Jesus Christ is the gift of God, the richest token of God’s love, the source and fountain of those living waters, the graces of the Holy Spirit which satisfy the thirsting soul and make a life overflowing with goodness. Those who come face to face with their own helplessness and sin and give their hearts to Him will be the recipients of these living waters.
1 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,
2 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)
3 He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.
4 And he must needs go through Samaria.
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.
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.
7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.
8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)
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.
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.
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?
12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?
13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
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 into everlasting life.
15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.
16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.
17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband:
18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.
19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.
20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.
26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.
27 ¶ And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?
28 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men,
29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?
30 Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.
31 ¶ In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.
32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.
33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat?
34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.
37 And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.
38 I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.
39 ¶ And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.
40 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.
41 And many more believed because of his own word;
42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
43 ¶ Now after two days he departed thence, and went into Galilee.
44 For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country.
45 Then when he was come into Galilee, the Galilaeans received him, having seen all the things that he did at Jerusalem at the feast: for they also went unto the feast.
46 So Jesus came again into 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 was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death.
48 Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.
49 The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die.
50 Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.
51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth.
52 Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.
53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house.
54 This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee.
John 4:1-4 – J. Vernon McGee
John 4:5-12, 16 – J. Vernon McGee
John 4:13-20 – J. Vernon McGee
John 4:21-29 – J. Vernon McGee
John 4:30-42 – J. Vernon McGee
John 4:43-47 – J. Vernon McGee
John 4:48-54 – J. Vernon McGee
John 4:1-14 – Satisfying an Eternal Thirst
Our Lord had no wish to precipitate the conflict with the Pharisee party, until He had finished His ministry to the people. He was the last and greatest of the prophets, as well as the world’s Redeemer. He therefore withdrew from the metropolis. Here is another must, John 4:4. There were three in the previous chapter and there are two in this. It was not necessary for Jesus to go through Samaria except for the purpose of mercy to one soul. Jacob’s well is still visible, at the entrance of the green valley up which Sychar lay. Thus (v. 6), that is, as a tired man would sit. It was noon. The time when women usually drew water was in the evening, but there were special reasons why this woman came by herself. The love of God overleaps narrow restrictions of sex, and sect, and nationality. Two conditions, John 4:10, precede our reception of God’s best gifts: we must know, and we must ask.
The living water is not a stagnant pond or well, but leaps up from a hidden spring. The woman keeps referring to the well, Jesus to the spring in the well. That alone can satisfy. Not the word, but the spirit in the word. Not the rite, but the grace it symbolizes. John 4:13 might serve as the inscription on all places of worldly amusement. Ponder that word be, John 4:14. You first drink for your own need, then you help to meet the need of others. —Through the Bible Day by Day
John 4:10—If thou knewest the gift of God….
There are wonderful contrasts here! He who gives rest sits weary on the well-head; He who was the Jews’ Messiah utters his deepest lessons to a woman of Samaria; He that gives living water asks for water from the dark, cool depths that lay beneath them.
God’s best things are gifts.—Light, air, natural beauty, elasticity of the spirits, the sense of vigorous health, human love, and, above all, his only begotten and beloved Son. Among all other gifts is there one to be compared to this? The living spring of eternal life, which Jesus opens up in our hearts, and which so greatly differs from the pit of outward ordinance, is an altogether unspeakable bestowment. Nothing can purchase it. If a man would give all the substance of his house for it, it would be utterly contemned. It must be received as a gift, or not at all.
God’s gifts must be asked for.—“Thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given.” This is the law of Heaven. Prayer is a necessary link between the Divine hand that gives and the human heart that receives. We have not, because we ask not. There is nothing in our Lord’s words of the dreamy and languid pietism which refuses to ask because it will not dictate to the perfect wisdom of God.
If we had fuller knowledge we should pray more.—“If thou knewest… thou wouldest have asked.” If thou knewest who He is that stands beside thee, in thy hours of private prayer—if thou knewest all the possibilities of the life of prayer—if thou knewest what gains would accrue to thee on thy knees, thou wouldest give thyself to prayer, as though it were the main object of thy life. —Our Daily Homily
John 4:15-26 – The True Worship of the Father of All
What a train of memories our Lord’s words evoked! A spasm of remorse seized the woman, as she remembered the grave within her heart where her first love lay buried, trampled down by the wild crew of later passion. But why awaken such memories? Why open the cupboard and bid that skeleton step down? It could not be otherwise! Christ was there not to enter into an argument but to awaken the dormant conscience and save. The woman evaded the sword thrust, but she realized that she was dealing with a master hand in the spiritual realm. Hence her question about worship. This led to one of the greatest sayings ever uttered on earth—that God is Spirit; that He is ever searching for true worshipers; and that He is indifferent to places and nationalities and method, that we cannot worship until we live in the spirit-realm and are willing to conform ourselves absolutely to truth—these thoughts have revolutionized the religious thinking of mankind. They have not yet fulfilled their mission, but they bear witness to the unique supremacy of the Christ. —Through the Bible Day by Day
John 4:27-38 – The Rewards of Service
As soon as Jesus opens the living spring within our hearts, we abandon our water pots. When we are saved, we must hasten with the tidings to those with whom we have sinned. First find Christ for yourself; then say, “Come, see.” He who knows us with an unchallengeable knowledge cannot be other than the Christ.
The disciples were naturally astonished when they came upon this interview. They might have asked the woman what she was seeking, and the Master why He was talking to her. But they were silent; the awe of God was upon them. Their natural care for their beloved leader led them to press on Him the viands they had purchased, but they were destined to learn that the soul may be nourished in obeying the will of God. The whiteness of the harvest appeared in the crowds that were coming down the valley; but at harvest time we are sometimes apt to forget the sower who passed home without seeing the result of his labor. That is not the divine method. The sower is rewarded for his share, as the reaper for his—they rejoice together. —Through the Bible Day by Day
John 4:34 – Seek your life’s nourishment in your life’s work. (Phillips Brooks)
John 4:34 – Do what God calls you to do and you are a success. (Talmage)
John 4:39-45 – The Growth of Faith
There are many ways of coming to know Christ. In some cases He comes to us, as to the woman by the well, and reveals Himself in a direct and illuminating manner, so that the soul can never afterward entertain a doubt as to his reality or its own experience. In other cases, the report of some associate or friend is the arresting and converting factor. Many Samaritans believed “for the saying of the woman.” There was a light in her eyes, a radiance in her face, a strength and dignity in her bearing that convinced them. There was yet another section of the Samaritans, who watched and listened, as Jesus tarried with them. They heard Him for themselves, and were convinced that He was indeed the Saviour, not of the Jews only, but of the whole world.
Our Lord could not remain among this interesting people, for His mission was primarily to His own nation. He therefore proceeded on His way to Galilee, not to Nazareth where He was so well known, but as appears in the following paragraph, to Cana of Galilee, where He was welcomed because of the marked impression that He had already made in the metropolis. —Through the Bible Day by Day
John 4:46-54 – The Reward of Trusting Jesus’ Word
The particular interest of this beautiful incident is in John 4:50. The father had such faith in our Lord’s promise that he started off at once on his homeward journey, needing no further assurance that all was well. It would appear, indeed, that he went to some inn or caravansary on his way back, because there would have been ample time between the seventh hour (one o’clock in the day) and nightfall to get from Cana down to Capernaum. Why should he hasten! The boy was living, doing well, since the Master had said so. He was sure of it and thanked God for it and gladly took the opportunity of a quiet night’s rest, to sleep off the effects of long watching, intense anxiety, and the swift journey to Cana. When his servants met him with the news that the boy was healed, he inquired at what hour the change had taken place, merely to corroborate his own conclusions. What a happy family that was! This nobleman may have been Chuza, Herod’s steward, Luke 8:3, or Manaen, Herod’s foster-brother, Acts 13:1. Why should we not have the same simple faith in the word of God’s promise! —Through the Bible Day by Day