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Friday, September 29th, 2023
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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Bible Commentaries
John 4

Hawker's Poor Man's CommentaryPoor Man's Commentary

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Verse 1


Christ discourseth with a Woman of Samaria. He visits the Samaritans. Many believe on him. He healeth a Nobleman's Son.

Verses 1-3

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 Judea, and departed again into Galilee.

I pause at these verses, just to remark what appears to me highly proper to be noticed. Jesus himself baptized not. Was it not, (I ask the question, but do not decide,) because that this was the peculiar office of God the Holy Ghost? Had Christ baptized, surely it would not have been (as all his servants are confined to) water baptism only. The question is of moment. I leave it with the Reader.

Verses 4-42

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 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 water-pot, 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.

Were I to enter into a full comment upon this interesting interview of Christ with this woman of Samaria, it would fill very many pages; and after all I should leave unnoticed, as all Commentators gone before have done, numberless precious things contained in it. I must therefore pass over the consideration of what is generally brought forward by our Lord, to the Reader's own observation; praying, and hoping, that God the Holy Ghost will sweetly open the whole, and bring home our Lord's words to his heart, as he did to the woman of Samaria, and many of her countrymen; and render his own most blessed discourse profitable, by his own most gracious power. Some few of the more prominent features contained in this sermon of Jesus, I beg the Reader to remark with me; and may the Lord write them on our hearts. And, first: it is not the least subject of moment to observe, the needs be, which is said for Jesus going through Samaria. It is true indeed that if Christ was going into Galilee, (see John 4:43 ,) as he now came out of Judaea, he could go no other way. But it doth not follow, that there was a necessity that he should go at that time into Galilee. But whatever other causes there might be to this constraint, the conversion of this woman to the faith of Christ, and certain of her countrymen also, became sufficient cause. This was the time, the place, the manner, the method, and the whole train of events, linked in the chain with it; which, from all eternity had been marked for Christ's calling to himself this woman, and other Samaritans, who were effectually wrought upon, to the knowledge and belief of Jesus. Reader! what a sweet thought is it, that all things are arranged with infinite wisdom, for all the purposes of Christ's Church and people, in the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God. What the world calls chance, and accident; the believer cannot admit in his creed. Everything, from the numbering of the hairs of, our head, to the bringing home the Church to glory, is arranged, ordered, and appointed; and to a minuteness, which nothing can counteract, by the stratagem of men, or devils. Daniel 4:35 ; Romans 11:36 .

The conversation which took place at the well, between Jesus and this woman, I pray the Reader to observe, began with our Lord. Yes! all the overtures of grace come first from the Lord. 1 John 4:19 . But what wonderful discoveries the Lord made to her of herself. He unrips her very heart, and lays open to her, some of her most secret sins. He next reveals to her himself, and sweetly inclines her affection to feel her want of him, and to incline her heart to desire him. And so earnest was she when once these great things were done for her, that every poor sinner like herself should be made a partaker of such free rich mercy; that she forgot her errand at the well, left her water pot there, and ran to the city, with a pressing invitation to her countrymen to come and see Jesus! Reader! depend upon it, that such effects as this woman felt, will be, in the instance of every poor sinner, whom the Lord by his Spirit, hath convinced of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. Those two grand points, are always joined together. In the same moment that God the Holy Ghost humbles the soul for sin; he leads that soul to feel the need of a Savior. So that self-abhorrence, and Christ exalted, will always go together. I must not enlarge: but before I quit this most important view of the subject, I entreat the Reader for his further conviction on this point, to read the certain truth of it, in the lives of holy men of old. What said Job, when he had seen God in Christ. Behold I am vile, (said he,) what shall I answer thee: I will lay my hand upon my mouth! Job 40:4 . See also Job 42:5-6 . What said Isaiah, after he had been admitted to a view of that glorious vision, of the glory of Christ: Woe is me, (said he,) I am undone; for I am a man of unclean lips; mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Isaiah 6:1-5 , compared with John 12:41 . What said David, Psalms 143:2 . What said Paul, Romans 7:23-24 . Reader! such will the best of men say, when once the Holy Ghost hath opened to their view their own vileness, and the Lord's holiness!

And, Reader! do allow me to lead you into an enquiry, before you quit the subject; that you may ask your own heart, whether

you have met the Lord God of the Hebrews, as this woman did, and he hath made similar discoveries to your conscience, as he did to hers. Have you seen sin, exceeding sinful? Have you seen Christ exceeding precious? Hath Jesus truly discoursed with you by his Spirit: and have you with Him by faith? If you have met with Christ in this most blessed saving way, then do you know him as he is: the Christ of God, the Sent of God, and One with God; so that you can truly say with holy men of old, We believe, and are sure, that thou art Christ the Son of the living God! John 6:69 . Nothing short of this knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and this knowledge of yourself, can enable you to do as this woman did; believe on him for yourself, and commend him to others. Oh! for grace, in this Christ-despising day, and generation, so to know the Lord, and so to believe in him, for life and salvation, that like this woman, we may be able to invite others from heart-felt joy; and like the Samaritans under the same heart-felt conviction, to say: Now we believe, not because of the saying of another, but from having heard him ourselves; and know that He is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world!

Verses 43-54

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 Galileans 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 Judea 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, saving, 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 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 Judea into Galilee.

The departure of Jesus into Galilee, it should seem, was not because of the little honor paid him; for the Lord was prepared for all this: Isaiah 53:1 , etc. but for the manifestation of this act of grace, in healing a son's bodily infirmity, and giving comfort to a father's mind. And who shall say, what effects beside were wrought in the family and neighbourhood, by such a manifestation of Christ's power? The distance from Capernaum to Galilee, could not have been less, at the nearest extremity of both towns, to each other, than fourteen or fifteen miles. For Jesus therefore to have wrought this cure of the sick child, and that the hour in which the Lord bid the father go his way, his child was then healed, should exactly correspond as the father afterwards found, on enquiry to the time the child's fever left him; was in his view, such a proof of Christ's Godhead, as under the Lord's grace, ended in a conviction to the faith of the Lord Jesus. Reader! if our inattentive hearts were but more alive to such events as pass and repass in the present hour, in proof of the same in Christ's words; we should be not unfrequently overwhelmed, with the continued evidences. Isaiah 61:0 ; Luke 4:18-19 .

Verse 54


Reader! we have reason to believe, that the history of this woman of Samaria, handed down as it is, and hath been for ages past in the Church of God, hath been blessed to thousands. And what encouragement, indeed, doth such a record of grace hold forth, to poor sinners? Think how gracious the Lord dealt with this poor adulteress? How blessedly the view holds up Christ, to our love and adoration? Do not overlook what the Lord Jesus said to her as the sad cause Christ is so little regarded, and God's love in Christ so little known. Men do not know the gift of God. They have no apprehension that Christ is the remedy of God's own providing, for the wants of sinners. They neither know Christ in his Person, work, character, offices, and relationship to his Church; neither God's love in the free and full gift, he hath made of him, to the Church. But when God the Holy Ghost, as in the case of this poor woman, opens to the sinner's view, who Christ is, both in himself; and in the gift of his Father; the heart and affections are won: and the soul's thirst for Christ is excited by the same power, and as blessedly assaged, in the knowledge and love of him. With the heart, (saith the Apostle) man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation!

Methinks I could long for parents, and all that are interested in the temporal and everlasting interests of children, to do as this nobleman did; hasten to Christ, for their little ones. Behold! what a sweet miracle is here held forth, for the encouragement of all such. But how blessedly doth it preach to the believing parents of soul-sick children! Dearest Lord Jesus! did thy people but know thee more; how would thy courts be thronged, from day to day, in sending in petitions to the king! Lord, be it my portion, not to wait for signs and wonders; but faithfully to believe in thee, and all thy gracious promises, to the salvation of my soul!

Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on John 4". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pmc/john-4.html. 1828.
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