Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

John 4:3-19
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: John 4:3
v3: Judging from a clue John gives us (v35) Jesus apparently remained in Judea for about eight months. But when a warning arrived that the Pharisees, who shared with the temple leadership a hatred for Jesus (Jn 7:32), had discovered where He was and what was happening, Jesus knew they would soon try to arrest Him. Yet it was far too early in His ministry to allow that to happen. His disciples needed much more teaching and training, and there were many people still waiting to be saved, healed or delivered. So He immediately left Judea and returned to Galilee by the shortest possible route, straight through Samaria.

Monday: John 4:4
v4: John uses a word in this statement that implies that there was an urgency that motivated Jesus to travel through Samaria. He said, “And it was necessary for Him to go through Samaria” (literal). In the record of his own life, the Jewish historian Josephus mentioned that if a person was in a hurry they would take the road that led through Samaria. He wrote, “…and it was absolutely necessary for those that go quickly [to Jerusalem] to pass through that country, for in that road you may, in three days’ time, go from Galilee to Jerusalem” (Josephus, Life; 269). Yet pious Jews, when traveling between Galilee and Judea, would often go around the region in order to avoid conflict with the inhabitants (Lk 9:51-56) or contacting something that would make them ceremonially unclean. Jesus did not avoid Samaria for those reasons, but John’s choice of words tell us that He was in a hurry to leave Judea.

Tuesday: John 4:5-9
vs5-9: On the way He stopped to rest at Jacob’s well, outside the city of Sychar (near modern Nablus). The well, which is still there today, is located about 35 miles north of Jerusalem. John even tells us the time of day they arrived. He says it was about the “sixth hour,” which means it was either six in the morning by Roman time or noon by Jewish time. Whichever time it was, Jesus had walked a long distance and was physically exhausted. His disciples had gone into the city to buy food, so He sat alone by the well until a woman walked up with a bucket and a rope. The well is over 100 feet deep. Jesus asked her to give Him a drink, which surprised her because a Jewish man would not normally want to drink from a vessel used by a Samaritan because, by that point in history, the Jews thought they would become ceremonially unclean if they even touched a Gentile (non-Jew), let alone ate or drank from the same utensils (Jn 18:28; Ac 10:28; 11:3).

Wednesday: John 4:10
v10: The woman challenged Jesus to explain why He dared to ask her for a drink since she obviously knew how Jews felt about Samaritans. His response shows that He had already perceived her spiritual condition before He spoke. He knew she had lived rebelliously, determined to find fulfillment even if she had to break the rules (vs17-18), but it hadn’t worked. Life had become “dry.” This was why, after asking for a drink of water, Jesus went straight for her heart. He told her that there was a way to fill the emptiness inside, to quench her thirst for God. He basically told her it was possible for God’s Spirit to live within her. He said, “If you had seen the gift of God (the promise in the Scriptures that God would send the Holy Spirit), and who is the One saying to you, ‘Give me a drink’ (the Messiah), you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water (the baptism in the Holy Spirit).”

Thursday: John 4:11-15
vs11-15: In the Jewish culture the term “living water” could mean clean, fresh water that flowed from a natural source, so her initial confusion is understandable. She said, “Sir, you have no bucket and the well is deep, where then do you have the living water? You aren’t greater than our father Jacob who gave us the well and drank of it himself, and [also] his sons and his cattle, are you?” (literal). She appears to be asking if He has a supply of water stored somewhere or plans to dig another well. He replied that He was speaking of a special kind of water that quenches a person’s thirst forever. He said, “All those drinking from this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks from the water I will give him, will (not/not) never be thirsty again into the [Messianic] age, but the water I will give him will become in him a well/spring/fountain of water leaping up to eternal life” (literal). The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water so that I will not thirst nor keep coming here to draw” (literal). She seems to think He’s talking about a magical form of water rather than the Spirit.

Friday: John 4:11-15
vs11-15 (continued): One of the main points John the Baptist regularly proclaimed about the coming Messiah was that He would bring with Him the promised baptism in the Holy Spirit (Mt 3:11; Jn 1:33; 3:34). He said when the Messiah arrived believers would no longer be spiritually thirsty for God; we would be immersed into and filled up with His glorious presence. For centuries the prophets had been promising that a day would come when people would enjoy unlimited access to God Himself, which is the greatest delight any human can experience. The quenching of this thirst for God was what Jesus was offering to this woman, and through her example, to all who would believe in Him (Jn 7:37, 39). Later on, the apostle John will explain that the water Jesus was talking about is the “baptism in the Holy Spirit” which did not arrive until after He was resurrected and ascended into heaven (Jn 7:39). People began to receive this new “baptism” at the Day of Pentecost (Ac 2:1-13), and then from that time forward it has been available to all who believe (including children) (Ac 2:38-39).

Saturday: John 4:16-19
vs16-19: The woman asked Jesus to give her this gift, but as we learned earlier when we listened to Jesus’ dialogue with Nicodemus (Jn 3:1-8), in order to receive the Spirit in this way she needed to be “born from above” (Jn 3:3). For that to happen she must first be “born of water” and then “born of the Spirit” (Jn 3:5). As we saw earlier, the term “born of water” means to embrace the same attitudes that Jesus expressed when He was baptized in the Jordan River. This means we will not only repent for past sins but fully surrender to God’s will for our lives even to the point of death. For that to happen in this woman’s life she would need to surrender her dysfunctional relationship with men. To expose this troubled area of her heart Jesus simply said, “Go, call your husband, and come here” (literal). In this way He focused her attention on the place where her healing must begin (A. Plummer, John, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1893, p.118). Her reply was intentionally deceptive. She tried to mislead Him by telling Him only part of the truth. She answered, “I have no husband,” which at that moment in time was indeed true, but she planned to hide from Him the fact that she had previously been married five times, and at present was living with a man to whom she was not married. However, she soon discovered that she was dealing with someone who possessed supernatural knowledge. Jesus said to her, “You spoke accurately when you said ‘I have no husband’ for you had five husbands, and now he whom you have is not your husband. What you said is true’” (literal). Then she said to Him, “Sir, I observe that You are a prophet.” 

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