Partner with as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

John 4

Verses 1-42

A Samaritan Woman Responds to His Calling We read in John 4:1-42 about the testimony of the Samaritan woman and how she came to believe that Jesus was “the Christ, the Saviour of the world” (John 4:42). In this story, the Samaritan woman recognizes Jesus as the Messiah, a title that the Jewish leaders vehemently denied; for she cried out, “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” (John 4:29)

Note also how Jesus spoke to her in a way that captured her attention, for to a thirsty woman at the well, Jesus revealed Himself as a well of water springing up into everlasting life (John 4:14). In other words, He spoke to the woman using language and illustrations that she could relate to and understand.

John 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 be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life .”

John 4:1 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,

John 4:1 Comments - Perhaps the Pharisees perceived that this radical movement was growing and would bring Rome’s military wrath upon the Jews.

John 4:2 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)

John 4:3 He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.

John 4:3 Comments - The Gospels record no more occasions of water baptism by Jesus or His disciples at this point in the early period of His public ministry.

John 4:1-3 Comments - The Rejection by the Jews John 4:1-3 serves as an introduction to the testimonies of the Gentiles who received Jesus’ ministry and believed in Him. These verses state that the Jewish leaders were responding negatively to His public ministry, in contrast to the stories of the Gentiles who received Him, which are the Samaritan woman (John 4:4-42), His reception by the Gentiles (John 4:43-45), and the healing of the Nobleman’s son (John 4:46-54). John 4:1-3 explains Jesus’ need to leave Judea and return to Galilee because of the rejection by the Jews, despite the testimonies of His miracles (John 2:23) and of John the Baptist (John 3:22-36). The Evangelist uses the testimonies of these Gentiles to show how the Gentiles were able to recognize the truth while the Jews were somehow blinded by their religious traditions. This message of the Jews rejecting Jesus and the Gentiles accepting Him is woven throughout the Gospel of John.

The Evangelist will give a message similar to John 4:1-3 in the introductory verses of John 4:43-45 that set the background for the healing of the nobleman’s son.

John 4:4 And he must needs go through Samaria.

John 4:5 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.

John 4:5 “Then cometh he to a city of Samaria” - Comments - The city of Samaria became the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel. It was founded by Omri, who was king over Israel (885-874 B.C.) (see 1 Kings 16:21-28).

1 Kings 16:23-24, “In the thirty and first year of Asa king of Judah began Omri to reign over Israel, twelve years: six years reigned he in Tirzah. And he bought the hill Samaria of Shemer for two talents of silver, and built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of Shemer, owner of the hill, Samaria.”

“which is called Sychar” Comments - Jerome (A.D. 342-420) believed that the name “Sychar” was a copyist error for “Sychem” ( Liber Hebraicarum Questionum in Genesium 48:22), [148] meaning that the letter r was accidentally changed to an m by a copyist, a view that has been adopted by later Church writers as well as modern scholarship. [149] Thus, a number of scholars believe that Sychar is the “Shechem” of the Old Testament. It is possible that the city Sychar was later called “Neapolis,” a suggestion made by Jerome, who says, “Across is Sichem, to which the majority read the error Sichar, which today is applied to Neapolis.” ( Epistles 108.13) (author’s translation). [150] Another suggestion is to understand that Sychar was simply a place near the ancient cities of Shechem and Neapolis. For example, Eusebius (A.D. 260 to 340) says, “Sychar, before Neapolis near the country which Jacob gave to Joseph.” ( Onomasticon “Sychar”) (author’s translation). Eusebius then lists Sychem as a separate city ( Onomasticon “Sychem”). [151] Also, the Bordequx Pilgrim (A.D. 333-334) [152] make a distinction between these three cities. [153] Today, the exact location of Sychar is still debated.

[148] See PL 23 col. 1004A-B.

[149] C. W. Wilson, “Sychar,” in A Dictionary of the Bible, vol. 4, ed. James Hastings (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1911), 634.

[150] See PL 22 col. 888.

[151] Eusebii Pamphili Episcopi Caesariensis Onomasticon: Urbinum et Locorum Sacrae Scripturae, eds. F. Larsow and G. Parthey (Berolini: Aedibus Friderici Nicolae, 1862), 346.

[152] See “Itinerarium Burdigalense,” in Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Lationrum, vol. 39 (Lipsiae: G. Freytag, 1898), 19-20.

[153] C. W. Wilson, “Sychar,” in A Dictionary of the Bible, vol. 4, ed. James Hastings (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1911), 634.

“near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph” Comments - The closest reference we have to Jacob giving his son Joseph this parcel of ground is found in several verses in the book of Genesis. We read in Genesis 33:18-20 where Jacob bought a parcel of ground in Shechem from the children of Hamor for one hundred pieces of money.

Genesis 33:18-20, “And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padanaram; and pitched his tent before the city. And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for an hundred pieces of money. And he erected there an altar, and called it Elelohe-Israel.”

Joseph was given his inheritance in the Promised Land by Jacob, his father, while yet in Egypt. Jacob prophesied of this place that he had given to Joseph before he died.

Genesis 48:22, “Moreover I have given to thee one portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow.”

Joseph's bones were buried in Shechem, which is now his children's inheritance:

Joshua 24:32, “And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.”

John 4:6 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.

John 4:7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.

John 4:7 “There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water” Comments - We many quickly read over John 4:7 because the developed world does not experience the daily toil of drawing water and carrying it to a distance home. This daily travail was a dominate part of ancient life. Even in African cultures today, women and children carry water, while the men often sit at home and do other things. This toil was necessary because the life of a village was sustained by such open wells.

When Jesus asked the Samaritan woman to draw some water for Him, or when He asked the servants at the wedding feast to fill six stone water pots, He was asking them to perform a labour of love so that God could in turn bless them.

John 4:7 “Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink” Comments - In John 4:7 Jesus asks the woman of Samaria for a drink of water. Obviously, Jesus had nothing by which to draw out this water to refresh Himself. In fact, the woman tells Jesus in John 4:11 that He had nothing to draw water with. Perhaps this is the reason Jesus sat at the well, knowing that someone would come to draw water. Therefore, Jesus had a physical need and she had a spiritual need. In order to meet her need, Jesus asked for a drink of water so that she might be able to give what little affection she had to God. In return, God could pour out His divine love into her life. Jesus was attempting to get her to reach out in love so that He could return that love and meet her need of salvation. It is the same principle that we find when Elijah asked the widow to bake him a little cake first. Note these insightful words from Frances J. Roberts:

“’Give and ye shall receive’ is a spiritual law that holds true as much between thyself and God as between man and his fellowman. Even more so, for this is a higher plane of operation. Learn it on the highest plane, and it will become simple and automatic at the human level. Even as I said to the woman at the well (knowing her need of true satisfaction) ‘Give Me a drink’, so I say to you, Give Me a portion of the love ye have even though it be limited and natural, and I will give you My love in return. Love that is infinite. Love that is abounding. Love that will gush forth from thy life to refresh others. Give Me just a cupful of your limited affection. I long for it. I weep for it as I wept for the love of Jerusalem. I will pour out upon you such love as ye have never known. Love that will flood your whole being with such satisfaction as ye never dreamed possible to experience except in Heaven. Lo, I beg of thee, ‘Give Me a drink;. Or in the language of Elijah, ‘Bake me a little cake first’, and thou wilt never lack for meal and oil.” [154]

[154] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King’s Farspan, Inc., 1973), 45-6.

John 4:8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)

John 4:9 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.

John 4:9 Comments - The Jews looked down upon the Samaritans, as seen within the comments made by the Jews when they called Jesus as Samaritan (John 8:48). Extra-biblical literature confirmed this Jewish mindset. The Babylonian Talmud reads, “The daughters of the Samaritans are considered unclean (as women suffering from their menstruation) from the day of their birth.” (tract Sabbath, appendix) (see also Palestinian Talmud, Niddah 31b) [155] It also says, “…and the women of the Samaritans, the deadliest enemies of the Jews, unclean (in order to prevent their employment as servants by Jews)…” (tract Sabbath, appendix) [156] The fact that Jesus drank from the same vessel a Samaritan was an act considered by the Jews as defilement. The Mishnah says, “He who eats bread baked by Samaritans is like one who eats the flesh of a pig.” ( Shebi’it John 8:10) [157]

[155] Michael L. Rodkinson, New Edition of the Babylonian Talmud, vol. 2 (Boston: New Talmud Publishing Company, 1896), 383.

[156] Michael L. Rodkinson, New Edition of the Babylonian Talmud, vol. 2 (Boston: New Talmud Publishing Company, 1896), 387.

[157] Michael H. Burer, “Narrative Genre,” in Interpreting the New Testament Text, eds. Darrell L. Bock and Buist M. Fanning (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2006), 202.

John 8:48, “Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?”

John 4:10 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.

John 4:10 Comments - The “living water” is a symbolic reference to the Holy Spirit, which is referred to in verse 13-14. It literally refers to fresh, pure, moving water. It was water from a spring that had not been touched with pollutants. Note this same phrase used by Jeremiah

Jeremiah 2:13, “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters , and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”

Note how Jesus uses this phrase again.

John 7:38, “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water .”

John 4:11 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?

John 4:11 Comments - In nature, living water is that water which flows from fresh springs, giving oxygen and life to otherwise stagnant and dead water. The water in this well would be stale and stagnant compared to the fresh, cool spring waters flowing from the mountains.

John 4:12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?

John 4:12 Comments - Note that the Samaritan woman was a religious woman. She believed the Bible. She just had no strength to live what was a deep conviction in her heart, as many people do today. They are bound in sin, although they have heard the Gospel and believe that its message is true.

John 4:13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:

John 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 be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

John 4:13-14 Comments The Holy Spirit - In John 4:13-14 Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit in the act of regeneration unto salvation. Later, in John 7:37-39, we see Jesus referring to the office of the Holy Spirit in the act of filling the believer in the baptism of the Holy Spirit, as fulfilled in Acts 2:4.

John 7:37-39, “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”

Acts 2:4, “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

Scripture Reference - Note a similar passage in Isaiah:

Isaiah 44:3, “For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:”

John 4:15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.

John 4:15 Comments - Had Jesus been testifying like this in Judea, the Pharisees would have been arguing with Him. In contrast, the Samaritan woman believed His Word.

John 4:16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.

John 4:16 Comments - In order for Jesus to give her this “living water,” He first had to bring her to a place of confession and repentance of her sins.

John 4:17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband:

John 4:18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.

John 4:19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.

John 4:19 “Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet” - Comments - She had a gradual recognition of who Jesus Christ really is.

John 4:20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.

John 4:20 Comments - F. F. Bruce tells us that when the Jews returned from the Babylonian Captivity of 587 B. C., the Samaritans who had lived in the land of Palestine offered to join them in rebuilding the Temple and its worship. The Jews turned them down in an effort to keep themselves pure. As a result, in 400 B.C. the Samaritans built their own temple on Mount Gerizim, near the ancient sanctuary of Shechem. Although the Jews condemned this form of worship outside of Jerusalem, although the Samaritans were worshippers of Jehovah. It is this place that the woman of Samaria is referring to in her discussion with the Lord Jesus. [158]

[158] F. F. Bruce, The Books and the Parchments (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1963), 126.

John 4:21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.

John 4:22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

John 4:22 “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship” - Comments - Jesus used the word “ye” to refer to the Samaritans. He used the word “we” to refer to the Jews, as evidenced by the following phrase, “for salvation is of the Jews”.

John 4:22 “for salvation is of the Jews” Comments - God’s plan of salvation for mankind is fulfilled through the nation of Israel; the Gentile have simply been grafted into their redemptive plan. Paul will expound upon God’s plan of redemption for Israel in Romans 9-11. These chapters in Paul’s epistle will explain how the Church has been grafted into God’s plan for Israel. In other words, the Church has not been given a separate plan, but rather grafted into Israel redemptive plan.

John 4:23 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.

John 4:23 Comments - Jesus went to Calvary so that we could worship the Father from our hearts, and not just in outward ceremony. The Jews had long served and worshiped God by their traditions and ceremonies. Under the new covenant, men are born again in their spirit, and it is by their spirit they worship and serve the Lord.

True worship is to worship God from the heart in the midst of trials, when we cannot see His full glory, but in faith we believe His glory to be the truth.

We worship God in spirit from our hearts. We worship God in truth when we cannot see Him, but believe in His glorious majesty by faith in the midst of the darkness on this earth.

John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

John 4:24 Comments - In Philippians 3:3-6, Paul contrasts worshipping God in spirit to how he used to worship and serve God in the flesh.

Philippians 3:3-6, “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.”

John 4:21-24 Comments The Order of Worship was Changing - Kenneth Hagin teaches on John 4:21-24 by saying that Jesus was trying to explain to the Samaritan woman that the order of worship was changing. He says that the Lord spoke to him saying, “Really, in so many words, she asked me, ‘Who is right? The Samarians or the Jews?’ And in so many words, I answered her, ‘Neither is right. Because the time is coming and now is, that they that worship God must worship Him in Spirit and in truth.’” [159] Under the Old Covenant, the Jews had to travel to Jerusalem in order to worship simply because they did not have the Holy Spirit within them. However, in this new age where the Holy Spirit dwells inside each believer, we are able to worship God in any place.

[159] Kenneth Hagin, Plans Purposes and Pursuits (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c1988, 1993), 79.

John 4:25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.

John 4:25 “I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ” - Comments - She had some faith in God and in His Word.

John 4:25 Comments The Jewish teaching of the coming of the Messiah was deeply ingrained in the mind and hearts of the people of Palestine during the first century. Roman domination drove them to cry out for their Deliverer. Thus, we see the Samaritan woman quickly and freely bringing up this issue to Jesus.

John 4:26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

John 4:26 Comments - This is Jesus’ revelation to her of being the Messiah.

John 4:27 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?

John 4:27 Comments - It was inappropriate for rabbis to talk to strange women in public. Just like ministers today are careful who they associate themselves with, lest they be accused of inappropriate conduct, so it was in the time of Jesus.

John 4:28 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men,

John 4:29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?

John 4:29 “is not this the Christ” - Comments These words was her testimony of Christ’s true identity (John 4:39).

John 4:39, “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.”

John 4:30 Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.

John 4:31 In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.

John 4:32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.

John 4:32 Comments - I have seen my wife so caught up in witnessing to someone that she lost her appetite for the rest of the day. It is as if the Word of God fed her spirit and made her full.

John 4:33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat?

John 4:34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

John 4:34 Comments In this second subsection of John’s Gospel (John 2:12 to John 4:54) located within the third major section testifying of the miracles of Jesus Christ (John 2:1 to John 11:54), Jesus’ teachings emphasize His calling to do the will of the Father, which is to declare to the world His divinity and to prepare His disciples to do the same because the harvest field is ready for harvest.

John 4:35 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.

John 4:35 “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest” Comments - The phrase “four months” was probably used figuratively in John 4:35 to represent the time it generally takes from sowing to reaping a crop, rather than as a reference to the particular month of the year in which Jesus met the Samaritan woman. Thus, He may have been quoting a Jewish phrase. In fact, Jesus will refer to the process of sowing and reaping in the next verse. After a farmer sows the grain, he had to wait around four months before harvest time. Thus, Jesus is emphasizing the fact that the harvest time for men’s souls is here with the coming of the Kingdom of God. This harvest time is still with us as long as the Great Commission is in effect.

John 4:35 “behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” Comments - After referring to the period of harvest in this region of the Middle East, Jesus then explains that the harvest time has arrived. He will justify this statement in the following verses by saying that the sowers have already been in the fields.

Jesus told His disciples to lift up their eyes and look upon the harvest while the people of the city were making their way out to the well to see this person the woman told them about. Jesus saw it as a harvest ready to be reaped.

Mike Francen, a world-wide evangelist, sees God’s call, His vision, and a challenge contained to us within this verse.

1. Behold, I say unto you (The Call),

2. Life up your eyes and look at the fields (The Vision),

3. For they are already white for harvest (The Challenge). [160]

[160] Mike Francen (World Outreach Ministries, Tulsa, OK), interviewed by Benny Hinn, This is Your Day (Irving, Texas), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program, October 2000.

John 4:35 Comments - Jesus tells us two thousand years ago that the fields are white unto harvest. My observation in the mission field is to see that the multitudes are generally open to the proclamation of the Gospel. We see this in Jesus’ Galilean ministry as the multitudes came out to hear Him and to be healed. But, it is generally the leaders of a society that put up the most resistance. Again, we find such resistance from the Jewish leaders in Jesus’ Judean ministry.

I am beginning to actually see a harvest field out there. People are hurting and in bondage, even those who have been in church for decades, bound by sickness, poverty, etc. I can see it in their eyes, their countenance, and in their hopelessness.

John 4:36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.

John 4:36 Comments - The prophets of old had laboured, and so had John the Baptist, in proclaiming the coming of the Messiah. The heart of the Samaritan was expecting him, as well as the entire Samaritan city. Thus, Jesus was reaping where others had sown.

John 4:37 And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.

John 4:37 Comments - Reinhard Bonnke has experienced some of the largest assemblies during his evangelist crusades in the history of the world. The largest of these meetings having taken place in Lagos, Nigeria, where millions of people are in attendance at a single crusade. He once asked the Lord why he was privileged to preach to so many people. The Lord replied that he was simply reaping the harvest from the seeds that were planted by the blood of past missionaries and martyrs. [161]

[161] Reinhard Bonnke, interviewed by Benny Hinn, This is Your Day (Irving, Texas), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California, October 2000), television program.

John 4:38 I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.

John 4:38 Comments In John 4:34-38 Jesus testifies of His divine calling in that He was to do the will of the Father who sent Him (John 4:34). In John 4:35-38, Jesus adds that He now sends His disciples to reap a harvest that they had not sown. Thus, He also gives His disciples the divine calling to take the Gospel to the nations, which is the divine commission of the New Testament Church.

Those servants of God who labour to harvest souls realize that God has sown the seed of His Word of redemption into the hearts and lives of men, such as is testified by the woman of Samaria when she said, “I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.” The Word of redemption has been going forth since the time of creation (Psalms 19:1-14, Romans 1:18-32); but now is the time when God’s grace is poured forth through the preaching of the Gospel. John the Baptist was a sower of God’s Word into the people of Palestine, and prior to him were the Old Testament prophets. Even the scribes and teachers in the synagogues were sowing God’s Word into the hearts of the Jews and Jewish proselytes. Jesus is telling His disciples that He is preparing them to go forth and harvest this seed through the preaching of the Gospel.

Illustration In an agricultural society, the sower would carefully watch over his seed and earnestly wait for the harvest, a harvest that belonged to him alone. The idea of someone coming and harvesting the field of the sower is uncharacteristic of behavior in an agricultural society. However, it is characteristic of the Kingdom of Heaven in that the seasons of sowing are perpetual and unending, commingling with the seasons of reaping. The fields must be harvested as the sowing continues to sow. Perhaps this reflects Amos 9:13, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.”

John 4:39 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.

John 4:39 Comments - Jesus witnessed to one person and led an entire city to conversion.

John 4:40 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.

John 4:41 And many more believed because of his own word;

John 4:41 Comments - The text of John 4:41 implies that Jesus did spend time ministering to the people of the city during the two days that he abode with them. No doubt, there were signs and miracles wrought among the people.

John 4:42 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.

John 4:42 Comments The emphasis of Jesus’ divine calling as the Saviour of the World is seen in the testimony of the Samaritan woman in John 4:42.

Verses 1-54

The Second Miracle (Calling) (Jesus Testifies of His Calling by Being Sent from Heaven) The second feast and its affiliated miracle of healing the nobleman’s son in John 2:12 to John 4:54 emphasizes Jesus’ divine calling as the Saviour of the world, as He testifies to the Jews (John 2:13 to John 3:21), and to non-Jews, the Samaritans (John 4:1-42), and a Gentile nobleman in Galilee (John 4:43-54), that He has been send by God as the Saviour, with John the Baptist giving his final testimony of God sending His Son to bring everlasting life to men (John 3:22-36). [138]

[138] Andreas Kösterberger says, “The overall intent of 1:19-4:54 seems to be to present the initiation of Jesus’ self-disclosure and its reception among various types of groups and individuals.” See Andreas J. Kösterberger, John, in Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2004), 53.

The events surrounding the first of three Passover recorded in John 2:12 to John 4:54 led to a number of testimonies that revealed the divine calling of Jesus Christ, who was sent by God; for Nicodemus begins his dialogue with Jesus saying, “Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.” (John 3:2) This section reveals how God the Father sent His Son from heaven to earth to redeem those would put their faith in Jesus. These testimonies reveal various aspects of Jesus’ divine calling from the Father to make atonement for the sins of the world: He testifies to the Jews in the Temple of His bodily death and resurrection (John 2:12-22); He testifies to Nicodemus of man’s need to believe that God sent His only begotten Son into the world (John 3:1-21); John the Baptist confirms Jesus’ testimony of man’s need to believe in the Son who has been sent by God (John 3:22-36); Jesus testifies to the Samaritan woman that He is the Messiah that is to come and to His disciples that He has come to do the Father’s will (John 4:1-42); He heals the nobleman’s son as a testimony of His call to redeem all of mankind (John 4:46-54). In other words, this section testifies that Jesus called all three major ethnic groups that lived in Palestine during His ministry. It is through Christ being sent from Heaven that we all have been called to believe in Him as the promised Messiah, both Jews and Gentiles.

Outline - Here is a suggested outline:

1. Jesus’ Testimony to the Jews of His Divine Calling John 2:12 to John 3:21

2. John the Baptist’s Final Testimony of His Divine Calling John 3:22-36

Verses 43-54

The Galileans Respond to His Calling - In John 4:43-54 we have the testimony of the people of Galilee. The author tells us how the Galileans received Jesus’ ministry (John 4:43-45). Then the author follows this statement with an illustration of the healing of the nobleman’s son in Cana of Galilee (John 4:46-54). Thus, these opening verses give us the setting and reason behind the miracle of the healing of the nobleman’s son, just as John 4:1-3 serves an introductory statements for the story of the Samaritan Woman.

In verse 44, Jesus says that a prophet has no honour in his own country. Why did Jesus make such a statement: because He knew the hearts of the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and, thus, had to depart from Judea (John 4:1-3), and Jesus said it because He was about to work a second miracle here in the region of Galilee, which was ethnically no longer a part of the Jewish nation as was Judea. The first miracle took place in Cana of Galilee where Jesus turned the water to wine. The second miracle is in this passage, where he healed the son of a nobleman, also in Cana. Jesus performed a miracle because He knew that except they see signs and wonders, they will not believe (verse 48). Therefore, Jesus came and performed miracles in Galilee so that many would believe in Him.

We see in this passage of Scripture that Jesus goes into Galilee (verse 43). This was the region where Jesus was raised from a child. Jesus says here that a prophet is not accepted in his own native place (verse 44). Jesus was referring to His rejection by those in Galilee. Because of his rejection in Cana, He had performed only one miracle in Galilee, when He turned the water to wine (verse 46). Jesus had performed many miracles while in Jerusalem (verse 45), and some of those of Galilee did receive Him.

Therefore, the purpose of this passage is to show the second miracle that Jesus performed in Galilee (verse 54). This passage in the Gospel of John clearly illustrates an underlying theme, which is the fact that Jesus came unto His own, and His own received Him not (John 1:11).

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. The Galileans Accept Jesus John 4:43-45

2. The Second Miracle (Healing of a Gentile) John 4:46-54

John 4:43-45 The Galileans Respond to His Calling John 4:43-45 tells us of how the Gentiles widely accepted the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. This passage is followed by the example of one Gentile being healed by Jesus Christ (John 4:46-54).

Just as the story of the Samaritan woman opens with a reference to Jesus’ rejection by the Jews (John 4:1-3), so does the story of the healing of the nobleman’s son open with a similar statement. For we read in John 4:44 Jesus declared that a prophet has no honor in His own country and that He was accepted by the Gentiles (John 4:45).

John 4:43 Now after two days he departed thence, and went into Galilee.

John 4:44 For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country.

John 4:44 Comments - The declaration by Jesus Christ that a prophet is not accepted in his own country is recorded in the all four Gospels (Matthew 13:57, Mark 6:4, Luke 4:24, John 4:44). While the Synoptic Gospels place this statement within the story of Jesus’ rejection in His home town of Nazareth (Matthew 13:53-58, Mark 6:1-6, Luke 4:16-30), John alone records this declaration of Jesus within the context of His testimony to the Jews in Judea of His call as the Saviour of the world.

Matthew 13:57, “And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.”

Mark 6:4, “But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.”

Luke 4:24, “And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.”

Those family and friends who had grown up with Jesus and lived with Him had a difficult time accepting Him as the Messiah, while the rest of Galilee received Him gladly. Andrew Wommack quotes this proverb, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” [162] In other words, when we become too familiar with someone, we generally are less likely to praise his gifts, and more likely to condemn his weaknesses. Although Jesus Christ had not faults, no sin, He was fully human. Those who became familiar with His humanity had a difficult time embracing His deity. The writings of the New Testament reveal that Paul the apostle had a greater revelation of who Jesus Christ was than did the Twelve who walked with Him for three and a half years. This is because Paul only knew Jesus as the Resurrected Christ. He did not have to lay aside his experience of walking with Jesus as flesh and blood. It is easier for us to understand the revelation of the deity of Jesus Christ than it was for those who walked with Him on earth because we can only view Him by the Word of God through the revelation of the Holy Spirit. Thus, Jesus said, “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:29) There is a greater blessing in believing for those who have not seen Him because it is easier to take hold of the Word of God through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.

[162] Andrew Wommack, “Familiarity Breeds Contempt,” in One Year With Jesus: February 16 th , [on-line]; accessed 17 February 2012; available from; Internet.

John 4:45 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.

John 4:45 Comments - The feast mentioned in John 4:45 refers back to the first Passover mentioned in John 2:13 because it is within the thematic section of John 2:12 to John 4:54 that testifies of Jesus calling all men to believe in Him.

John 2:13, “And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,”

John 4:46-54 The Second Healing: The Testimony of Justification Through Faith in Jesus Christ (The Healing of the Nobleman’s Son) (Matthew 8:5-13 , Luke 7:1-10 ) John 4:46-54 tells us the story of Jesus healing the nobleman’s son. This is the second healing testimony that John records in his Gospel. This story serves as a testimony of the acceptance by the Gentiles of Jesus’ ministry. More importantly, this miracle testifies of the aspect of our spiritual journey called justification through faith in Christ. This is why Jesus says unless they see signs and wonders, they would not believe in Him (John 4:47), and why this passage of Scripture says that the man and his whole believed once they realized it was a miracle (John 4:53).

John 4:46 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.

John 4:47 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.

John 4:47 Comments - Jesus is asked by the nobleman to “come down” from Cana to Capernaum because Cana was located in the hill country west of the Sea of Galilee, while Capernaum was situated alone the lake’s shore.

John 4:48 Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.

John 4:48 Comments - Jesus Christ knew every man’s heart. He understood that this nobleman would not believe in Him unless Jesus performed a miracle. This is exactly what Jesus did so that this man would believe; for when the man understood that his son was healed the very same hour that Jesus told him to go his way, he and his whole house believed

John 4:49 The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die.

John 4:50 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.

John 4:51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth.

John 4:52 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.

John 4:53 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.

John 4:53 Comments - Within each of the six feast sections is found a miracle that testifies of Jesus’ deity. We find six of these miracles ending with a statement that many believed in Him because of these miracles (John 2:11; John 4:53; John 5:15; John 6:14; John 9:38; John 11:45). The seventh miracle ends with a similar statement (John 20:29).

John 4:54 This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee.

John 4:54 Comments - Jesus Christ had wrought many other miracles in Jerusalem prior to this visit to Galilee (John 2:23), but this is the second miracle that He did in Galilee.

John 2:23, “Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.”

Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.
Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on John 4". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.