The woman said to him, Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from where then have you that living water?
Jump to: Alford • Barnes • Bengel • Benson • BI • Calvin • Cambridge • Chrysostom • Clarke • Darby • Ellicott • Expositor's • Exp Dct • Exp Grk • Gaebelein • GSB • Gill • Gray • Haydock • Hastings • Homiletics • ICC • JFB • Kelly • KJT • Lange • MacLaren • MHC • MHCW • Meyer • Parker • PNT • Poole • Pulpit • Sermon • SCO • Teed • TTB • VWS • WES • TSK
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The woman saith unto him, Sir . . .—Her tone changes to one of respect. Something in His voice and manner, it may be, has touched her. She does not understand His words, but she is conscious of their latent force. She feels the presence of One who teaches with authority, and the “Thou, being a Jew,” passes to the reverential “Sir.” Still, she does not see how He can give her living water. Where will He get it? He has no means for drawing it, and the water in the well is far below His reach. His word, too, strikes her, and she dwells on it;—“that living water.” She thinks of spring water, as in Genesis 26:19, and Leviticus 14:5, where the Hebrew is “living water.” He cannot draw from that well. Does He mean to say that He knows of another, with better water? The word used here for “well” is different from that in John 4:6, where the surface only was thought of. Here, and in the next verse, the depth is prominent, and we have the same word, which is rendered “pit,” in Luke 14:5.John 3:4. So ignorant are persons of spiritual things, till they are enlightened by the Holy Spirit of God.
thou hast nothing to draw with; no pail, or bucket, or rope, to let it down with, as Nonnus adds; for it seems, there was no bucket, or vessel, fastened at the well for the common use, but everyone brought one with them, when they came to draw: though it is strange there was not one; since, according to common usage, and even of the Jews (u),
"a public well had, "a bucket", or pitcher; but a private well had no bucket:''
and the well is deep; that which is now called Jacob's well, is by some said to be forty cubits deep, and by others thirty five yards:
from whence then hast thou that living water? this she said in a sneering, scoffing manner: she reasoned with him, either that he must have it out of this well; but that could not be, since he had no vessel to draw with, and the well was so deep, that he could not come at the water without one; or he must have it from some neighbouring spring; upon which she scoffs at him in the following manner.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?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 4:11-12. “Thou canst not mean the spring-water here in this well; you could not give this to me, for thou hast no bucket, which is needed on account of the depth of the well; whence hast thou, therefore, the spring-water you speak of?”
κύριε] The ΤΊς ἘΣΤΙΝ Ὁ ΛΈΓΩΝ ΣΟΙ, etc., John 4:10, has given the woman a momentary feeling of respect, not unmixed with irony.
οὔτε followed by ΚΑῚ is rare, 3 John 1:10; see Winer, p. 460 [E. T. p. 619]; Baeumlein, Partik. p. 222; Klotz, ad Devar. 714.
μὴ σὺ μείζων, κ.τ.λ.] Notice the emphatic ΣΎ coming first: “thou surely art not greater,” etc.; “thou dost not look like that!” Comp. John 8:53.
μείζων] i.e. more able, in a position to give what is better. By him was the well given us, and for him it was good enough for him and his to drink from; yet thou speakest as if thou hadst another and a better spring of water! The woman dwells upon the enigmatical word of Christ at first, just as Nicodemus did, John 3:4, but with more cleverness and vivacity, at the same time more pertly, and with feminine loquacity.
τοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν] for the Samaritans traced their descent back to Joseph. Josephus, Antt. vii. 7. 3, viii. 14. 3, xi. 8. 6. They certainly were not of purely heathen origin (Hengstenberg); see Keil on 2 Kings 17:24; Petermann in Herzog’s Encykl. XIII. 367.
ὃς ἔδωκεν, κ.τ.λ.] a Samaritan tradition, not derived from the O. T.
ΚΑῚ ΑὐΤῸς, Κ.Τ.Λ.] ΚΑῚ is simply and, neither for καὶ ὅς, nor and indeed. The θρέμματα are the cattle (Plato, Polit. p. 261 A; Xen. Oec. xx. 23; Ages. ix. 6; Herodian. iii. 9. 17; Josephus, Antt. vii. 7. 3), not servants (Majus, Kypke), whom there was no need specially to name; the mention of the herds completes the picture of their nomadic progenitor.
τὸ ὕδωρ τὸ ζῶν] which thou hast to give; John 4:10.
 ἄντλημα, elsewhere the drawing of water, is used in the sense of haustrum. Nonnus explains it κάδον ἑλκυστῆρα (a bucket to draw water).—The woman had with her a ὑδρία, ver. 28 (comp. John 2:6), but she must also have had an ἄντλημα, provided with a long handle or rope to draw the water up, or at least some contrivance for letting down the ὑδρία itself.
 The word, the general meaning of which is quicquid enutritur, is found on inscriptions as applied to slaves; it is used of children likewise in the classics (Valck. Diatr. p. 249), as in Soph. Phil. 243; comp; Oed. Rex, 1143. It does not occur in the LXX. or Apocrypha.11. Sir] A decided change from the pert ‘How is it?’ in John 4:9. His words and manner already begin to impress her.
the well is deep] Not the same word for ‘well’ as in John 4:6. There the spring in the well is the chief feature: here it is rather the deep hole in which the spring was. Earlier travellers have called it over a 100 feet deep: at the present time it is about 75 feet deep.
that living water] Better, the living water, of which Thou speakest. She thinks He means spring-water as distinct from cistern-water. Comp. Jeremiah 2:13, where the two are strongly contrasted. In Genesis 26:19, as the margin shews, ‘springing water’ is literally ‘living water,’ viva aqua. What did Christ mean by the ‘living water?’ Among the various answers we may at once set aside any reference to baptism. Faith, God’s grace and truth, Christ Himself, are other answers. The difference between them is at bottom not so great as appears on the surface. Christ here uses the figure of water, as elsewhere of bread (6) and light (John 8:12), the three most necessary things for life. But He does not here identify Himself with the living water, as He does with the Bread, and the Light: therefore it seems better to understand the living water as the ‘grace and truth’ of which He is full (John 1:14). Comp. Sir 15:3; Bar 3:12.John 4:11. Κύριε, Lord) Previously she had not called Him Lord: now she so calls Him, inasmuch as speaking piously about God, though as yet unknown to her, John 4:15, “Lord, give me this water: [Engl. Ver. of Κύριε is ‘Sir’] 19 “Lord, I perceive that thou art a prophet.” So ch. John 5:7 [The impotent man], a man, who knew not Jesus, calls Him Lord. They had a feeling in some way or other of His dignity.Verse 11. - The answer of the woman shows that, though startled as Jesus meant her to be by his self-assertion, she had not moved out of the limited region of her own thoughts - her physical thirst, her daily needs, and common appliances for meeting them. There is a touch of humour for this light-hearted creature in the contrast between the large offer and the apparent helplessness of the Offerer. God's folly is compared with man's wisdom; God's weakness is set over against man's strength. Sir (my master - a phrase here of simple courtesy, yet showing some advance on what had gone before, "Thou being a Jew"), neither hast thou the vessel to draw with, and, moreover, the well is deep (see above on ver. 6). The water of this well cannot be lifted without an ἄντλημα, and, when the water is reached, it is still open to question whether it be living, flowing water or not. Whence then hast thou the living water of which thou hast spoken?
The noun means what is drawn, the act of drawing, and the thing to draw with. Here the bucket, of skin, with three cross sticks at the mouth to keep it open, and let down by a goat's-hair rope. Not to be confounded with the water-pot (ὑδρία) of John 4:28. The word is found only here in the New Testament.
See on John 4:6. It may have been fed by living springs (πηγαὶ).
That living water (τὸ ὕδωρ τὸ ζῶν)
Literally, the water the living.
LinksJohn 4:11 Interlinear
John 4:11 Parallel Texts
John 4:11 NIV
John 4:11 NLT
John 4:11 ESV
John 4:11 NASB
John 4:11 KJV
John 4:11 Bible Apps
John 4:11 Parallel
John 4:11 Biblia Paralela
John 4:11 Chinese Bible
John 4:11 French Bible
John 4:11 German Bible