The Ministry of Messiah, 2:1-12:50

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.


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 their own 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 civil war in recent years.


iii] Structure: The water of life:

The first part of the discourse 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, exposed 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, although 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 certainly not by Jesus.

oun "-" - therefore. Transitional, rather than inferential, so possibly "now"; "now a report had reached the ears of the Pharisees that Jesus ......", Cassirer.

wJV "-" - when. This temporal conjunction serves to introduce a temporal clause; "now when the Lord leaned that ....", Moffatt.

oJ IhsouV "-" - jesus. Nominative subject of the verb "to do." Variant oJ kurioV, "the Lord", so possibly as Moffatt above.

oJti "that" - [knew] that [the pharisees heard] that [jesus]. Both usages in this verse serve to introduce an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what the Lord knew and what the Pharisees heard. The aorist "knew" is probably ingressive (the stress is on the beginning of the action) so "when Jesus found out that ...."

poiei (poiew) pres. "was gaining" - makes [and baptizes more disciples]. 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.

h] "than [John]" - or [john]. The disjunctive particle here serves as a comparative; "more than John."


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 this 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 others, 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."

kaitoige "although" - Concessive conjunction, emphatic; "although."

autoV pro. "-" - [jesus] he = himself. Linked to the noun, as here ("Jesus"), this personal 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.

all (alla) "but [his disciples]" - but [the disciples of him]. Strong adversative standing in a counterpoint construction; "not ...., but ...."


"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" - he left [judea and departed again into galilee]. "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" - [but/and it was necessary him] to pass through. The infinitive serves as the subject of the verb "was necessary"; "he to pass through Samaria was necessary", but note 3:7. The pronoun auton, "he", serves as the accusative subject of the infinitive. The verb dew, "it is necessary", 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 (in their view) of a godless people.

dia + gen. "through [Samaria]" - Local, through a place. Note typical repetition of a compound verb's prefix, here dia of diercesqai, "to pass through"


oun "so" - therefore. Inferential, establishing a logical connection; "so as a result of the decision to travel through Samaria", McHugh.

eiV "to" - [he comes] to, into. Spacial; given that eiV expresses movement into and arrival at, the preposition is used here for proV which expresses movement toward.

thV SamareiV (a) "[a town] in Samaria." - [a village, town] of samaria. The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / local; "a village located in Samaria." The noun polin will often refer to a small community, so "village".

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

Sucar "Sychar" - Accusative direct object of the participle "being called." The site is not definitely known, but possibly Askar on the edge of Mount Ebal opposite Mount Gerizim.

plhsion + gen. "near" - Spacial improper preposition; "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" - [which jacob gave] to joseph [the son of him]. Dative of indirect object / interest, advantage, identified by the article since "Joseph" is indeclinable, although note that the article is a variant reading.


The well, assuming it is the one John is speaking of, is some 1,000 meters 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.

de "-" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the narrative.

phgh (h) "[Jacob's] well" - [there was there] a spring [of jacob]. The genitive "of Jacob" is adjectival, possibly possessive, as NIV, but possibly also idiomatic / 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.

oun "-" - therefore. Again inferential, establishing a logical connection; Jacob's well is nearby and so Jesus, tired out by the journey, sits down beside the well.

kekopiakwV (kopiaw) perf. part. "tired as he was" - [Jesus] having become tired, weary. The participle is adverbial, best treated as causal; "so 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 [at the well]. Adverb of manner. 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."

wJV "[it was] about [the sixth hour]" - [the hour was] as, like [sixth]. Here the comparative particle is used to express approximation; "it was around noon."


ii] A Samaritan woman comes 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. It seems somewhat unusual to come and draw water at this time of the day. Possibly again prompted by the woman wanting to keep 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.

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" - [coming] to draw water. The infinitive is adverbial, final, expressing purpose; "in order to draw water."

doV (didwmi) aor. imp. "will you give" - [jesus says to her] give. 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.

moi dat. pro. "me" - to me. Dative of indirect object after the verb "to give."

pein (pinw) aor. inf. "a drink" - to drink. The aorist may indicate "just a sip", McHugh. The infinitive may function as a substantive, direct object of the verb "to give", "give a drink to me" = "give me a drink", ESV, or adverbial, final, expressing purpose, "in order to", with an assumed dative of direct object, so Novakovic; "would you please give me some water to drink."


gar "-" - for. More reason than cause, introducing an editorial explanation backgrounding Jesus' request - his disciples were off trying to buy food in the village.

apelhluqeisan (apercomai) pluperf. "had gone" - [the disciples of him] had gone away, departed [into the town]. Like the perfect tense, the pluperfect expresses antecedent action with ongoing results, except that it pushes the action further into the past, usually expressed in English by "had"; the disciples had gone away and left Jesus alone in order to buy supplies.

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


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.

oun "-" - therefore. Inferential, establishing a logical connection with v7, "so".

hJ samaritiV (iV idoV) "[The] Samaritan [woman]" - [the woman] the samaritan. Technically we could classify the noun "Samaritan" as standing in apposition to "woman", but it virtually functions as an attributive adjective limiting woman", as NIV. The article with gunh, "the woman", refers back to "woman" in v7, so "this particular Samaritan woman ....."

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

w]n (eimi) pres. part. "you are [a Jew]" - [how you] being [a jew ask to drink from me]. The participle is best taken as adjectival, attributive, limiting "you", "you who are a Jew", Cassirer, but possibly adverbial, concessive, "although you are a Jew."

oushV (eimi) gen. part. "-" - being [a woman, a samaritan]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting emou, "me", genitive in agreement, as NIV, but it could be treated as adverbial, concessive, "although a Samaritan woman."

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. As v.

gar "for" - More reason than cause, introducing a parenthetical comment / an editorial comment explaining the social background prompting the woman's surprise .

ou ... sugcrwntai (sugcraomai) pres. "do not associate" - [jews] do not associate, be friendly / do not share common vessels ("use nothing in common", Barrett). Possibly with the sense "do not associate with Samaritans", but 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, expressing association. Note both "Jew" and "Samaritan" is without an article.


iii] Jesus and spiritual water, v10-15: Jesus points out that the woman 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" - if, as is not the case [you knew the gift of god ........, then you would have asked him ....]. Introducing a 2nd class conditional clause where the proposed 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.

tou qeou (oV) gen. "[the gift] of God" - The genitive may be treated as ablative, expressing source / origin, "the gift that comes from God", or adjectival, subjective, "the gift given by 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" - [and who is] the one saying [to you give me to drink]. The participle serves 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.

soi dat. pro. "you" - to you. Dative of indirect object.

doV moi pein "for a drink" - give water to me to (in order to) drink. See v7.

zwn (zaw) pres. part. "living [water]" - [and he would have given you] living [water]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, 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.


Andrew Thomson, a Scottish minister, described the well in 1869 as a hole about a meter in diameter, but filled with stone and then only about 5 meters 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 incorporated within an Orthodox site.

kurie (oV) voc. "Sir" - [the woman says to him] lord. Obviously only used here as a term of respect.

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

baqu adj. "deep" - [you have no bucket and the well is] deep. Predicate adjective. The water table at this point is about 30 meters below the surface.

poqen adv. "where" - from where [therefore do you have]. Adverb of place. 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?

to zwn (zaw) pres. part. "[this] living [water]" - [the water] the one living. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "water", as NIV. Note the article of previous reference used with "water". The woman is referring to "that water", the water that Jesus was talking about.


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?

mh "-" - no. This negation is used in a question expecting a negative answer. Here the question is rhetorical.

su "[are] you" - you. Emphatic by position and use.

meizwn (megaV) comp. adj. + gen. "greater than" - greater. Comparative predicate adjective.

IakwB "Jacob" - [the father of us], Jacob. Standing in apposition to "the father [of us]", genitive of comparison after meizwn.

hJmin dat. pro. "[gave] us [the well]" - [who gave the well] to us. Dative of indirect object.

ex + gen. "from [it]" - [and drank] from [it]. Expressing source / origin.

autoV pro. "himself" - he = himself. Here the use of the personal pronoun is emphatic and so best expressed with a reflective sense, "he himself".

ta qrammata (a atoV) "flocks and herds" - [and the sons of him and] the domesticated animals [of him]. Properly sheep and goats; "livestock", McHugh.


apekriqh (apokrinomai) aor. pas. "[Jesus] answered" - [jesus] answered / replied [and said to her]. The "answered and said" introduction to speech is common Semitic form.

o pinwn (pinw) pres. part. "[everyone] who drinks" - [every] the one drinking. If we take the adjective paV, "all, every", as a substantive, "everyone", then the participle is adjectival, 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.


The covenant fulfillment 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. "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.

d (de) "but" - but, and. Transitional, indicating a step in the dialogue, usually translated here as an adversative, as NIV.

o}V ... an + subj. "whoever [drinks]" - whoever [drinks]. Introducing an indefinite relative clause. Note that the verb "shall drink" is aorist which, as 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."

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

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" - to him. Dative of indirect object.

ou mh + fut. "[will] never [thirst]" - not not = 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. Strong adversative in a counterpoint construction; "not ......, but ......" "But the water which I give him", Torrey.

en + dat. "in [them]" - [the water which i will given him will become] in [him]. Local, expressing space, metaphorical.

uJdatoV (wr toV) gen. "[a spring] of water" - [a spring] of water. The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / possibly content; "a spring which is full of water."

aJllomenou (aJllomai) pres. part. "welling up" - bubbling up / leaping up. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "a spring of water", "a bubbling over spring.".

eiV + acc. "to [eternal life]" - into [life eternal, everlasting]. Expressing an action which implies movement toward and arrival at, but here obviously metaphorical so either end-view / goal, "destined for, with a view to", or result, "resulting in eternal life." "A fountain of water springing up for eternal life", Torrey.


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.

proV + acc. "[the woman said] to [him]" - [the woman says] toward [him, sir]. McHugh argues that this preposition, which expresses movement toward, is used here instead of the dative of indirect object. He makes the point that it is a more respectful manner of address, so underlining "the seriousness and the sincerity of the woman's request."

iJna + subj. "so that" - [give this water to me] that. Introducing a final clause expressing purpose, "in order that."

mh ....mhde "[I wo]n't [get thirsty] and" - [i may] not [thirst] nor [come here]. Negated correlative construction.

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, so possibly "may not ever thirst again", "keep on coming here", and "continually drawing water." If a durative intent is present, the woman is speaking of a miraculous supply of water which is eiV ton aiwna "into the age" - "for all future time."


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" - [he says to her] depart [call the husband of you and come here]. The present tense is often preferred for verbs of motion, but interestingly the third imperative in this sentence, elqe, "come", another verb of motion, is aorist. Maybe motion is not envisaged; "Go back home and invite your husband to join with us."


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 legal husband at the moment, but she does have a lover. Jesus will draw out her "a husband" (emphatic by position) in the next verse. His "five husbands" is also emphatic by position.

andra (hr oV) "husband" - [the woman answered and said to him] a man, husband [i do not have]. Accusative direct object of the verb "to have."

kalwV adv. "you are right [when you say]" - [jesus says to her] well [you said]. Adverb of manner. Said with "some irony", Zerwick.

oJti "-" - that [a husband i do not have]. Introducing an object clause / 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. The NIV takes the conjunction here as emphatic, but it primarily serves to introduce an explanation as to why Jesus agrees with her claim that she has no husband.

andraV (hr droV) "[five] husbands" - [you have five] husbands, men [and the one you have now is not your husband]. Accusative direct object of the verb "to have." "Husband / man" is emphatic by position.

eirhkaV adj. "[what you have said] is quite true" - [this you have said] true. The grammar is somewhat complex here: the accusative pronoun touto, "this", serves as the object of the verb eirhkaV, "you have said", and the accusative adjective alhqeV, "true", serves 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" - [the woman says to him, sir, i see] that [you are a prophet]. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what she sees.


Given that Jesus presents as a prophet, the woman decides to ask him a tricky theological question - of course, she may just want to change the subject! She refers 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.

prosekunhsan (proskunew) aor. "worshiped" - [the fathers of us] 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.

uJmeiV "you Jews" - [and] you [say]. Emphatic. Plural = "you Jews."

oJti "that" - that [in jerusalem]. 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" - [is] the place. Obviously "the holy place" is intended.

proskunein (proskunew) pres. inf. "[we must] worship" - [where it is necessary] to worship. The infinitive serves as the subject of the verb "is necessary"; "it is necessary to worship" = "to worship is necessary." See 3:7 for a complementary classification.


Jesus sets aside place and makes the point that effective worship is in spirit and truth.

pisteue (pisteuw) pres. imp. "believe" - [jesus says to her] believe. An emphatic 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 after the verb "to believe."

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]" - an hour [comes]. Often referring to the eschatological "hour", the coming day of judgment and redemption, but more likely the day of Christ's glory (the cross +++), so Brown, possibly "denoting the time after Jesus' departure", McHugh.

oJte "when" - The temporal conjunction introduces a temporal clause.

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" - neither [on this mountain] nor [in jerusalem]. Negated correlative construction; "neither this nor that." Samaritans "will no longer be faced with a choice between two places of worship", Kostenberger.


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.

uJmeiV "you Samaritans" - you. Emphatic by position and use.

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" - you do not know [we worship that which we 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. The Jews, on the other hand, who continued to receive God's saving revelation, such that "the object of their worship was known to them."

oJti "for" - because. Here introducing a causal clause explaining why the worship offered by Jews is more truth-based than that offered by the Samaritans.

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


Although Samaritan worship is not based on truth and Jewish worship is, in that it brings salvation to the world, a new situation has emerged in Christ where Jewish worship has become obsolete.

alla "yet" - but. Adversative.

nun adv. "[and has] now [come]" - [an hour is coming 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.

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

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

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

en + dat. "in" - in, on. Local, expressing sphere; "in the sphere of S/spirit and truth", although Novakovic suggests an adverbial use of the preposition, of manner, expressing a state or condition, so "spiritually" and "truthfully", but see below.

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. and for [the father is seeking]. The kai here serves to make the causal gar emphatic, "for indeed / for in fact."

touV proskunountaV (proskunew) pres. part. "the [kind of] worshipers" - [such a kind / such as these] the ones worshiping [him]. The participle serves as a substantive, complement of the direct object "such a kind"; "such a kind as / to be worshipping him." The word is used for adoration of the divine, of the doing of obeisance, and should not be confused with latreuw, "the doing of service to the divine." Note that "him", the object of the participle "worshipping", is an accusative direct object rather than the usual dative. The last clause is missing from some manuscripts.

zhtei (zhtew) pres. "seeks" - is seeking. 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.


God is a spiritual being, "invisible and unknowable", Barrett, although for our sake he has revealed himself visibly in his Son. Given the nature of God, worship of the divine (in the sense of adoration) should conform to his spiritual nature incarnate in his Son, and be shaped by his revealed truth. Worship for the new Israel is Christ focused and truth aligned.

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" - [and] the ones worshiping [him]. The participle serves as a substantive, accusative subject of the infinitive "to worship."

proskunein (proskunew) pres. inf. "[must] worship" - [it is necessary] to worship [in spirit and truth]. The infinitive serves as the subject of the verb "is necessary", but see 3:7 for a complementary classification.


The woman expresses here faith in the coming messiah and his revelatory task, although which messiah is she speaking about. 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. Yet, there is no clear evidence that the Samaritan Taheb ("the Restorer", Deut.18:18) is equivalent to the Jewish messiah.

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

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

oJti "that" - Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what the woman knows.

MessiaV "Messiah" - a messiah [is coming]. Nominative subject of the verb "to come."

oJ legomenoV (oV) "called [Christ]" - the one being called [christ]. The participle may be viewed as a substantive, standing in apposition to "Messiah", or adjectival, attributive, limiting "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]" - that one [comes]. This demonstrative pronoun stands as the subject of the verb "to come" and is emphatic by use.

anaggelei (anaggellw) fut. "he will explain" - he will 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 that Jesus as a prophet, even a prophet like Moses, someone greater than Jacob, and as was commonly accepted, "a prophet knows everything", McHugh, although he 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.


Jesus openly reveals himself. It is interesting how Jesus has no reluctance presenting his messianic credentials to a Samaritan woman of ill repute.

egw eimi "I [who speak to you] am he / I [the one speaking to you] am he" - [jesus says to her] I AM. The predicate is unstated. This is the first of the great "I am" statements in John. Probably not "I am Yahweh", but rather, "I am Messiah"; See 8:24.

oJ lalwn (lalew) pres. part. "who speak / the one speaking" - the one speaking. The participle serves as a substantive standing 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."

soi dat. pro. "to you" - Dative of indirect object.


John Introduction



[Pumpkin Cottage]