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Book of John
Chapter 4

The Gospel of John for Youth
Commentary by Pastor Ron Beckham

John Chapter 4

(Words in red in the Scriptures are the words of Jesus)

Verse 1. "Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John"

The Holy Spirit of God knows everything about us. When Jesus was on earth, He LISTENED to that Spirit and because of Him, KNEW that the Pharisees ("Separated Ones") had heard that many were coming to Jesus. John had been very popular but now they were going to Jesus and trusting in Him.

Verse 2. "(although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were),"

Jesus was not baptizing people (dipping them in water). His disciples (students) were doing it, and many were coming to them, for the people wanted to be forgiven for the bad things they had done. Baptism is a way of saying, "I'm sorry and I want Jesus to forgive me."

Verse 3. "He left Judea and went away again into Galilee."

Jesus walked north from the Roman area of Judea and went to the area around the Sea of Galilee. His disciples (students) would have been with Him. Many of them were FROM Galilee.

Verse 4. "And He had to pass through Samaria."

There were two ways to get to Galilee, and on this trip, they walked north through the area called "Samaria." This was a place where the people had become a mixture. The Samaritans were partly Jewish and part Gentile, both in who their parents were and also in what they believed about religion.

Verse 5. "So He came to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph;"

Jesus came near the town of Sychar which was a small village located near a small plot of ground that Jacob (Abraham's grandson) had given to his son Joseph, hundreds of years before.

Verse 6. "and Jacob's well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour."

Jesus stopped at a well, about 1/2 mile from where Sychar was located at that time. (We were at the well last year - a Church has been built on top of it and the well is now in the basement.) Notice that Jesus, the Son of God, had become a man, and just like the rest of us, He got tired.

Verse 7. "There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, ‘Give Me a drink.’"

A woman of that place (a Samaritan woman) came to the well at that moment, and Jesus asked her for a drink of water. The well was very deep, Jesus was tired, and He needed help.

Verse 8. "For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food."

The well was very deep and Jesus’ disciples (students) had gone to buy food. There was no one except the Samaritan woman to help Him.

Verse 9. "Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, ‘How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?’ (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)"

Have you ever been with people that ignored you? That’s the way it was between the Jews and Samaritans (the Jews ignored the Samaritans), and she was wondering why He (Jesus) was speaking to her.

Verse 10. "Jesus answered and said to her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.’''

The real issue here was not whether Jesus was thirsty. The real need was in this woman. Jesus is God’s Gift to all of us, and He can satisfy us (all who ask Him) deep inside, with something He calls "living water." He wants to satisfy your soul.

Verse 11. "She said to Him, ‘Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water?’"

The Samaritan asked Jesus the Son of God, where this "living water" would come from? We often do not understand how God does things, but that is not important. What is needed is that we should ASK.

Verse 12. "You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?''

The greatest person this woman of Samaria could think of was Jacob, grandson of Abraham, who owned this very well, hundreds of years before. If Jesus could give "living water" to her, she thought, then He would be greater than Jacob.

Verse 13. "Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again;’"

Each time after we take a drink, we will soon be thirsty again. After we breathe, we need to breathe again. We eat, and then we get hungry. Things of this world only satisfy us for a little time.

Verse 14. "but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life."

Jesus will satisfy you deep inside. He is like a fine, pure water that refreshes your soul, and once you have received Him, that deep need you have will be satisfied – forever.

Verse 15. "The woman said to Him, ‘Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.’"

The woman of Samaria was tired. The well was one half mile from her village of Sychar. The water was heavy and she wanted this living water, so she didn’t have to go for water anymore. But Jesus was talking about something much better than the water we drink.

Verse 16. "He said to her, ‘Go, call your husband and come here.’"

Jesus did not respond directly to her statement, but instead told her to go back to her village and bring her husband to Him.

Verse 17. "The woman answered and said, ‘I have no husband.’ Jesus said to her, ‘You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband.’"

She confessed that she did not have a husband. Jesus already knew that, and it was good that she answered Him honestly. We need to be honest when we speak to our Lord.

Verse 18. "for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly."

The woman of Samaria previously had five husbands, probably one at a time, and the man she was now living with was not her husband.

Verse 19. "The woman said to Him, ‘Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.’

Jesus had looked right inside of her and had told her things about herself that no ordinary person could possibly know. She said to Him, "Sir ("Lord"), I think you are a "prophet" (a spokesman for God).

Verse 20. ‘Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship."

If he was a prophet, she thought, now was the time to ask Him religious questions. The Samaritans worshipped at Mount Gerizim and the Jews had their Temple in Jerusalem. Who was right, she wondered? She would ask this Man she thought was a prophet.

Verse 21. "Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.’"

Jesus would not be taken by her into an argument about religious beliefs. But he did tell her that special places of worship are only temporary. We need more than buildings or mountains – we need to love (worship) the Lord.

Verse 22. "You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews."

The Samaritans were not correct in their religious beliefs but they thought their religion was better than the religion of the Jews. Jesus told her "No; that isn’t true."

Verse 23. "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers."

There’s something MORE than religion in the world. It’s not how correct you are in religion – it’s WHO you worship. God the Father, through Jesus Christ, is actively seeking you in love, that you might learn to love God in spirit and in truth.

Verse 24. "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

God is "spirit", which really means that He is outside all our attempts to be good people without Him. We must give Him our hearts, our lives – everything, in Jesus Name, and then God will receive our love, as we will receive His.

Verse 25. "The woman said to Him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.’"

The woman of Samaria had heard that the "Messiah" ("Christ", Anointed One, Special One of God) would leave eternity and come to earth. She had also heard that He would help us to understand everything we would ever need to know.

Verse 26. "Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you, am He.’"

This is so plain. The One you have waited for, all your life, is Jesus. He is the "Christ", the "Messiah", (the special Anointed One of God). WHO can you trust with your life? - Jesus Christ.

Verse 27. "At this point His disciples came, and they were amazed that He had been speaking with a woman, yet no one said, ‘What do You seek?’ or, ‘Why do You speak with her?’"

His disciples (students) had come back with the food (see verse 8) and were surprised that He had been speaking with a woman; especially a non-Jewish woman. They were afraid to ask Him about it, but that was a mistake. We should ASK our Lord, and He will answer our every need.

Verse 28. "So the woman left her waterpot, and went into the city and said to the men,"

Waterpots were important to the people of that time, but the woman was so excited that she left hers by the well and ran to tell others about Jesus. We should do the same. Leave your worries and run to tell others about the Lord.

Verse 29. "Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?"

The Samaritan woman still wasn't sure if Jesus was the Christ (Messiah - Anointed One) but she thought He might be, especially because He knew things about her that He could not know any other way.

Verse 30. "They went out of the city, and were coming to Him."

The people of the city of Sychar became excited when they heard what the Samaritan woman told them about Jesus, and they ran from the town to where He stood, beside Jacob's well.

Verse 31. "Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, eat.’"

The disciples had come back to the well and they brought food with them. It had been a long time since any of them had eaten, and they were saying to Jesus, "Rabbi (Teacher), please have some food."

Verse 32. "But He said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’"

Often, all people think about is "I'm hungry", or "I'm thirsty, or "I'm tired". But God is not limited like we are and He can give us food, drink, and rest that we know nothing about.

Verse 33. "So the disciples were saying to one another, ‘No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?’"

The disciples (students) of Jesus did not understand. Jesus was satisfied because the people of the village of Sychar were coming to Him. His disciples were worried about food, but Jesus was thinking about something much more important.

Verse 34. "Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.’"

All the disciples could think about was "we're hungry and Jesus must be hungry, too." But Jesus had no time for that right now. He was doing the work and the will of God the Father in the lives of the people of Sychar.

Verse 35. "Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest."

In that place and time, people knew a lot about farming. Almost everybody knew how long it would be before the white grain would be ready to be picked for the harvest. But Jesus pointed to the villagers dressed in white robes coming from the town of Sychar. THEY were more important than food.

Verse 36. "Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together."

People think a lot about buying food, clothing and other needs of life. Jesus knew that people really need to be made right with God. When you bring someone to Jesus, you will rejoice with them, both now and forever.

Verse 37. "For in this case the saying is true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’"

We don't have to "do it all". God equips us and then sends us to do what we are able to do. God sends people to everyone. All we have to do is our part, which might be to just talk about what Jesus means to us, or it may be that we will bring them to the Kingdom of God. To "sow" is to tell someone of Jesus. To "reap" is when they receive Him.

Verse 38. "I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored and you have entered into their labor."

God had given His Word to the Samaritan people that lived in Sychar. It would be easier now for the disciples (students) to tell them of Jesus because these people were ready to come to Him. God will make it easy for us, also.

Verse 39. "From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘He told me all the things that I have done.’"

The people of the little village of Sychar knew this woman and could see that she had been changed for the better by Jesus. Jesus had known about her before she said anything. They wanted to be changed too, and because of her, they were coming to Him.

Verse 40. "So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days."

The Samaritans (those of the village of Sychar) had come to Jesus and they were ready to listen to Him. They asked Him to stay with them and He did stay in their village for the next two days.

Verse 41. "Many more believed because of His word;"

If you really LISTEN to the words of Jesus Christ, you will come to believe that He is just who He said He was - the Son of God who died for your sins and mine. Many of the Samaritans did listen and they BELIEVED in Him.

Verse 42. "and they were saying to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.’"

At first the Samaritan people were turning to Jesus because of the words spoken by the woman at the well. But now they had listened to Jesus themselves and once they really HEARD Him, they knew for themselves that He is the Special One of God, the Savior sent to everyone in this world.

Verse 43. "After the two days He went forth from there into Galilee."

After spending two days with the Samaritan people of Sychar, Jesus took his disciples (students) and went north once more, into the area called Galilee.

Verse 44. "For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country."

Jesus, the Son of God, had prophesied (shown the "heart" of God) to the Galileans before, and He knew they were not receiving His words. He had grown up in Galilee. They remembered Him as a neighbor boy and they would not think of Him as the Son of God.

Verse 45. "So when He came to Galilee, the Galileans received Him, having seen all the things that He did in Jerusalem at the feast; for they themselves also went to the feast."

Most of the Jews left their homes every year and went to the Feast called Passover. Jesus had been in Jerusalem for the Passover celebration and so had many of the people in Galilee. He had done surprising things there and they wanted to see if He would do more.

Verse 46. "Therefore He came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a royal official whose son was sick at Capernaum."

Jesus went to the town of Cana, the same place where He had turned the water into wine (Chapter 2). A man thought to be special in that community had a son who was presently in another town called Capernaum, and the boy was very sick.

Verse 47. "When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and was imploring Him to come down and heal his son; for he was at the point of death."

The man (verse 46) was worried about his son who was so sick that he nearly had died. When he heard Jesus was in the area, he went to Him and begged Him to come and heal his son.

Verse 48. "So Jesus said to him, ‘Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe.’"

Jesus saw in this man’s heart that he and the people in that area did not believe in Him, and would not, unless they saw some kind of miracles done. We need to trust in Jesus because we love Him; not just because we want something from Him.

Verse 49. "The royal official said to Him, ‘Sir, come down before my child dies.’"

This "nobleman" (someone thought to be special by others) called Jesus "Sir" which actually means "Lord". He begged Jesus to go to Capernaum and heal his son.

Verse 50. "Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your son lives.’ The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started off."

But Jesus did not go to Capernaum as the man asked (verse 49). Instead, He told the man to go now, because the boy was well. The man believed what Jesus said and went off to see his son.

Verse 51. "As he was now going down, his slaves met him, saying that his son was living."

The man left Jesus and was going home to see how his son was doing. He was a wealthy man who had servants. They ran to him and told him his son had been healed of his sickness.

Verse 52. "So he inquired of them the hour when he began to get better. Then they said to him, ‘Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.’"

To them, time was figured from sunset to sunset. "The seventh hour" would have been either 1 in the afternoon or 1 AM. At exactly the time when Jesus said "Your son lives" (verse 51), the boy was healed.

Verse 53. "So the father knew that it was at that hour in which Jesus said to him, ‘Your son lives’; and he himself believed and his whole household."

The father of the boy who had been healed by Jesus was very excited and he asked his servants, "WHEN did this happen?" It turned out to be the SAME time Jesus said "Your son lives" (verse 51). The boy's father believed in Jesus and told everybody who lived in his house what had happened. They ALL believed in Jesus Christ.

Verse 54. "This is again a second sign that Jesus performed when He had come out of Judea into Galilee."

The first sign (miracle) Jesus did after coming to Galilee from Judea, was the turning of water into wine (John Chapter 2). This second one was the healing of a little boy, as seen in the last few verses of Chapter 4.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries
www.fridaystudy.org
Ron@fridaystudy.org

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