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

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New TestamentRobertson's Word Pictures

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Verse 1

When therefore (Hως ουν). Reference to John 3:22. the work of the Baptist and the jealousy of his disciples. Ουν is very common in John's Gospel in such transitions.

The Lord (ο Κυριος). So the best manuscripts (Neutral Alexandrian), though the Western class has ο Ιησους. Mark usually has ο Ιησους and Luke often ο Κυριος. In the narrative portion of John we have usually ο Ιησους, but ο Κυριος in five passages (John 4:1; John 6:23; John 11:2; John 20:20; John 21:12). There is no reason why John should not apply ο Κυριος to Jesus in the narrative sections as well as Luke. Bernard argues that these are "explanatory glosses," not in the first draft of the Gospel. But why? When John wrote his Gospel he certainly held Jesus to be Κυριος (Lord) as Luke did earlier when he wrote both Gospel and Acts This is hypercriticism.

Knew (εγνω). Second aorist active indicative of γινωσκω. The Pharisees knew this obvious fact. It was easy for Jesus to know the attitude of the Pharisees about it (John 2:24). Already the Pharisees are suspicious of Jesus.

How that (οτ). Declarative οτ (indirect assertion).

Was making and baptizing more disciples than John (πλειονας μαθητας ποιε κα βαπτιζε η Ιωανης). Present active indicative in both verbs retained in indirect discourse. Recall the tremendous success of John's early ministry (Mark 1:5; Matthew 3:5; Luke 3:7; Luke 3:15) in order to see the significance of this statement that Jesus had forged ahead of him in popular favour. Already the Pharisees had turned violently against John who had called them broods of vipers. It is most likely that they drew John out about the marriage of Herod Antipas and got him involved directly with the tetrarch so as to have him cast into prison (Luke 3:19). Josephus (Ant. XVIII. v. 2) gives a public reason for this act of Herod Antipas, the fear that John would "raise a rebellion," probably the public reason for his private vengeance as given by Luke. Apparently John was cast into prison, though recently still free (John 3:24), before Jesus left for Galilee. The Pharisees, with John out of the way, turn to Jesus with envy and hate.

Verse 2

Although Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples (καιτοιγε Ιησους αυτος ουκ εβαπτιζεν αλλ' ο μαθητα αυτου). Parenthetical explanation that applies also to John 3:22. Imperfect tense means that it was not the habit of Jesus. This is the only N.T. instance of καιτοιγε (and yet indeed), compound conjunction (καιτο in Acts 14:17; Hebrews 4:3) with intensive particle γε added. This is the last mention of baptism under the direction of Jesus till the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19). It is possible that Jesus stopped the baptizing because of the excitement and the issue raised about his Messianic claims till after his resurrection when he enjoined it upon his disciples as a rite of public enlistment in his service.

Verse 3

Left Judea (αφηκεν την Ιουδαιαν). Unusual use of αφιημ. First (Καππα) aorist active indicative. Originally the word means to send away, to dismiss, to forsake, to forgive, to allow. Jesus uses it in this sense in John 16:28. Evidently because Jesus did not wish to bring the coming conflict with the Pharisees to an issue yet. So he mainly avoids Jerusalem and Judea now till the end. Each time hereafter that Jesus appears in Jerusalem and Judea before the last visit there is an open breach with the Pharisees who attack him (John 5:1-47; John 7:14-10; John 10:22-42; John 11:17-53).

Again into Galilee (παλιν εις την Γαλιλαιαν). Reference to John 2:1-12. The Synoptics tell nothing of this early work in Perea (John 1:19-51), Galilee, or Judea (John 2:13-4). John supplements their records purposely.

Verse 4

He must needs pass through Samaria (Εδε δε αυτον διερχεσθα δια της Σαμαριας). Imperfect indicative of the impersonal verb δε with subject infinitive (διερχεσθα) and accusative of general reference (αυτον). Note repetition of δια. It was only necessary to pass through Samaria in going directly north from Judea to Galilee. In coming south from Galilee travellers usually crossed over the Jordan and came down through Perea to avoid the hostility of the Samaritans towards people who passed through their land to go to Jerusalem. Jesus once met this bitterness on going to the feast of tabernacles (Luke 9:51-56).

Verse 5

So he cometh (ερχετα ουν). Vivid present middle indicative and transitional ουν.

Sychar (Συχαρ). There is a dispute whether this is just a variation of Shechem as meaning "drunken-town" (Isaiah 28:1) or "lying-town" (Habakkuk 2:18) or is a separate village near Shechem (Neapolis, Nablous) as the Talmud and Eusebius indicate. Apparently the present village Askar corresponds well with the site. The use of πολιν (city) does not mean that it was a large town. Mark and John use it freely for small places.

Parcel of ground (χωριου). Old use of this diminutive of χωρος or χωρα, a piece of ground.

That Jacob gave to his son Joseph (ο εδωκεν Ιακωβ τω Ιωσηφ τω υιω αυτου). See Genesis 33:19; Genesis 48:22. Relative ο is not attracted to case of χωριου. First aorist active indicative εδωκεν.

Verse 6

Jacob's well (πηγη του Ιακωβ). "A spring of Jacob" (here and verse John 4:14), but φρεαρ (well, pit, cistern) in verses John 4:11; John 4:12. It is really a cistern 100 feet deep dug by a stranger apparently in a land of abundant springs (Genesis 26:19).

Wearied (κεκοπιακως). Perfect active participle of κοπιαω, a state of weariness. The verb means to toil excessively (Luke 5:5). John emphasizes the human emotions of Jesus (John 1:14; John 11:3; John 11:33; John 11:35; John 11:38; John 11:41; John 12:27; John 13:21; John 19:28).

With his journey (εκ της οδοιποριας). As a result (εκ) of the journey. Old compound word from οδοπορος (wayfarer), in N.T. only here and 2 Corinthians 11:26.

Sat (εκαθεζετο). Imperfect (descriptive) middle of καθεζομα, "was sitting."

Thus (ουτως). Probably "thus wearied," graphic picture.

By the well (επ τη πηγη). Literally, "upon the curbstone of the well."

Sixth hour (ως εκτη). Roman time, about 6 P.M., the usual time for drawing water.

Verse 7

There cometh (ερχετα). Vivid historical present as in verse John 4:5.

A woman of Samaria (γυνη εκ της Σαμαριας). The country, not the city which was two hours away.

To draw water (αντλησα υδωρ). First aorist active infinitive of purpose of αντλεω for which see John 2:8. Cf. Rebecca in Genesis 24:11; Genesis 24:17.

Give me to drink (δος μο πειν). Second aorist active imperative of διδωμ and second aorist active infinitive (object of δος) of πινω, shortened form of πιειν. A polite request.

Verse 8

For (γαρ). Explanation of the reason for asking her.

Were gone away (απεληλυθεισαν). Past perfect of απερχομα, to go off. They had already gone before she came. To Sychar (John 4:5; John 4:39).

To buy food (ινα τροφας αγορασωσιν). Hινα in purpose clause with first aorist active subjunctive of αγοραζω, old verb from αγορα (marketplace). See Matthew 21:12. Τροφη (nourishment) is old word from τρεφω, to nourish (Matthew 3:4). "Victuals" (plural).

Verse 9

The Samaritan woman (η γυνη η Σαμαρειτις). Different idiom from that in John 4:7, "the woman the Samaritan." The Samaritans were a mixture by intermarriage of the Jews left in the land (2 Chronicles 30:6; 2 Chronicles 30:10; 2 Chronicles 34:9) with colonists from Babylon and other regions sent by Shalmaneser. They had had a temple of their own on Mt. Gerizim and still worshipped there.

Thou being a Jew (συ Ιουδαιος ων). Race antipathy was all the keener because the Samaritans were half Jews.

Drink (πειν). Same infinitive form as in John 4:7 and the object of αιτεις (askest).

Of me (παρ' εμου). "From me," ablative case with παρα.

For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans (ου γαρ συνχρωντα Ιουδαιο Σαμαρειταις). Explanatory (γαρ) parenthesis of the woman's astonishment. Associative instrumental case with συνχρωντα (present middle indicative of συνχραομα, compound in literary Koine, here only in N.T.). The woman's astonishment is ironical according to Bernard. At any rate the disciples had to buy food in a Samaritan village and they were travelling through Samaria. Perhaps she was surprised that Jesus would drink out of her waterpot. The Western class omit this explanatory parenthesis of the author.

Verse 10

Answered and said (απεκριθη κα ειπεν). As often (redundant) in John. The first aorist passive (απεκριθη) is deponent, no longer passive in sense.

If thou knewest (ε ηιδεις). Condition of second class, determined as unfulfilled, ε and past perfect ηιδεις (used as imperfect) in condition and αν and aorist active indicative in conclusion (αν ηιτησας κα αν εδωκεν, note repetition of αν, not always done).

The gift of God (την δωρεαν του θεου). Naturally the gift mentioned in John 3:16 (Westcott), the inexpressible gift (2 Corinthians 9:15). Some take it to refer to the living water below, but that is another allusion (metaphor) to John 3:16. See Ephesians 4:7 for Paul's use of both χαρις and δωρεα (from διδωμ, to give).

Who it is (τις εστιν). She only knew that he was a Jew. This Messianic self-consciousness of Jesus is plain in John, but it is early in the Synoptics also.

Living water (υδωρ ζων). Running water like a spring or well supplied by springs. This Jacob's Well was filled by water from rains percolating through, a sort of cistern, good water, but not equal to a real spring which was always preferred (Genesis 26:19; Leviticus 14:5; Numbers 19:17). Jesus, of course, is symbolically referring to himself as the Living Water though he does not say it in plain words as he does about the Living Bread (John 6:51). The phrase "the fountain of life" occurs in Proverbs 13:14. Jesus supplies the water of life (John 7:39). Cf. Revelation 7:17; Revelation 22:1.

Verse 11

Sir (Κυριε). So it has to mean here in the mouth of the Samaritan woman, not Lord.

Thou hast nothing to draw with and the well is deep (ουτε αντλημα εχεις κα το φρεαρ εστιν βαθυ). This broken construction of ουτε-κα (neither--and) occurs in N.T. elsewhere only in 3 John 1:10. Αντλημα (from αντλεω, to draw) is a late word for that which is drawn, then (Plutarch) for the act of drawing, and then for the rope as here to draw with. This well (φρεαρ) is 100 feet deep and Jesus had no rope. The bucket of skin ("with three cross sticks at the mouth to keep it open," Vincent) was kept at the well to be let down by a goat's hair rope.

That living water (το υδωρ το ζων). "The water the living," with the article referring to the language of Jesus in verse John 4:10. She is still thinking only of literal water.

Verse 12

Art thou (Μη συ ε). Expecting a negative answer.

Greater than our father Jacob (μειζων ε του πατρος ημων Ιακωβ). Ablative case πατρος after the comparative adjective μειζων (positive μεγας). The Samaritans claimed descent from Jacob through Joseph (tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh).

Cattle (θρεμματα). Old word from τρεφω, to nourish, nursling, child, flock, cattle. Only here in N.T.

Verse 13

Every one that drinketh (πας ο πινων). Present active articular participle with πας, parallel to the indefinite relative with the second aorist active subjunctive (ος αν πιη) in verse John 4:14. With this difference in the tenses used (πινων, keep on drinking, πιη, once for all). Note εκ and the ablative both times, out of the water. Jesus pointed to the well ("this water").

Verse 14

That I shall give him (ου εγω δωσω αυτω). Relative ου attracted to the case (genitive) of the antecedent (υδατος). Future active indicative of διδωμ.

Shall never thirst (ου μη διψησε εις τον αιονα). The double negative ου μη is used with either the future indicative as here or the aorist subjunctive, the strongest possible negative. See both constructions (ου μη πειναση and ου με διψησε) in John 6:35. Jesus has not answered the woman's question save by the necessary implication here that he is superior to Jacob.

A well of water springing up unto eternal life (πηγη υδατος αλλομενου εις ζωην αιωνιον). "Spring (or fountain) of water leaping (bubbling up) unto life eternal." Present middle participle of αλλομα, old verb, in N.T. only here and Acts 3:8; Acts 14:10. The woman's curiosity is keenly excited about this new kind of water.

Verse 15

Sir (Κυριε). Not yet "Lord" for her. See verse John 4:11.

This water (τουτο το υδωρ). This peculiar kind of water. She did not grasp the last phrase "unto life eternal," and speaks half ironically of "this water."

That I thirst not (ινα μη διψω). Final clause with ινα, alluding to the words of Jesus, water that will prevent thirst.

Neither come (μηδε διερχωμα). Carrying on the negative purpose with present middle subjunctive, "nor keep on coming" as she has to do once or twice every day. She is evidently puzzled and yet attracted.

Verse 16

Go, call thy husband (Hυπαγε φωνησον σου τον ανδρα). Two imperatives (present active, first aorist active). Had she started to leave after her perplexed reply? Her frequent trips to the well were partly for her husband. We may not have all the conversation preserved, but clearly Jesus by this sudden sharp turn gives the woman a conviction of sin and guilt without which she cannot understand his use of water as a metaphor for eternal life.

Verse 17

I have no husband (ουκ εχω ανδρα). The Greek ανηρ means either "man" or "husband." She had her "man," but he was not a legal "husband." Her language veils her deceit.

Thou saidst well (καλως ειπες). Jesus saw through the double sense of her language and read her heart as he only can do, a supernatural gift of which John often speaks (John 1:48; John 2:24; John 5:20).

For thou hast had five husbands (πεντε γαρ ανδρας εσχες). "For thou didst have five men." Second aorist (constative) active indicative of εχω.

Is not thy husband (ουκ εστιν σου ανηρ). In the full and legal sense of ανηρ, not a mere "man."

This hast thou said truly (τουτο αληθες ειρηκας). "This a true thing thou hast said." Note absence of article with αληθες (predicate accusative). Perfect active indicative ειρηκας here, not aorist ειπες (verse John 4:17).

Verse 19

Sir (Κυριε). So still.

I perceive (θεωρω). "I am beginning to perceive" from what you say, your knowledge of my private life (verse John 4:29). See John 2:23 for θεωρεω which John's Gospel has 23 times, of bodily sight (John 20:6; John 20:14), of mental contemplation (John 12:45; John 14:17). See both θεωρεω and οπτομα in John 1:51; John 16:16.

That thou art a prophet (οτ προφητης ε συ). "That a prophet art thou" (emphasis on "thou"). She felt that this was the explanation of his knowledge of her life and she wanted to change the subject at once to the outstanding theological dispute.

Verse 20

In this mountain (εν τω ορε τουτω). Jacob's Well is at the foot of Mount Gerizim toward which she pointed. Sanballat erected a temple on this mountain which was destroyed by John Hyrcanus B.C. 129. Abraham (Genesis 12:7) and Jacob (Genesis 33:20) set up altars at Shechem. On Gerizim were proclaimed the blessings recorded in John 4:28. The Samaritan Pentateuch records an altar set up on Gerizim that is on Ebal (over 200 feet higher than Gerizim) in the Hebrew (Deuteronomy 27:4). The Samaritans held that Abraham offered up Isaac on Gerizim. The Samaritans kept up this worship on this mountain and a handful do it still.

And ye say (κα υμεις λεγετε). Emphasis on υμεις (ye). Ye Jews.

Ought to worship (προσκυνειν δε). "Must worship," as of necessity (δε). The woman felt that by raising this theological wrangle she would turn the attention of Jesus away from herself and perhaps get some light on the famous controversy. Προσκυνεω in John is always worship, not just respect.

Verse 21

Believe me (πιστευε μο). Correct text. Present active imperative. Unique phrase in place of the common αμην αμην (verily, verily).

The hour cometh (ερχετα ωρα). "There is coming an hour." The same idiom occurs also in John John 4:34; John 5:25; John 5:28; John 16:2; John 16:25; John 16:32.

Neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem (ουτε εν τω ορε τουτω ουτε εν Ιεροσολυμοις). The worship of God will be emancipated from bondage to place. Both Jews and Samaritans are wrong as to the "necessity" (δε). "These ancient rivalries will disappear when the spirituality of true religion is fully realized." Jesus told this sinful woman one of his greatest truths.

Verse 22

That which ye know not (ο ουκ οιδατε). Cf. Acts 17:23. "You know whom to worship, but you do not know him" (Westcott). The Samaritans rejected the prophets and the Psalms and so cut themselves off from the fuller knowledge of God.

We (ημεις). We Jews. Jesus is a Jew as he fully recognizes (Matthew 15:24).

That which we know (ο οιδαμεν). Neuter singular relative as before. The Jews, as the chosen people, had fuller revelations of God (Psalms 147:19; Romans 9:3-5). But even so the Jews as a whole failed to recognize God in Christ (John 1:11; John 1:26; John 7:28).

For salvation is from the Jews (οτ η σωτηρια εκ των Ιουδαιων εστιν). "The salvation," the Messianic salvation which had long been the hope and guiding star of the chosen people (Luke 1:69; Luke 1:71; Luke 1:77; Acts 13:26; Acts 13:47). It was for the whole world (John 3:17), but it comes "out of" (εκ) the Jews. This tremendous fact should never be forgotten, however unworthy the Jews may have proved of their privilege. The Messiah, God's Son, was a Jew.

Verse 23

And now is (κα νυν εστιν). See this same phrase in John 5:25. This item could not be added in verse John 4:21 for local worship was not abolished, but spiritual independence of place was called for at once. So contrast John 5:25; John 5:28; John 16:25; John 16:32.

The true worshippers (ο αληθινο προσκυνητα). See John 1:9 for αληθινος (genuine). Προσκυνητης is a late word from προσκυνεω, to bow the knee, to worship, occurs here only in N.T., but is found in one pre-Christian inscription (Deissmann, Light, etc., p. 101) and in one of the 3rd century A.D. (Moulton Milligan, Vocabulary).

In spirit and truth (εν πνευματ κα αληθεια). This is what matters, not where, but how (in reality, in the spirit of man, the highest part of man, and so in truth). All this is according to the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:5) who is the Spirit of truth (John 16:13). Here Jesus has said the final word on worship, one needed today.

Seeketh (ζητε). The Father has revealed himself in the Son who is the truth (John 14:6 John 14:9). It does matter whether we have a true conception of God whom we worship.

To be his worshippers (τους προσκυνουντας αυτον). Rather, "seeks such as those who worship him" (predicate accusative articular participle in apposition with τοιουτους (such). John pictures the Father as seeking worshippers, a doctrine running all through the Gospel (John 3:16; John 6:44; John 15:16; 1 John 4:10).

Verse 24

God is a Spirit (πνευμα ο θεος). More precisely, "God is Spirit" as "God is Light" (1 John 1:5), "God is Love" (1 John 4:8). In neither case can we read Spirit is God, Light is God, Love is God. The non-corporeality of God is clearly stated and the personality of God also. All this is put in three words for the first time.

Must (δε). Here is the real necessity (δε), not the one used by the woman about the right place of worship (verse John 4:20).

Verse 25

Messiah cometh (Μεσσιας ερχετα). Hebrew word in N.T. only here and John 1:41 and explained by Χριστος in both places. The Samaritans looked for a Messiah, a prophet like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:18). Simon Magus gave himself out in Samaria as some great one and had a large following (Acts 8:9). Pilate quelled an uprising in Samaria over a fanatical Messianic claimant (Josephus, Ant. XVIII. iv. 1).

When he is come (οταν ελθη εκεινος). "Whenever that one comes." Indefinite temporal clause with οταν (οτε, αν) and the second aorist active subjunctive. Wistfully she turns to this dim hope as a bare possibility about this strange "prophet."

He will declare unto us all things (αναγγελε ημιν απαντα). Future active indicative of αναγγελλω, old and common verb to announce fully (ανα, up and down). See also John 16:13. Perhaps here is light on the knowledge of her life by Jesus as well as about the way to worship God.

Verse 26

I that speak unto thee am he (Εγω ειμ ο λαλων σο). "I am he, the one speaking to thee." In plain language Jesus now declares that he is the Messiah as he does to the blind man (John 9:37).

Verse 27

Upon this (επ τουτω). This idiom only here in N.T. At this juncture. Apparently the woman left at once when the disciples came.

They marvelled (εθαυμαζον). Imperfect active describing the astonishment of the disciples as they watched Jesus talking with a woman.

Was speaking (ελαλε). As in John 2:25, so here the tense is changed in indirect discourse from λαλε to ελαλε, an unusual idiom in Greek. However, οτ here may be "because" and then the imperfect is regular. It is not "with the woman" (μετα της γυναικος), but simply "with a woman" (μετα γυναικος). There was a rabbinical precept: "Let no one talk with a woman in the street, no, not with his own wife" (Lightfoot, Hor, Hebr. iii. 287). The disciples held Jesus to be a rabbi and felt that he was acting in a way beneath his dignity.

Yet no man said (ουδεις μεντο ειπεν). John remembers through the years their amazement and also their reverence for Jesus and unwillingness to reflect upon him.

Verse 28

Left her waterpot (αφηκεν την υδριαν). First aorist active indicative of αφιημ, ingressive aorist, in her excitement and embarrassment. It was too large for speed anyhow (John 2:6). And says (κα λεγε). Graphic historic present indicative again.

Verse 29

All things that ever I did (παντα α εποιησα).

Ha , not οσα (as many as), no "ever" in the Greek. But a guilty conscience (verse John 4:18) led her to exaggerate a bit.

Can this be the Christ? (μητ ουτος εστιν ο Χριστοσ;). She is already convinced herself (verses John 4:26), but she puts the question in a hesitant form to avoid arousing opposition. With a woman's intuition she avoided ουκ and uses μητ. She does not take sides, but piques their curiosity.

Verse 30

They went out (εξηλθον). Second aorist (effective) indicative of εξερχομα, at once and in a rush.

And were coming to him (κα ηρχοντο προς αυτον). Imperfect middle, graphically picturing the long procession as they approached Jesus.

Verse 31

In the meanwhile (εν τω μεταξυ). Supply καιρο or χρονο. See το μεταξυ Σαββατον, "the next Sabbath" (Acts 13:42) and εν τω μεταξυ (Luke 8:1). Μεταξυ means between.

Prayed him (ηρωτων αυτον). Imperfect active, "kept beseeching him." For this late (Koine) use of ερωταω, to beseech, instead of the usual sense to question see also verses John 4:40; John 4:47. Their concern for the comfort of Jesus overcame their surprise about the woman.

Verse 32

Meat (βρωσιν). Originally the act of eating (Romans 14:17) from βιβρωσκω, but soon and commonly as that which is eaten like βρωμα once in John (verse John 4:34). So here and John 6:27; John 6:55. Cf. vernacular English "good eating," "good eats."

I ... ye (εγω ... υμεις). Emphatic contrast. Spiritual food Jesus had.

Verse 33

Hath any man brought him aught to eat? (Μη τις ηνεγκεν αυτω φαγειν;). Negative answer expected (μη). "Did any one bring him (something) to eat?" During our absence, they mean. Second aorist active indicative of φερω (ηνεγκεν) and second aorist active infinitive of εσθιω (φαγειν), defective verbs both of them. See John 4:7 for like infinitive construction (δος πειν).

Verse 34

To do the will (ινα ποιησω το θελημα). Non-final use of ινα and the first aorist active subjunctive as subject or predicate nominative as in John 6:29; John 15:8; John 17:3. The Messianic consciousness of Jesus is clear and steady (John 5:30; John 6:38). He never doubted that the Father sent him.

And to accomplish his work (κα τελειωσω αυτου το εργον). Hινα understood with τελειωσω in like idiom, first aorist active subjunctive of τελειοω (from τελειος), to bring to an end. See John 5:36. In John 17:4 (the Intercessory Prayer) he will say that he has done (τελειωσας) this task which the Father gave him to do. On the Cross Jesus will cry Τετελεστα (It is finished). He will carry through the Father's programme (John 3:16). That is his "food." He had been doing that in winning the woman to God.

Verse 35

Say not ye? (Ουχ υμεις λεγετε;). It is not possible to tell whether Jesus is alluding to a rural proverb of which nothing is known about there being four months from seedtime to harvest (a longer time than four months in fact) or whether he means that it was then actually four months to harvest. In the latter sense, since harvest began about the middle of April, it would be December when Jesus spoke.

There are yet four months (ετ τετραμηνος εστιν). The use of ετ (yet) and the fact that the space between seedtime and harvest is longer than four months (τετρα, Aeolic for τεσσαρα, and μην, month) argue against the proverb idea.

And then cometh the harvest (κα ο θερισμος ερχετα). "And the harvest (θερισμος, from θεριζω, rare in Greek writers) comes." The possible Iambic verse here is purely accidental as in John 5:14.

Lift up your eyes (επαρατε τους οφθαλμους υμων). First aorist active imperative of επαιρω. Deliberate looking as in John 6:5 where θεαομα also is used as here.

Fields (χωρας). Cultivated or ploughed ground as in Luke 21:21.

White (λευκα). Ripened grain like grey hair (Matthew 5:36).

Already unto harvest (προς θερισμον ηδη). Probably ηδη (already) goes with verse John 4:36. The Samaritans could already be seen approaching and they were the field "white for harvest." This is the meaning of Christ's parable. If it is the spring of the year and Christ can point to the ripened grain, the parable is all the plainer, but it is not dependent on this detail. Recall the parable of the sower in John 4:13.

Verse 36

Already he that reapeth receiveth wages (ηδη ο θεριζων μισθον λαμβανε). The spiritual harvester can gather his harvest without waiting four months. Jesus is reaping a harvest right now by the conversion of this woman. The labourer is worthy of his hire (Luke 10:7; 2 Timothy 2:6). John does not use μισθος (reward) again, but καρπος (John 15:2-16), "fruit for life eternal" (cf. John 4:14).

That he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together (ινα ο σπειρων ομου χαιρη κα ο θεριζων). Final use of ινα with present active subjunctive of χαιρω, to rejoice, in the singular with ο σπειρων (the sower) and to be repeated with ο θεριζων (the reaper). The adverb ομου (together) elsewhere in N.T. only John 20:4; John 21:2; Acts 2:1. Usually considerable time passes between the sowing and the reaping as in verse John 4:35. Amos (Amos 9:13) spoke of the time when "the ploughman shall overtake the reaper" and that has happened here with the joy of the harvest time (Isaiah 9:3). Jesus the Sower and the disciples as the reapers are here rejoicing simultaneously.

Verse 37

For herein (εν γαρ τουτω). In this relation between the sower and the reaper.

The saying (ο λογος). Like 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Timothy 3:1, etc. Probably a proverb that is particularly true (αληθινος for which see John 1:9) in the spiritual realm.

One soweth, and another reapeth (αλλος εστιν ο σπειρων κα αλλος ο θεριζων). "One is the sower and another the reaper." It is sad when the sower misses the joy of reaping (Job 31:8) and has only the sowing in tears (Psalms 126:5). This may be the punishment for sin (Deuteronomy 28:30; Micah 6:15). Sometimes one reaps where he has not sown (Deuteronomy 6:11; Joshua 24:13). It is the prerogative of the Master to reap (Matthew 25:26), but Jesus here lets the disciples share his joy.

Verse 38

I sent (εγω απεστειλα). Emphatic use of εγω and first aorist active indicative of αποστελλω common in John for to send.

Whereon ye have not laboured (ο ουχ υμεις κεκοπιακατε). Perfect active indicative of κοπιαω for which see John 4:6. So also κεκοπιακασιν in next line. The disciples had done no sowing here in Sychar, only Jesus and the woman.

Others (αλλο: Jesus, the Baptist, the prophets).

And ye (κα υμεις). Emphatic contrast.

Have entered (εισεληλυθατε). Perfect active indicative of εισερχομα.

Into their labour (εις τον κοπον αυτων). Into the fruit and blessed results of their toil (κοπος). This is always true as seen in Acts 8:5-7; Acts 8:14.

Verse 39

Because of the saying of the woman who testified (δια τον λογον της γυναικος μαρτυρουσης). She bore her witness clearly and with discretion. She told enough to bring her neighbours to Christ. They knew her evil life and she frankly confessed Christ's rebuke to her. She had her share in this harvest. How timid and cowardly we often are today in not giving our testimony for Christ to our neighbour.

Verse 40

Two days (δυο ημερας). Accusative of extent of time. They wanted to cultivate the acquaintance of Jesus. So he remained in Sychar in a continuous revival, a most unexpected experience when one recalls the feeling between the Jews and the Samaritans (John 4:9). The reaping went on gloriously.

Verse 41

Many more (πολλω πλειους). "More by much" (instrumental case πολλω) in comparison with just "many" (πολλο) of verse John 4:39. Jesus was reaping more rapidly than the woman did. But all were rejoicing that so many "believed" (επιστευσαν, really believed).

Verse 42

Not because of thy speaking (ουκετ δια την σην λαλιαν). "No longer because of thy talk," good and effective as that was. Λαλια (cf. λαλεω) is talk, talkativeness, mode of speech, one's vernacular, used by Jesus of his own speech (John 8:43).

We have heard (ακηκοαμεν). Perfect active indicative of ακουω, their abiding experience.

For ourselves (αυτο). Just "ourselves."

The Saviour of the world (ο σωτηρ του κοσμου). See Matthew 1:21 for sosei used of Jesus by the angel Gabriel. John applies the term σωτηρ to Jesus again in 1 John 4:14. Jesus had said to the woman that salvation is of the Jews (verse John 4:22). He clearly told the Samaritans during these two days that he was the Messiah as he had done to the woman (verse John 4:26) and explained that to mean Saviour of Samaritans as well as Jews. Sanday thinks that probably John puts this epithet of Saviour in the mouth of the Samaritans, but adds: "At the same time it is possible that such an epithet might be employed by them merely as synonymous with Messiah." But why "merely"? Was it not natural for these Samaritans who took Jesus as their "Saviour," Jew as he was, to enlarge the idea to the whole world? Bernard has this amazing statement on John 4:42: "That in the first century Messiah was given the title sotˆr is not proven." The use of "saviour and god" for Ptolemy in the third century B.C. is well known. "The ample materials collected by Magie show that the full title of honour, Saviour of the world, with which St. John adorns the Master, was bestowed with sundry variations in the Greek expression on Julius Caesar, Augustus, Claudius, Vespasian, Titus, Trajan, Hadrian, and other Emperors in inscriptions in the Hellenistic East" (Deissmann, Light, etc., p. 364). Perhaps Bernard means that the Jews did not call Messiah Saviour. But what of it? The Romans so termed their emperors and the New Testament so calls Christ (Luke 2:11; John 4:42; Acts 5:31; Acts 3:23; Philippians 3:20; Ephesians 5:23; Titus 1:4; Titus 2:13; Titus 3:6; 2 Timothy 1:10; 2 Peter 1:1; 2 Peter 1:11; 2 Peter 2:20; 2 Peter 3:2; 2 Peter 3:18). All these are writings of the first century A.D. The Samaritan villagers rise to the conception that he was the Saviour of the world.

Verse 43

After the two days (Μετα τας δυο ημερας). Those in verse John 4:40.

Into Galilee (εις την Γαλιλαιαν). As he had started to do (verse John 4:3) before the interruption at Sychar.

Verse 44

For Jesus himself testified (αυτος γαρ Ιησους εμαρτυρησεν). John's explanation of the conduct of Jesus by quoting a proverb often used by Jesus (Mark 6:4; Matthew 13:57; Luke 4:24 in reference to Nazareth), but not necessarily used by Jesus on this occasion. A similar proverb has been found in Plutarch, Pliny, Seneca.

A prophet hath no honour in his own country (προφητης εν τη ιδια πατριδ τιμην ουκ εχε). What is meant by πατριδ? In the Synoptics (Luke 4:24; Mark 6:4; Matthew 13:57) the reference is to Nazareth where he was twice rejected. But what has John in mind in quoting it here? He probably knew the quotations in the Synoptics. Does John refer to Judea by "his own country"? If so, the application hardly fits for he had already explained that Jesus was leaving Judea because he was too popular there (John 4:1-3). If he means Galilee, he immediately mentions the cordial welcome accorded Jesus there (verse John 4:45). But even so this is probably John's meaning for he is speaking of the motive of Jesus in going into Galilee where he had not yet laboured and where he apparently had no such fame as in Judea and now in Samaria.

Verse 45

So when (οτε ουν). Transitional use of ουν, sequence, not consequence.

Received him (εδεξαντο αυτον). First aorist middle of δεχομα, "welcomed him." Jesus had evidently anticipated a quiet arrival.

Having seen (εωρακοτες). Perfect active participle of οραω. Note θεωρουντες in John 2:23 about this very thing at the feast in Jerusalem. The miracles of Jesus at that first passover made a stir.

For they also went (κα αυτο γαρ ηλθον). The Samaritans did not go and so Jesus was a new figure to them, but the Galileans, as orthodox Jews, did go and so were predisposed in his favour.

Verse 46

Again (παλιν). A second time.

Unto Cana (εις την Κανα). Note article, "the Cana of Galilee" already mentioned in John 2:1.

Where he made the water wine (οπου εποιησεν το υδωρ οινον). That outstanding first miracle would still be remembered in Cana and would indicate that Jesus had some friends there.

Nobleman (βασιλικος). One connected with the king (βασιλευς), whether by blood or by office. Probably here it is one of the courtiers of Herod the tetrarch of Galilee, Chuzas (Luke 8:3), Manaen (Acts 13:1), or some one else. Some of the manuscripts used βασιλισκος, a petty king, a diminutive of βασιλευς.

Was sick (ησθενε). Imperfect active of ασθενεω (α privative and σθενος, without strength, Matthew 25:36), continued sick.

At Capernaum (εν Καφαρναουμ). Some miles from Cana near where the Jordan enters the Sea of Galilee.

Verse 47

When he heard (ακουσας). First aorist active participle of ακουω. The news spread rapidly about Jesus.

Was come (ηκε). Present active indicative of ηκω, one of the perfective presents, retained in indirect discourse. He had heard the people talk about the miracles in Jerusalem and the first one in Cana.

Went and besought (απηλθεν κα ηρωτα). Ingressive aorist indicative (went off at once) and imperfect active (ηρωτα, began to beg and kept it up).

That he would come down (ινα καταβη, ινα and second aorist active subjunctive of καταβαινω, come down at once)

and heal his son (κα ιασητα αυτου τον υιον, ινα construction, sub-final use or object clause, with first aorist middle subjunctive of ιαομα, completely heal).

For he was at the point of death (ημελλεν γαρ αποθνησκειν). Reason (γαρ) for the urgency. Imperfect active of μελλω with present active infinitive old and common verb for what is about to be and it is used with the infinitive present as here, the aorist infinitive (Revelation 13:16), or the future infinitive (Acts 11:28). The idiom is used of the impending death of Jesus (John 11:51; John 12:33; John 18:32).

Verse 48

Except ye see (εαν μη ιδητε). Condition of the third class (εαν μη, negative, with second aorist active subjunctive of οραω). Jesus is not discounting his "signs and wonders" (σημεια κα τερατα, both words together here only in John, though common in N.T. as in Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22; Acts 2:19; Acts 2:22; Acts 2:43; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; Hebrews 2:4), though he does seem disappointed that he is in Galilee regarded as a mere miracle worker.

Ye will in no wise believe (ου μη πιστευσητε). Strong double negative with aorist active subjunctive of πιστευω, picturing the stubborn refusal of people to believe in Christ without miracles.

Verse 49

Sir (Κυριε). See John 1:38.

Come down (καταβηθ). Second aorist active imperative, tense and tone of urgency. Ερε μψ χιλδ διε (πριν αποθανειν το παιδιον μου). Regular idiom with πριν in positive clause, second aorist active infinitive of αποθνησκω and accusative of general reference, "before dying as to my child." Bengel notes that he only thought Jesus had power before death as even Martha and Mary felt at first (John 11:21; John 11:32). But the father's heart goes out to Jesus.

Verse 50

Thy son liveth (ο υιος σου ζη). "Thy son is living," and will not now die, Jesus means. Words too good and gracious to be true. His son is healed without Jesus even going to Capernaum, "absent treatment" so to speak, but without the cure being absent.

Believed the word (επιστευσεν τω λογω). Instantaneous faith (aorist active indicative), trusted the word (dative case λογω).

Went his way (επορευετο). Inchoative imperfect middle, "started on his way," acted on his faith.

Verse 51

As he was now going down (ηδη αυτου καταβαινοντος). Genitive absolute in-spite of the fact that αυτω (associative instrumental case with υπηντησαν aorist active indicative of υπανταω) is near.

That his son lived (οτ ο παις αυτου ζη). Present active indicative preserved in indirect discourse (cf. the words of Jesus in verse John 4:50). Note παις here (only example in John), υιος in John 4:50, παιδιον (diminutive of tenderness) in John 4:49.

Verse 52

Inquired (επυθετο). Second aorist middle indicative of πυνθανομα.

Began to mend (κομψοτερον εσχεν). Second aorist ingressive active indicative of εχω (took a turn, got better) and comparative of adverb κομψως. Arrian (_Epictetus iii. 10.13) has κομψως εχεις from a physician, "Thou hast it fine," "Thou art doing finely." The papyri give several similar examples. Κομψως (neat) is from κομεω, to take care of.

At the seventh hour (ωραν εβδομην). The accusative case without a preposition as in Revelation 3:3, though we have περ ωραν ενατην (about the ninth hour) in Acts 10:3. See the accusative also in Exodus 9:18 ταυτην την ωραν αυριον (tomorrow about this hour). The accusative has the notion of extension and can be thus loosely used. It can even mean here "during the seventh hour." In verse John 4:53 the locative is more exact, "at that hour" (εν εκεινη τη ωρα). The seventh hour would be (Roman time) seven P.M.

Verse 53

So the father knew (εγνω ουν ο πατηρ). Second aorist active indicative of γινωσκω. Inferential use of ουν.

Himself believed (επιστευσεν αυτος). Not just the word of Jesus (verse John 4:50), but complete faith in Jesus himself as the Messiah, absolute use of πιστευω as in John 1:7.

And his whole house (κα η οικια αυτου). All his family, the first example of a whole family believing in Jesus like the later case of Crispus (Acts 18:8).

Verse 54

The second sign that (δευτερον σημειον). No article, simply predicate accusative, "This again a second sign did Jesus having come out of Judea into Galilee." The first one was also in Cana (John 2:1), but many were wrought in Jerusalem also (John 2:23).

Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/john-4.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.
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