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John 4

Departure From Judea

1 So when the Lord knew that the Pharisees heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John— 2 and yet Jesus himself was not really baptizing anyone, instead his disciples [were]— 3 he left Judea and departed again into Galilee.

Conversation With a Samaritan Woman

4 Now it was necessary for him to be going through Samaria. 5 1 So he comes into [a] city of Samaria, that is being called Suchar, near the piece of land that Jacob gave to Joseph his son. 6 Now the well of Jacob2 was there. So Jesus having become weary from the journey was sitting by the well. It was [about] [the] sixth3 [hour]. 7 [A] woman from Samaria comes to draw water. Jesus says to her: Give me [some] to drink. 8 For his disciples had departed into the city, that they buy food. 9 So the Samaritan woman says to him: How do you being [a] Jew ask4 to drink from me who is [a] Samaritan woman? (For the Jews do not have dealings with the Samaritans.)

10 Jesus answered and said to her: If you had known the gift of God and who is the [one] saying to you: Give me [some] to drink, you would have asked4 him and he would have given to you zoe-living5 water. 11 She says to him: Lord, you have no bucket and the well is deep; whence then do you get the zoe-living5 water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob who gave the well2 to us and he himself drank from it and his sons and his animals?6 13 Jesus answered and said to her: Everyone drinking from this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks from the water that I will give to him, he will not thirst for eternity, but the water that I will give to him will become in him [a] well of water springing-up7 to eternal zoe-life5. 15 The woman says to him: Lord, give me this water, that I not be thirsting nor be coming here to be drawing [water]. 16 He says to her: Be going, call your husband and come here. 17 The woman answered and said: I do not have [a] husband. Jesus says to her: You said well: I do not have [a] husband. 18 For you have had five husbands, and whom you now have is not your husband. This truly you have said.

19 The woman says to him: Lord, I perceive that you are [a] prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped in these mountains8, and you [people]9 say that in Jerusalem is the place where [one] must be worshipping. 21 Jesus says to her: Be believing me, lady,10 that [an] hour comes when neither in these mountains nor in Jerusalem will you [people]9 worship the father. 22 You [people]9 worship what you do not know, we worship what we do know, because salvation is from the Jews. 23 But an hour comes and now is when the true worshippers will worship the father in spirit and truth, for indeed the father seeks such [to be] his worshipping [ones]. 24 God is spirit, and [his] worshipping [ones] must be worshipping in spirit and truth. 25 The woman says to him: We know that [a] Messiah is coming, the [one] being called. When that [one] comes, he will declare to us everything. 26 Jesus says to her: I am [he], the [one] speaking to you.

The Disciple Return

27 And at this [point] his disciples came and were marveling that he spoke with [a] woman. Nevertheless no one said: What do you seek? or Why do you speak with her? 28 So the woman left her water jar and departed into the city, and says to the men: 29 Come see [a] man that told me all that I did. Is this the Christ?6 30 They came out of the city and were coming to him.

Workers for the Harvest

31 In the meanwhile the disciples were asking11 him saying: Rabbi, eat. 32 But he said to them: I have bread to eat that you do not know.12 33 So the disciples were saying to one another: Did [someone] bring to him [something] to eat?6 34 Jesus says to them: My food is that I do the will of the [one] having sent me and accomplish his work. 35 Are you not saying that there is yet four months and [then] the harvest comes? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and behold the fields that they are white already for [the] harvest. 36 Already the [one] harvesting receives wages and gathers fruit for eternal zoe-life5, so that the [one] sowing and the [one] harvesting together rejoice. 37 For in this the word is true that one is the [one] sowing and another [is] the [one] harvesting. 38 I sent you to be harvesting what you have not labored [for]; others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.

The Samaritans Respond

39 Now out of that city many of the Samaritans believed in him because of the word of the woman testifying that: He said to me all that I did. 40 So as the Samaritans came to him, they were asking11 him to abide with them, and he abode there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 And to the woman they were saying, We no longer believe because [of your] speaking, for we ourselves have heard and know that this is truly the savior of the world.

Onward to Galilee

43 Now after the two days he went out from there to Galilee. 44 For Jesus himself testified that [a] prophet does not have honor in his own native-land. 45 So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans received him, having seen everything that he did in Jerusalem in the festival, for they also came to the feast.

Healing the Royal Official's Son

46 So he came again to Cana of Galilee, where he made the water [into] wine. And there was [a] certain king's officer whose son was sick in Capernaum. 47 This [one] having heard that Jesus is come out of Judea to Galilee, departed to him and asked11 that he come down and heal his son, for he was [about] to be dying. 48 So Jesus said to him: If you do not see [a] sign and [a] wonder, you [people]9 would not believe! 49 The king's officer says to him: Lord, come down before my son dies. 50 Jesus says to him: Be going, your son zoe-lives5. The man believed the word that Jesus said to him, and he was going.

51 Now already when he was going his slaves met him saying that his child zoe-lives5. 52 So he inquired of them the hour in which he was better; so they said to him that: Yesterday [the] seventh hour13 the fever left him. 53 So the father knew that it [was] the hour in which Jesus said to him: Your son zoe-lives5, and he believed [in] him and his whole house. 54 This second sign Jesus again did coming out of Judea to Galilee.

1Compare the following story with: Abraham's servant and Rebecca (Gen 24:10-33), Jacob and Rachel (Gen 29:1–14), Moses and Zipporah (Ex 2:15–22). In all these stories the man is on a journey and it is about noon.

  • The bridegroom travels to a foreign land where

  • he encounters a woman or group of women at a well.

  • One of the characters draws water.

  • The woman returns home to tell about the encounter with the stranger.

  • There is an invitation to a meal, a betrothal followed by a wedding.

Jesus, at Cana, was the true Bridegroom who provided good wine ( John.2:9). He has been named as the bridegroom by John the Baptist ( John.3:29). As bridegroom he comes to the well and meets a woman who is both an individual and a representative of her people. He requests water then she requests water from him. After their discussion she returns to her village to speak of her encounter and, while there is no betrothal, there is an invitation to stay ( John.4:40) and by the conclusion of this scene there is a significant union between the Samaritan villagers and Jesus.

2While the Fourth Gospel makes two references to the well as that of Jacob (vv. 6, 12), Genesis has no record of such a well, although it does mention Jacob's gift of land around Shechem to his son Joseph (Gen 33:19; 48:22). It is in the Targums (the Aramaic translations of the O.T. used in Synagogue worship) and the later rabbinic literature that well traditions linked to Jacob can be found. When Jacob arrives in Haran seeking a wife, he comes to the local well. According to the Targums, Jacob's presence brings a miraculous welling up of water that lasts twenty years.

"When our father Jacob raised the stone from above the mouth of the well, the well overflowed and came up to its mouth, and was overflowing for twenty years—all the days that he dwelt in Haran." (Targum Neofiti to Gen 28:10)

3approx. noon. Hours were counted from dawn—approx. 6.a.m.

4AITEO "ay-TEH-oh" (αιτεω) "request", "demand", "beg" something for oneself. Far from humbly requesting—it's more like 'demanding'. Jesus uses AITEO only of the prayer of others, not of His own (cf. John.16:26)—and not requesting things for Himself, only for others. AITEO seems to suppose a lesser degree of intimacy than EROTAO (ερωταω), hence AITEO is used of the requests of the disciples to God, but EROTAO of the requests of the disciples to Jesus, and of those of Jesus to the Father ( John.14:16). AITEO is demanding/begging/pleading, EROTAO is polite and friendlier. Both AITEO and EROTAO occur in John.16:26.

5from ZOE "ZOH-ay" (ζωη)—Life 'collectively', interdependent, interconnected. Although it means 'life' in the conventional sense (for example: Matt.9:18, Matt.27:63, Luke.2:36, Acts.25:24, Rom.7:2, 2Cor.1:8, 1Thes.4:17, 1Tim.5:10, Rev.19:20), Jesus uses ZOE exclusively of 'life eternal' (with the possible exceptions of Luke.15:13, Luke.16:25). The other N.T. writers use ZOE in both senses—temporal and eternal, generally clear from the context. The Father is the 'zoe-living God' (see Matt.16:16). The Septuagint (LXX) in Gen.2:7 has "...[God] breathed into his nostrils the breath of zoe-life, and the man became a zoe-living psyche-life" (and see 1Cor.15:45); and Gen.3:20 (LXX) "And Adam called his wife's name ZOE, because she was the mother of all zoe-living." Contrast PSYCHE (ψυχη): an individual manifestation of life/consciousness. See John.12:25 where both ZOE and PSYCHE occur. Greek also has the word BIOS (βιoς ) for 'life' in the sense of biological processes.

6Grammar indicates "no" answer expected or expresses uncertainty

7a quick movement (like jumping) on the part of living beings. "Gushing-up"

8The discussion with the Samaritan woman takes place at the foot of Mt. Gerizim where it is likely that the remains of the Samaritan Temple would have been visible to one standing beside Jacob's well. This helps explain the context shift here.

9"you" is plural

10GYNE "GOO-nay" (γυνη) literally "Woman," which was a respectful form of address.

11EROTAO (ερωταω) "Ask", but more polite, not demanding/begging as is AITEO. Both AITEO and EROTAO occur in John.16:26.

12The dialogue with the disciples about food (vv. 31–34) mirrors the exchange between Jesus and the Samaritan woman about drink (vv. 9–15). The woman/disciples speak about water/food at a material level whereas Jesus uses the images of water/food to speak of a different type of sustenance.

13approx. 1 p.m.