Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,CHAPTER 4
1. He Must Needs Pass Through Samaria. (John 4:1-5.) 2. At Sychar’s Well; Jesus and the Samaritan Woman. (John 4:6-26.) 3. The Woman’s Witness and the Believing Samaritans. (John 4:27-42.) 4. His Return to Galilee. (John 4:43-45.) 5. The Second Miracle, the Healing of the Nobleman’s Son. (John 4:46-54.)
2. At Sychar’s Well; Jesus and the Samaritan Woman. (John 4:6-26.)
3. The Woman’s Witness and the Believing Samaritans. (John 4:27-42.)
4. His Return to Galilee. (John 4:43-45.)
5. The Second Miracle, the Healing of the Nobleman’s Son. (John 4:46-54.)
In the Gospel of Matthew the Lord told His disciples not to go into the way of the Gentiles and not to enter into any city of the Samaritans. (Matthew 10:5). He sent them to preach the nearness of the Kingdom. Here He must needs go through Samaria. He had left Jerusalem and was on His way to Galilee and passing through Samaria He manifested His marvelous Grace. Tired on account of the way, an evidence of His true humanity, “He sat thus on the well.” There He rested in unwearied love, waiting for the poor, fallen woman, whose sad story He knew so well.
To follow the beautiful account of His dealings with the Samaritan woman in all its blessed details is impossible in our brief annotations. What mercy and grace He exhibited in seeking such a one! What wisdom and patience in dealing with her, bearing with her ignorance! And what power in drawing her to Himself and making her a messenger to bring others to Him! How different He treated her in comparison with Nicodemus in the preceding chapter.
The Lord speaks to the Samaritan woman concerning the living water, which He can give to all that ask Him. The central verse of His teaching is the fourteenth, “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.” The well or fountain of water in the believer is the indwelling Spirit. In John 7:37-39 the Lord speaks also of living water and there the interpretation of it is given. “This He spake of the Spirit, whom they that believe on Him should receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” The believer has therefore not only eternal life, but also the gift of the Spirit, Who dwells in him as the spring of living water.
The new worship is next revealed in answer to the question of the woman. John 4:21-24. The Samaritans worshipped on a mountain (Gerizim); the Jews in the temple, but the hour was coming when the true worshippers would worship the Father in the Spirit. No longer would true believers worship God as the God of Israel, but as Father. It is to be a worship in the Spirit and not confined to a locality. Christian worship has for its foundation the possession of eternal life; the indwelling Spirit is the power of that worship. Only true believers, such who are born again and possess the gift of the Spirit, can be worshippers. “For we are the circumcision who worship God in the Spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” (Philippians 3:3). And such worshippers the Father seeketh. In Old Testament times the Jews worshipped in an earthly place. In the coming, the millennial age, nations will go up to Jerusalem to worship the Lord of hosts in the great millennial Temple. (Isaiah 2:1-4; Zechariah 14:16, etc.) This present dispensation is the dispensation of Grace, and the Father seeketh worshippers who worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. Thus we are brought in the Gospel of John altogether upon the ground of grace.
Then He revealed Himself to the woman. “Jesus saith to her, I that speak to thee am He.” She was face to face with the Messiah; she stood in the presence of Jehovah. She left her waterpot to tell others the good news of the living water. The earthly things were forgotten. And what a messenger she became! How her simple testimony was blessed in the conversion of souls! He abode there two days and is owned and proclaimed not alone as the promised Messiah but as the Saviour of the world. (John 4:42).
Once more we see Him at Cana of Galilee, and the nobleman’s son, who was sick at Capernaum, is healed by the Lord. The nobleman represents typically Israel. The word the Lord addressed to him fits that nation. “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.” How different from Samaria, where He did no miracle and yet they believed. And as the nobleman and his whole house believed, so will Israel believe in a future day.