The Ministry of Messiah, 2:13-12:50

2. New life in coming to Jesus, 4:1-54

i] Jesus and the woman at the well, 4:1-42

a) The water of life


Jesus' growing popularity in Judea forces him to leave and move back again to Galilee. While journeying through Samaria he comes to the village of Sychar and there meets a Samaritan women drawing water from the local well. The discourse on the water of life ensues.


Jesus is the source of spiritual life, the source of eternal sustenance - the life-giving Spirit. If we ask him for life eternal then it is ours as a gift.


i] Context: See 2:13-25. The second sign / discourse episode in John's gospel consists of Jesus' meeting with the Samaritan woman, 4:1-42 and the healing of the officers son, 5:1-47. The theme Jesus is the source of life nicely covers both the story of the woman at the well / the water of life, and the healing of the officer's son.

A second theme seems evident in this discourse, namely, the new form of worship appropriate for the messianic era. Israel's cult / the Temple is replaced with worship in Spirit and in truth, a worship which is personal / relationship based, in that it focuses on the Father, inaugurated by the Son, and realized in the Spirit. This discourse relates well to Jesus' cleansing of the temple and leaves us to endlessly wonder why John didn't relate the two more closely. Dodd recognizes the link by incorporating the miracle of water into wine, the cleansing of the temple, the discourses with Nicodemus and the woman at the well, and the healing of the officer's son, into a single unit covering 2:1-4:42. The cleansing surely took place toward the end of Jesus' ministry, as recorded in the synoptic gospels, and so placing it at the beginning of the gospel, and separate from the discourse before us, is to say the least, interesting. Of course, as noted in the introductory notes, John seems largely unconcerned with the way he has stitched together his homiletic / sermonic and sign / event source material, even though the individual elements are artistically constructed. This supports the theory that the gospel has been editorially constructed from Johannine source material.


ii] Background: The Samaritans: When the Assyrians captured Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel, in 722-721BC, they deported the leading Jews and imported other captured people's. When the Judean Jews returned after the Babylonian exile, a rift developed between them and the now interbred Samaritan Jews. In 400BC the Samaritans built a temple at Mount Gerizim in opposition to the temple in Jerusalem, and by 200BC accepted only the Pentateuch as scripture (the first 5 books of the Old Testament). The final rift occurred when the temple at Mount Gerizim was destroyed, Samaria besieged and the countryside devastated by the Hasmonean rulers of Judea, 111-107BC. Worship continued at the temple site after its destruction. Naturally, there was no love lost between Samaritans and Jews. A small number of Samaritan villages existed up to recent times in modern Syria, many being Christian, but they have been devastated by the civil war, 2012 +.


iii] Structure: This passage, The water of life, serving as the first part of the discourse Jesus and the Samaritan woman, presents as a chiasmus:

Setting, v1-6;

Discourse, v7-42:

A1. A Samaritan woman comes to Jesus, v7-9;

B1. Jesus and spiritual water, v10-15;

C. True worship, v16-26;

B2. Jesus and spiritual food, v27-38;

A2. Samaritan men come to Jesus, v39-42.


iv] Interpretation:

After setting the scene, v1-6, we are introduced to Christ the source of living water, v7-19. The water of Jacob's well cannot compare with the life-giving water that Christ provides. We then learn about effective worship, worship that is of spirit and truth, v20-26. Jesus, in the cleansing of the temple, exposes the dead worship of Israel, now he reveals the living worship of the new age. The worship of Jerusalem and Gerizim cannot compare with the worship of the new age in the Spirit.

It is often argued that the woman, by raising the issue of worship, is changing the subject out of embarrassment, although this is an unnecessary conclusion. She realizes Jesus is a prophet and as a prophet he can resolve a burning issue for her, and for Samaritans as a whole. She wants to know how a person can properly meet with God; is it at Mount Gerizim or Jerusalem? Jesus' answer is that it was Jerusalem, but now it is neither Mount Gerizim nor Jerusalem. Now a person meets with God in spirit and truth. In this conversation the woman moves from viewing Jesus as a prophet to viewing him as the messiah. "At the beginning of the conversation he did not make himself known to her, but first she caught sight of a thirsty man, than a Jew, then a Rabbi, afterwards a prophet, last of all the Messiah. She tried to get the better of the thirsty man, she showed dislike of the Jew, she heckled the Rabbi, she was swept off her feet by the prophet, and she adored the Christ", Ephraem the Syrian.


"You have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband", v18: The intent of Jesus' words is somewhat unclear. It is often taken that the woman has been married five times, these have ended in death, or divorce, and that the present relationship is either a de-facto one, or an illegal marriage, so Carson, Morris, Barrett, Beasley-Murray, Lindars, Schnackenburg, .... (technically the law only allows 3 marriages, although the divine ideal of a one-flesh union only allows for one sexual union, which of itself constitutes a marriage). Yet, the second clause more naturally implies that, other than the first relationship, all the others are on a par with the sixth, ie., she has had five "men" and this is number six, so Kostenberger. The stress on the word "husband / man" and the number "five", may indicate that John intends a symbolic interpretation, cf., 2King.17:24, but it seems more likely that the purpose of the revelation of her numerous relationships simply serves to confirm Jesus' prophetic credentials, or more pointedly, that he is the Christ. The woman's response in v19 underlines this interpretation, cf., Ridderbos. It is unlikely that Jesus is trying to expose her state of sin by his prophetic revelation. Given her obvious non-standing in polite society, little needs to be said. She, like so many in our world, just gets on with life as best she can. The point at issue is "come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done!"


Jesus is willing to evangelize Samaritans so why does he command his disciples to not evangelize them, Mt.10:5-6? In the context of Jesus training his disciples as evangelists, they are to go first to the "lost sheep of Israel" and then to the world. The apostle Paul maintains the same principle in his ministry. Carson notes that the disciples' willingness to call down fire on a Samaritan village because it didn't bring out the welcome mat indicates that they were probably not ready for "cross-cultural evangelism"!


v] Form: Alter in The Art of Biblical Narrative, 1981, argues that this narrative is controlled by a male with female betrothal type social context, but it more likely reflects a hospitality social context, guest with host, rather than male with female. The twist in the story comes when Jesus becomes the host and the woman and her neighbors become the guests.


vi] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 4:1

The water of life, v1-26: i] The scene is set, v1-6. The Pharisees note that Jesus' disciples are baptizing more people than John and so Jesus moves out of the danger zone of Judea, northward through Samaria to Galilee. Going via Samaria was the shortest route. The Samaritans were despised by pure-blood Jews, but not by the purist Jew.

oun "-" - Here resumptive / transitional, rather than inferential, so possibly "now"; "now a report had reached the ears of the Pharisees that Jesus ......", Cassirer.

wJV "-" - Here introducing a temporal clause; "now when the Lord leaned that ....", Moffatt.

oJ IhsouV "-" - Jesus. Variant oJ kurioV, "the Lord", so possibly as Moffatt above.

oJti "that" - [now when the Lord knew] that [the Pharisees heard] that [Jesus]. Both usages serve to introduce a dependent statement of perception expressing what the Lord knew and what the Pharisees heard.

poiei (poiew) pres. "was gaining" - makes [and baptizes]. The present tense is used to express the tense of the actual thought, although this is not retained in English. Most opt for "making", but "winning" or "gaining", as NIV, seems best.


kaitoige "although" - Concessive conjunction, emphatic.

autoV pro. "-" - he. Linked to the noun, as here ("Jesus"), this pronoun functions as a reflective pronoun, "himself"; "although Jesus himself did not baptize", Moffatt.

ouk ebaptizen (baptizw) imperf. "[it] was not [Jesus who] baptized" - was not baptizing. The imperfect is durative (progressive or continuing action) = Jesus was not baptizing during this period of time. In 3:22 we are told that Jesus and his disciples went into Judea and were baptizing. This may indicate that Jesus was baptizing then, but not now, although the parenthetical statement in 4:2 may also cover 3:22. McHugh suggests that the verse is simply an editorial comment "to ensure that 3:22 is not understood as implying that Jesus had during his earthly life admitted people to what was later called Christian baptism, for the first-century disciples knew instinctively that there was a genuine difference between baptism before, and Christian baptism after, Jesus' death." Certainly Jesus authorizes the rite, but for some reason separates his prime preaching role from that of baptizing. Note how the apostle Paul does the same thing. Calvin's comment is worth noting: Christ's baptism is "administered by the hands of other, to teach us that Baptism is not to be valued from the person of the minister, but that its whole force depends on the author."

all (alla) "but [his disciples]" - Adversative.


"When the Lord learned of this" - Transferred from v1, wJV ... egnw oJ IhsouV. Verses 1-3 form a single sentence in the Gk.

aphlqen (apercomai) aor. "went back" - departed. "He left Judea and started for Galilee again", CEV. Jesus obviously wants to minimize conflict with the religious authorities so he leaves Judea and moves north.


diercesqai (diercomai) pres. inf. "[he had] to go" - [it was necessary] to go through. The infinitive serves as the subject of the verb "is necessary"; "to pass through Samaria was necessary." The verb often carries the implication of divine necessity, but at the same time it may just be stating the obvious; to get to Galilee it is necessary to pass through Samaria, unless of course a person is foolish enough (or overly pious) to cross the Jordan and go around the long way via Transjordan. A pious Jew would usually travel through Samaria, but do it quickly, and then, having reached Judea or Galilee, dust themselves off to remove the polluting stain of, in their view, a godless people.

dia + gen. "through" - through in time or place.


oun "so" - therefore. Drawing a logical conclusion; "so as a result of [the decision to travel through Samaria]", McHugh.

eiV "to" - to, into. Spacial; properly proV, "to, toward."

polin (iV ewV) "a town" - a village, town. Usually of a small community, so "village".

logomenhn (legw) pres. pas. part. "called" - being called. The participle is adjectival, limiting "town", "a town which is called."

Sucar "Sychar" - The site is not definitely known, but possibly Askar on the edge of Mount Ebal opposite Mount Gerizim.

plhsion + gen. "near" - near, neighboring.

tou cwriou (on) gen. "the plot of ground" - the field. cf. Gen.33:19, 48:22, and particularly Josh.24:32 from which the gift is assumed.

tw/ Iwshf "to [his son] Joseph" - to Joseph [the son of him]. Dative of indirect object / interest, advantage, identified by the article since "Joseph" is indeclinable, although the article is a variant reading.


phgh (h) "[Jacob's] well" - a spring [of Jacob]. The genitive "of Jacob" is adjectival, of identification, "the well known as Jacob's well." The word "well" is properly "spring", but can be used of collected water. None-the-less, the well is fed by an underground spring and so the word rightly applies to Jacob's well. The well, assuming it is the one John is speaking of, is some 1,000 metres to the South of Askar. There is a spring at Askar and so it is strange that the woman comes to a well outside the village. She may be embarrassed to collect water along with the other women of the village (married 6 times and all that!), or she may just like the sweeter water found in Jacob's well rather than the lime-rich water that is found in the village.

oun "-" - therefore. Again drawing a logical conclusion; Jacob's well is nearby and so / therefore, because Jesus is tired out by the journey, he sits down beside the well.

kekopiakwV (kopiaw) perf. part. "tired as he was" - having become tired, weary. The participle is adverbial, causal; "Jesus, because he was tired from his journey."

ek + gen. "from" - from. out of [the journey]. Here denoting impersonal agency, cf. Wallace; "tired out by the journey", Cassirer.

ekaqezeto (kaqezomai) imperf. "sat" - he was sitting. The durative aspect of the imperfect makes it a strange choice of tense here. Possibly for vivid effect, but best read as perfective; "tired out by the journey he had sat down.

ou{twV adv. "-" - thus, so. Not found in all manuscripts. Brown suggests that this adverb modifies the verb "was sitting"; "he sat down without more ado" = "he had just sat down", McHugh.

epi + dat. "by [the well]" - Obviously spacial; "on, upon, against, near". Probably as NIV; "beside the well."

w{ra h\n wJV e{kth "it was about the sixth hour" - hour was about sixth. Around noon.


ii] A Samaritan woman come to Jesus, v7-9. Resting by a well, Jesus asks a Samaritan woman for a drink of water. She is taken aback by the request, given that Jews would not normally drink from the same utensil as a Samaritan.

ek "[a Samaritan woman]" - [a woman] out of, from [Samaria]. Expressing source / origin, although leaning toward a partitive sense.

antlhsai (antlew) aor. inf. "to draw water" - The infinitive is adverbial, final, expressing purpose; "in order to draw water." Again, it seems somewhat unusual to come and draw water at this time of the day. Possibly another example of the woman keeping away from the other villagers, but then she may just have run out of water. Timing is more related to the divine will, enacted in Christ, in seeking out the lost.

doV (didwmi) aor. imp. "will you give [me]" - give [me]. The imperative here should not be taken as a command, but rather a request, as NIV, see Wallace 478; "would you please give me a drink of water", CEV.

pein (pinw) aor. inf. "a drink" - to drink. The aorist may indicate "just a sip", McHugh. The infinitive functions as an object complement of the verb "give", complement to the assumed direct object "water"; "would you please give me some water to drink."


gar "-" - for. Here more explanatory than causal, explaining why Jesus was asking the woman for assistance - his disciples were off trying to buy food in the village.

apelhluqeisan (apercomai) pluperf. "had gone" - had gone away, departed. The pluperfect expresses antecedent action with ongoing results; the disciples had gone away and left Jesus alone.

iJna + subj. "to [buy food]" - that [they might buy food]. Forming a final clause expressing purpose; "in order that they might buy food."


oun "-" - Again drawing a logical conclusion. Given Jewish purity regulations, a Jewish rabbi asking a Samaritan woman for a drink from a vessel used by a Samaritan is surprising and necessitates a response; "Jews and Samaritans are not on friendly terms. So the woman said what makes you ask me for a drink?", Rieu.

autw/ dat. pro. "[said] to him" - Dative of indirect object.

w]n (eimi) pres. part. "you are [a Jew]" - [how you] being [a Jew]. The participle may be taken as adjectival, attributive, limiting "you", "you who are a Jew", Cassirer, or adverbial, concessive, "although you are a Jew."

ousthV (eimi) gen. part. "[a Samaritan woman]" - being [a Samaritan woman]. The participle forms a substantival phrase standing in apposition to emou, genitive in agreement, as NIV.

pwV adv. "how" - how, in what way. Interrogative adverb, introducing a direct question; "How is it that you ask me .....?", NJB.

par (para) + gen. "-" - [ask] from [me]. Expressing source / origin.

pein (pinw) aor. inf. "for a drink" - "(water) to drink. See v7.

gar "for" - More explanatory than causal serving to introduce a parenthetical comment as to why the woman was surprised at Jesus' request.

ou ... sugcrwntai (sugcraomai) pres. "do not associate" - do not associate, be friendly [with] / do not share common vessels ("use nothing in common", Barrett). The second more technical sense may be the one intended here; "no Jew would drink out of a cup that a Samaritan had used", Barclay.

SamaritaiV (hV ou) dat. "with Samaritans" - Instrumental dative, association. Interestingly both "Jew" and "Samaritan" is without an article.


iii] Jesus and spiritual water, v10-15: Jesus points out that she is the one who should be asking for a drink, not water as such, but "living water." The Samaritan woman assumes Jesus means running water. Does Jesus think he is greater than Jacob who gave the village this well? There is no fresh running creek nearby. Jesus points out that with his "living water" a person will never thirst again. The woman still can't quite grasp the fact that Jesus is using the image of fresh running water as a spiritual metaphor for the gift of eternal life. She thinks Jesus is promising some magical water that will overcome thirst. She would be happy to have some of this water and so never have to slave at this well ever again.

auth/ dat. pro "her" - [Jesus answered and said [to her]. Dative of indirect object.

ei + pluperf. ind. "if" - Introducing a 2nd class conditional clause where the condition is untrue. The apodosis (the "then" clause), introduced by a]n states what would have been true if the condition in the protasis (the "if" clause) were true; "if, as is not the case, ...... then ......."

tou qeou (oV) gen. "[the gift] of God" - The genitive is probably ablative, expressing source / origin, "the gift that comes from God." "The gift", thn dwrean, is probably "bountiful gift", a gift which is "irrevocable", BAGD.

oJ legwn (legw) pres. part. "[who it is] that asks [you for a drink]" - [who is] the one saying [to you give me to drink]. The participle functions as a substantive. If the woman had been aware of Jesus' identity, that he is the long-promised messiah who has come to give, rather than receive, then she would have responded by seeking what he freely offers.

zwn (zaw) pres. part. "living [water]" - The participle is adjectival, limiting "water"; "water which is living." See 7:38, similarly referring to Ezekiel 47, the life-giving water flowing from the temple, an image that possibly draws on the incident of the water that flowed from the rock during Israel's wilderness wanderings. "The metaphor speaks of God and his grace, knowledge of God, life, the transforming power of the Holy Spirit", Carson.


kurie (oV) voc. "Sir" - lord. Obviously used here as a term of respect only.

ou[te ....... kai - Serving to form two correlative clauses; "you have no ....... and ......."

baqu adj. "deep" - The water table at this point is about 30 metres below the surface. Andrew Thomson, a Scottish minister, described the well in 1869 as a hole about a metre in diameter, but filled with stone and then only about 5 metres deep. Numerous churches had been built on the site over the years, but were destroyed by Muslim invaders. Today the well is restored and is an Orthodox site.

poqen conj. "where" - from where [therefore do you have the living water?]. For the woman the phrase "living water" obviously refers to running water, water similar to that which feeds the well. In a dry region such as Samaria, where did Jesus think he was going to come up with fresh running water?


mh "-" - no. This negation is used in a question expecting a negative answer. su "[are] you" - you. Emphatic.

meizwn (megaV) comp. adj. "greater than" - greater. In the Pentateuch, the only one greater than Jacob was Moses, the one who struck the rock with his staff and from it flowed living water. One like this greater one would return to again lead his people, a prophet like Moses. Has the woman, at this stage in the conversation, an inkling that Jesus could be this greater one, or is she just expressing her "incredulity", Kostenberger?

autoV pro. "him" - he. Here taking a reflective sense.

ta qrammata (a atoV) "flocks and herds" - domesticated animals. Properly sheep and goats; "livestock", McHugh.


apekriqh (apokrinomai) aor. pas. "[Jesus] answered" - [Jesus] answered / replied [and said to her].

o pinwn (pinw) pres. part. "[everyone] who drinks" - The participle serves as an adjective, attributive, limiting "everyone", as NIV.

ek + gen. "-" - from [this water]. Expressing source / origin.

diyhsei (diyaw) fut. "will be thirsty [again]" - will thirst [again]. In a dry country like Palestine, with limited sources of water, thirst is a powerful image, an image that was constantly used as a metaphor for spiritual desire, cf. Ps.42:2, 63:1, 143:6. Yet, water, from whatever source, satisfies but for a moment.


d (de) "but" - but, and. Here obviously adversative, as NIV.

o}V ... an + subj. "whoever [shall drink]" - Forming an indefinite relative clause. Note that the verb "shall drink" is aorist which McHugh argues serves to emphasize the punctiliar nature of the action, so "whosoever shall take one sip of the water that I shall give him."

ou| gen. pro. "-" - which. Properly nominative, o{, but attracted to its antecedent.

egw pro. "I [give]" - I [will give]. Emphatic.

autw/ dat. pro. "him / them" - him. Dative of indirect object.

ou mh + fut. "[will] never [thirst]" - never [will thirst]. Emphatic negation, here with a future tense rather than a subjunctive.

eiV ton aiwna "-" - into the age. The phrase simply means "into the future and on / all future time." "Those who accept [Christ] and his gifts are thereafter permanently supplied, and their needs inwardly met", Barrett = eternal salvation. "Will never again suffer thirst", Cassirer.

alla "indeed" - but. Adversative; "but the water which I give him", Torrey.

aJllomenou (aJllomai) pres. part. "[a spring of water] welling up [to eternal life]" - [a spring of water] bubbling up / leaping up [into life eternal]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "a spring of water", "a bubbling over spring.". The covenant fulfilment imagery being expressed here is still probably drawing on Ezekiel 47, although Isaiah plays with similar imagery; "drawing water from the wells of salvation", cf. 12:3, 44:3, 49:10 (Rev.7:16), 55:1. "It is said of the Taheb (the Samaritan equivalent of the Messiah) that water shall flow from his buckets (an adaptation of Nu.24:7, cf. Bruce), Carson.

eiV zwhn aiwnion "to eternal life" - into life eternal, everlasting. "The metaphor of an internal fountain, gushing up inexhaustibly, suggests something of the richness of the new life that is made available through faith in Christ", Lindars. "A fountain of water springing up for eternal life", Torrey.


proV + acc. "[the woman said] to [him]" - to, toward. McHugh argues that the use of this preposition rather than the dative of indirect object, as used in the conversation so far, is a more respectful manner of address, so underlining "the seriousness and the sincerity of the woman's request."

iJna mh + subj. "that [I] won't [get thirsty]" - that [I may] not [thirst]. Introducing a final clause expressing purpose.

antlein (antlew) pres. inf. "to draw water" - to draw. The infinitive is adverbial, final, expressing purpose, "in order to draw water." The present tense here, and similarly for the verbs "give" and "thirst", is durative = "may not ever thirst again", "keep on coming here", and "continually drawing water", ie. a supplying of water, obviously a miraculous supply, which is eiV ton aiwna "into the age" - "for all future time." So, the woman is "clearly interested in the water that Jesus has to offer, but is still at a loss as to the water's origin", Kostenberger, and its spiritual nature, ie. "she thinks of his gift only as a labour-saving device", Lindars.


iv] True worship, v16-26: Jesus cuts through the woman's confusion by asking to see her husband. She admits she has none and Jesus confirms the truth of her answer, given that she has lived with five men and that her present partner is not really her husband. The woman assumes that Jesus must be a prophet and so seeks to have him sort out a long-standing quarrel between the Jews and the Samaritans over the authenticity of the temple of the Jews at Jerusalem and the temple of the Samaritans at Mount Gerizim. Jesus points out that the Jews have it right, but the time is coming when a new and radical means of approach to God renders any human sanctuary irrelevant. God is a spiritual being, and those who want to approach him and know him eternally must be spiritually renewed (born again, washed) through the indwelling Spirit of Christ, and this guided by his word. The woman recognizes that the coming messiah will reveal such truth. Jesus discloses, "I who speak to you am he." The Samaritan woman accepts Jesus' self disclosure. For her, Jesus is the messiah, the source of the life-giving Spirit of God.

uJpage (uJpagw) pres. imp. "go" - depart. "Go back home and invite your husband to join with us."


andra (hr oV) "husband" - man, husband. Jesus, in prophetic mode, is gently exposing the woman's dark secret, namely her numerous sexual relationships. Her answer to Jesus is technically correct; she has no husband, but she does have a lover.

kalwV adv. "you are right [when you say]" - well [you said]. Modal adverb. Said with "some irony", Zerwick.

oJti "-" - that. Forming a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what she rightly (in a technical sense) said. The verb, as is usual, expresses what she actually said, ie. "I have no husband."


gar "the fact is" - for. More explanatory than causal, as NIV.

esceV (ecw) aor. "you have had" - you had.

andraV (hr droV) "[five] husbands" - [five] husbands, men. "Husband / man" is emphatic by position.

touto alhqeV eirhkaV "what you have said is quite true" - The grammar is somewhat complex here: touto acc., "this", is the object of the verb "you have said", and alhqeV, acc., "truly", functions as a predicate adjective, cf. BDF 292; giving the sense "this, at all events, among all that thou has said, is true", Abbott.


oJti "that" - that. Introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what she sees.


Effective worship in spirit and truth.

prosekunhsan (proskunew) aor. "worshiped" - This "worship" word is often confused with worship as latreuw "doing service to God". Worship should rightly be understood as "doing obeisance."

en + dat. "on" - in, on. Local, expressing space / sphere.

tw/ orei toutw/ "this mountain" - Referring to Mount Gerizim (Ebal in the MT), the site the Samaritans claim was chosen by God as the authorized site for liturgical worship detailed by Moses, cf. Deut.12:5, 11, 14, 16:2, 26:2. The Pentateuch, the authorized scriptures for a Samaritan, does not confer religious superiority on Jerusalem, but other passages in the Old Testament do, eg. 2Chron.6:6.

uJmeiV "you Jews" - you. Emphatic. Plural = "you Jews."

oJti "that" - Introducing a dependent statement, indirect speech, expressing what the Jews say/claim. "That the place where one aught to worship is in Jerusalem."

oJ topoV (oV) "the place" - the place [where to worship is necessary is Jerusalem]. Obviously "the holy place" is intended.

proskunein (proskunew) pres. inf. "[we must] worship" - to worship. The infinitive functions as the subject of the verb "is necessary"; "it is necessary to worship" = "to worship is necessary."


pisteue (pisteuw) pres. imp. "believe" - An emphasizing statement indicating the importance of what follows, similar to "truly, truly I say to you", so Barrett.

moi dat. pro. "me" - Dative of direct object.

gunai (h aikoV) voc. "woman" - A technical address and not derogatory, "madam", Barrett; "believe me, Jesus said to her", Barclay.

oJti "-" - that. Introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what the Samaritans ("you" in "you shall worship" is plural) should take careful note of.

w{ra "a time [is coming]" - hour. Often referring to the eschatological "hour", the coming day of judgment and redemption, possibly the day of Christ's glory (the cross), Brown, but better here, as elsewhere in John, "denoting the time after Jesus' departure", McHugh.

tw/ patri (hr roV) dat. "[you will worship] the Father" - [you will do obeisance to] the Father. Dative of direct object after the verb proskunhsete, "you will worship"; standard LXX usage.

oute .... oute "neither ... nor" - Negated comparative construction; "neither this nor that." Samaritans "will no longer be faced with a choice between two places of worship", Kostenberger.


uJmeiV "you Samaritans" - you. Emphatic.

o} neut. pro. "[worship] what" - [worship] that which. An interesting use of the neuter when the masculine "him whom" would have been expected. Murray suggests that the worship of both Samaritans and Jews never reached "the height of personal communication." None-the-less, Beasley-Murray notes Schlatter's point that a neuter can properly be used for the Person of God.

ouk oidate "you do not know" - The Samaritans worshipped on Mount Gerizim out of ignorance, although not necessarily without sincerity. Their problem lay in being detached from the ongoing "stream of God's saving revelation", Carson. For the Jews, on the other hand, who continued to receive God's saving revelation, "the object of their worship was known to them."

oJti "for [salvation is from the Jews]" - for. Here possibly introducing a causal clause explaining why the worship offered by Jews is more truth-based than that offered by the Samaritans, but it could also be epexegetic, forming an explanatory clause (usually formed by iJna + subj.). The Jews, as the recipients of the true knowledge of God, worship what they know, which situation exists "because" (oJti) God elected to use Israel as the source of salvation for the whole world. Jesus is not saying that Israel, as a whole is saved, rather that Israel bears the covenant promise of a blessing to the world, which blessing (salvation) is realized in the messiah, a son of Israel. Nor do Jesus' words run counter to his criticism of Israel's religion (prompting the suggestion that we have here an editorial comment). Jesus, the messiah, is a Jew, the remnant of faithful Israel, so indeed salvation comes from the Jews.

hJ swthria (a) "salvation" - the salvation. Morris suggests that the article is significant, indicating the particular "messianic salvation that comes from this nation (Israel)."

ek "from [the Jews]" - out of, from. Expressing source / origin; "originates from among the Jews."


alla "yet" - but. Adversative.

nun adv. "[and has] now [come]" - [and] now [is]. Temporal adverb. It could be argued that this is an editorial addition to Jesus' words, but Jesus often expresses the immediacy of the kingdom, its now / not yet reality. Although Samaritan worship is not based on truth and Jewish worship is, a truth that brings salvation to the world, a new situation has emerged in Christ where Jewish worship has become obsolete.

o{te "when" - Introducing a temporal clause.

alhqinoi adj. "[the] true [worshipers]" - true / genuine. The sense "genuine / authentic" is to be preferred.

tw/ patri (oV) dat. "[worship] the Father" - [do obeisance to] the Father. Dative of direct object.

en + dat. "in" - in, on. Local, expressing space / sphere; "in the sphere of S/spirit and truth."

pneumati kai alhqeia/ "spirit and truth" - Ridderbos suggests a hendiadys (a single idea expressed by two separate words joined by kai); eg. "a truthful Spirit / truly spiritual". Most commentators don't think that the phrase is a hendiadys, but since both nouns are anarthrous (without articles) and are governed by the same preposition en then together the two words, "spirit / spiritual" (not "Holy Spirit" here, contra Pfitzner) and "truth / word" "encompass the same overall idea", Kostenberger. Morris, quoting E.C. Blackman, sees the expression as demanding worship "conformable to the divine nature which is spirit, and determined by the truth which God has made available concerning himself." It is in our relationship with Jesus, the incarnate Word / truth, the fountain of the Holy Spirit, that we are able to offer acceptable adoration to God; True worship "can only take place in and through him (Christ): he is the true temple 2:19-22), he is the resurrection and the life (11:25)", Carson.

kai gar "for" - and for. The kai here is probably emphatic, so "for indeed / in fact."

touV proskunountaV (proskunew) pres. part. "the [kind of] worshipers" - [of such a kind / such as these] the ones worshiping. The participle functions as a substantive. The last clause is missing from some manuscripts.

zhtei (zhtew) pres. "seeks" - seeks, enquires. Lindars argues that the sense here is "demands", or "requires", given the verb dei, "it is necessary" (a divine imperative????), in the next verse. "Indeed, what the Father requires is worshippers such as these", Cassirer.


pneuma oJ QeoV "God is spirit" - As with "God is light" and "God is love", this statement describes "God's mode of action and working", Beasley-Murray. God is "spirit" ("spiritual", as opposed to material), in the sense of being "invisible, divine as opposed to human, life-giving and unknowable to human beings, unless he chooses to reveal himself", Carson.

touV proskunountaV (proskunew) pres. part. "[his] worshipers" - the ones worshiping [him]. The participle serves as a substantive.

proskunein (proskunew) pres. inf. "[must] worship" - [it is necessary] to worship. The infinitive serves as the subject of the verb "is necessary."


autw/ "-" - [the woman said] to him. Dative of indirect object.

oida (ginwskw) perf. "I know" - Some manuscripts have oidamen "we know."

oJti "that" - Introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what the woman knows.

MessiaV "Messiah" - She probably does use the word for the Jewish messiah, but then one can certainly imagine her saying "I know that the Taheb is coming, whom you call the Messiah", cf. Lindars, although there is no clear evidence that the Samaritan Taheb ("the Restorer", Deut.18:18) is equivalent to the Jewish messiah.

oJ legomenoV (oV) "called [Christ]" - the one being called [Christ]. The participle serves as a substantive, standing in apposition to "Messiah". Properly treated as a parenthesis, here an editorial translation of the Jewish word "messiah".

oJtan + subj. "when" - Introducing an indefinite temporal clause.

ekeinoV dem. pro. "he [comes]" - This resumptive is emphatic.

anaggelei (anaggellw) fut. "he will explain" - report, announce, tell / explain, interpret, disclose. The Johannine use "interpret" is likely.

aJpanta adj. "everything" - Emphatic by position. A slight overstatement on the woman's part. The woman has obviously come to view Jesus as a prophet, even a prophet like Moses, someone greater than Jacob, and as was commonly accepted, "a prophet knows everything", McHugh, although doesn't necessarily tell us everything. Yet, she senses more than a prophet - is Jesus the Jews' long-awaited Davidic messiah?

hJmin dat. pro. "to us" - Dative of indirect object.


egw eimi "I [who speak to you] am he / I [the one speaking to you] am he" - I am. This is the first of the great "I am" statements in John, all of which carry the underlying sense of a divine self-revelation. Jesus is the Great I AM, cf. Ex.3:14.

oJ lalwn (lalew) pres. part. "who speak / the one speaking" - the one speaking [to you]. The participle functions as a substantive in apposition to the emphatic "I". Possibly "I" = "the one speaking" ("the Word of God incarnate", McHugh = "the Revealer") = Messiah, but it seems more likely that the clause is virtually parenthetical, forming an enclosure of revelation between this verse and verse 10. Barrett reads it thus: "I (who am speaking to you) am the Christ you speak of." It is interesting how Jesus has no reluctance revealing his messianic credentials to a Samaritan.


John Introduction



[Pumpkin Cottage]