John 4:18
For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.
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(18) In that saidst thou truly.—The stroke goes deeper. It lays bare the secrets of all those years over which she thought the veil of the past had for ever been drawn. The bright days of joy and dark days of sin; the heart’s promises made and broken; the sad days of death, which five times over had robbed her of a husband; or, worse than death, the sin which had severed the sacred bonds; the shame of the present shameless life—all these are at least hidden from a stranger. But His words pierce to the inmost thoughts, and prove Him to know all the acts of her life (John 4:29). “Thou hast well said, A husband I have not. The holy name may not be given to the paramour thou now hast; with the loss of purity is linked the loss of truthfulness; the very truth thou utterest is meant to convey to Me an untruth, but to One who knows all, the words are really true;—“in that saidst thou truly.”

4:4-26 There was great hatred between the Samaritans and the Jews. Christ's road from Judea to Galilee lay through Samaria. We should not go into places of temptation but when we needs must; and then must not dwell in them, but hasten through them. We have here our Lord Jesus under the common fatigue of travellers. Thus we see that he was truly a man. Toil came in with sin; therefore Christ, having made himself a curse for us, submitted to it. Also, he was a poor man, and went all his journeys on foot. Being wearied, he sat thus on the well; he had no couch to rest upon. He sat thus, as people wearied with travelling sit. Surely, we ought readily to submit to be like the Son of God in such things as these. Christ asked a woman for water. She was surprised because he did not show the anger of his own nation against the Samaritans. Moderate men of all sides are men wondered at. Christ took the occasion to teach her Divine things: he converted this woman, by showing her ignorance and sinfulness, and her need of a Saviour. By this living water is meant the Spirit. Under this comparison the blessing of the Messiah had been promised in the Old Testament. The graces of the Spirit, and his comforts, satisfy the thirsting soul, that knows its own nature and necessity. What Jesus spake figuratively, she took literally. Christ shows that the water of Jacob's well yielded a very short satisfaction. Of whatever waters of comfort we drink, we shall thirst again. But whoever partakes of the Spirit of grace, and the comforts of the gospel, shall never want that which will abundantly satisfy his soul. Carnal hearts look no higher than carnal ends. Give it me, saith she, not that I may have everlasting life, which Christ proposed, but that I come not hither to draw. The carnal mind is very ingenious in shifting off convictions, and keeping them from fastening. But how closely our Lord Jesus brings home the conviction to her conscience! He severely reproved her present state of life. The woman acknowledged Christ to be a prophet. The power of his word in searching the heart, and convincing the conscience of secret things, is a proof of Divine authority. It should cool our contests, to think that the things we are striving about are passing away. The object of worship will continue still the same, God, as a Father; but an end shall be put to all differences about the place of worship. Reason teaches us to consult decency and convenience in the places of our worship; but religion gives no preference to one place above another, in respect of holiness and approval with God. The Jews were certainly in the right. Those who by the Scriptures have obtained some knowledge of God, know whom they worship. The word of salvation was of the Jews. It came to other nations through them. Christ justly preferred the Jewish worship before the Samaritan, yet here he speaks of the former as soon to be done away. God was about to be revealed as the Father of all believers in every nation. The spirit or the soul of man, as influenced by the Holy Spirit, must worship God, and have communion with him. Spiritual affections, as shown in fervent prayers, supplications, and thanksgivings, form the worship of an upright heart, in which God delights and is glorified. The woman was disposed to leave the matter undecided, till the coming of the Messiah. But Christ told her, I that speak to thee, am He. She was an alien and a hostile Samaritan, merely speaking to her was thought to disgrace our Lord Jesus. Yet to this woman did our Lord reveal himself more fully than as yet he had done to any of his disciples. No past sins can bar our acceptance with him, if we humble ourselves before him, believing in him as the Christ, the Saviour of the world.Hast had five husbands - Who have either died; or who, on account of your improper conduct, have divorced you; or whom you have left improperly, without legal divorce. Either of these might have be. en the case.

Is not thy husband - You are not lawfully married to him. Either she might have left a former husband without divorce, and thus her marriage with this man was unlawful, or she was living with him without the form of marriage, in open guilt.

16. call thy husband—now proceeding to arouse her slumbering conscience by laying bare the guilty life she was leading, and by the minute details which that life furnished, not only bringing her sin vividly up before her, but preparing her to receive in His true character that wonderful Stranger to whom her whole life, in its minutest particulars, evidently lay open. He tells her, that she had had five husbands; whether successively, the former being dead, and she marrying another, or five from whom she had been divorced for adultery, is not agreed; the best modern interpreters judge, that she had had five men to whom she had been in marriage, but so behaved herself toward them, that either for her adultery, or some other froward behaviour towards them, they had given her a bill of divorce; and though she now used and lived with one as her husband, yet in this she said truly, because, her former husbands yet living, he was not her husband. This seemeth more properly the sense, than that after five legal husbands’ death, she lived in whoredom with a sixth person. By this discovery, our Saviour both bringeth her to the sense of her sin, and also to an acknowledgment of him as the Messiah.

For thou hast had five husbands,.... Which she either had had lawfully, and had buried one after another; and which was no crime, and might be: the Sadducees propose a case to Christ, in which a woman is said to have had seven husbands successively, in a lawful manner, Matthew 22:25. Or rather, she had had so many, and had been divorced from everyone of them, for adultery; for no other cause it should seem did the Samaritans divorce; seeing that they only received the law of Moses, and rejected, at least, many of the traditions of the elders; and since they are particularly said (y).

"not to be expert in the law of marriages and divorces:''

and the rather this may seem to be the case, as Dr. Lightfoot observes; since these husbands are mentioned, as well as he with whom she lived in an adulterous manner; and which suggests, that she had not lived honestly with them:

and he whom thou now hast, is not thy husband; that is, not thy lawful husband, as the Persic version reads, and Nonnus paraphrases; being not married to him at all, though they cohabited as man and wife, when there was no such relation between them:

in that saidst thou truly; or that which is truth: thus Christ the omniscient God, who knew her full well, and the whole of her past infamous conversation, and her present lewd and wicked way of living, exposes all unto her.

(y) T. Bab. Kiddushin, fol 76. 1.

For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.
18. five husbands] To be understood quite literally. They were either dead or divorced, and she was now living with a man without being married to him.

in that saidst thou truly] Better, this (one thing) thou hast said truly. Christ exposes the falsehood which lurks in the literal truth of her statement.

John 4:18. Πεντε, five) Five marriage connexions embraced almost the whole life of the woman; and by the mention of them He clearly recalled to the recollection of the woman her whole life.—ἄνδρας) He means husbands, as is evident from the subsequent antithesis. Whether they all died, or whether the woman lost some of them by other ways also, her own conscience, stirred up by the Lord, was suggesting.—οὐκ ἐστι, is not) This sixth marriage was not a lawful one, or else not consummated; either desertion, or some other impediment, arising from one or other of the two parties, had occurred to prevent it. The woman is not at all said to have renounced the man, at John 4:28.

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