said unto him, Except
ye see signs and wonders, ye will in no wise believe1.
Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will in no wise believe. Though
Jesus spoke these words to the nobleman, yet he also intended them for those
who stood by, for he used the plural "ye". That the Galileans in
general deserved reproof for their lack of faith, is shown by the upbraiding
words which he spoke concerning their cities (Matthew
11:20-24). Jesus wanted men to believe in him because of his
self-evidencing character and words (John
20:29). But the people required to have their faith buttressed by
miracles. There is a vast difference between believing in a man, and
believing his credentials. Miracles were our Lord's credentials; his
ministry among men cannot be thought of without them; and when the Baptist's
faith in Christ himself wavered, Jesus referred him to them (Matthew
11:4,5). See also aspects of miracles. To the thoughtful they were signs
or attestations that the one who performed them acted under the authority
and approval of God; to all others they were mere wonders, which startled by
their strangeness. Jesus was fresh from Sychar, where many required no other
sign than his words.
4:49 The nobleman saith unto him, Sir,
come down ere my child die1.
Sir, come down ere my child die. The father felt that the case was
too urgent to admit of delay for argument. It seemed to him that he raced
with death. His faith differed from that of the centurion in that he felt
that the PRESENCE of Jesus was required to perform the miracle. He also
regarded the powers of Jesus as limited to the living; but we must not
censure his faith as particularly weak, for in both these respects it
resembled that possessed by Mary and Martha (John
4:50 Jesus saith unto him, Go
thy way; thy son liveth1. The man believed the word that
Jesus spake unto him, and he went his way.
Go thy way; thy son liveth. Jesus enlarges the nobleman's
conception of his divine power by showing him that his words take effect
without regard to distance.
4:52 So he
inquired of them the hour when he began to amend1. They
said therefore unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him2.
So he inquired of them the hour when he began to amend. The father
expected that the fever would depart slowly, as it usually does; but the
reply of the servants shows that he was mistaken.
They said therefore unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever
left him. Though for harmonistic reasons we are persuaded that John
himself uses the Roman method of computing the hours, which would make the
phrase here mean 7 P.M., yet since the phraseology here is not his, but that
of the Galilean servants, we take it to mean 1 P.M., for they would use the
Jewish method of computing from sunset to sunset. If both parties had
started at once, they would have met before sundown, as each had but eleven
miles to traverse. But it is more reasonable to suppose that the wearied but
now-believing father sought some refreshment and a brief rest before
returning, and that the servants tarried awhile to see if the child's
recovery was permanent. This would lead to their meeting after sundown, at
which time, according to the invariable custom, they would call the previous
period of daylight "yesterday".
4:53 So the father knew that [it was] at
that hour in which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and
his whole house2.
So the father . . . himself believed. We note here a growth in the
faith of the nobleman. He first believed in the power of Jesus'
"presence", then in the power of Jesus' "Word", and
finally he believed generally in Jesus, and his household shared his belief.
And his whole house. This is the first mention of a believing
household; for others see Acts
4:54 This is
again the second sign that Jesus did, having come out of Judaea into Galilee1.
This is again the second sign that Jesus did, having come out of Judaea
into Galilee. One small sign and many converted in Samaria; two great
miracles and one household converted in Galilee. Such is the record. Jesus
doubtless had many other converts in Galilee, but it is often true that the
greater brings the lesser harvest.