The Gospel of John – Part Four

Noted as one of the best starting places in the Bible, the Gospel of John is a first-hand account of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ from one of his most trusted friends and disciples. This book is necessary reading for the believer as it's detail and insight is beyond anything one might cross as they seek out knowledge of this good Word. For this reason, I have decided to embark on a multi-part study on the Gospel of John to give not only in-depth analysis of the entire book; but, also background on it's creation and the man that wrote it. Today we continue through John Chapter Four!


John 4:1-54


John 4:1-3: "Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee."


Jesus then went home to Galilee (this is also the Epilogue of John's Last Witness). Jesus changes locations after learning the Pharisees have taken interest in Him as His ministry began to grow (this isn't good. He doesn't want confrontation yet).


John 4:4: Now he had to go through Samaria.


Jesus wanted to keep His ministry low-key for the moment so as to ensure easy passage into the Capitol. On His travels, He had to pass through the land of the Samaritans, Samaria


Samaritans:

  • Mixed Race (Jewish/Gentile)

  • Northern Kingdom

  • Defeated in 722 BC

  • Capital was Samaria


When the Samaritans were defeated, the Assyrians scattered them among the pagan nations to "water down" their bloodline. Unlike the Babylonians who would leave those they defeated with their culture and where they would and then take the cream of the crop and train them in their ways and thinking and then send them back as rulers. Over the years, the Samaritans made their way back and repopulated the area where the Northern Kingdom (10 tribes to the north, 2 to the south) used to be. No longer full-blood Jews, but still claimed Abraham as their ancestor.


John 4:5-6: So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.


The well is still here today (but inside a church). Located near the place where Joseph, one of the sons of Jacob was said to have his bones buried after the Israelites left Egypt and carried his bones with them. The well had historical significance for that reason. Notice John describes Jesus as being tired from the journey (human response to a hot long journey). It was noon and hot. Jesus sits to rest.


Samaritans:

  • Worshipped at Bethel (Contentious issue between North and South)

  • Accepted only Genesis - Leviticus

  • Rejected Prophets

  • Rejected by Jews (Considered impure)

John 4:7-8: When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)


Jesus gives a human response to being tired, needing a drink. Woman is drawing water at noon rather than in the evening which was uncommon. Also the woman is alone which is notable, women generally drew water together.


John 4:9: The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)


The woman basically says no and looks to the social barriers between Samaritans and Jews which preclude her from giving Him a drink. Also, there is man and woman barrier as a man would not speak to a woman if she was alone.


John 4:10: Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”


Jesus responds with telling her what He can give her. Now speaking as God and not just a weary human traveler. Jesus offers the spiritual gift of the living water, a term used by Jeremiah in old testament telling southern kingdom about their fall because of their sinful idolatry. Refers to God as "living water".


Knowing Jesus = Knowing Truth = Obtaining Living Water


John 4:11-12: “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?  Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”


Her response is similar to Nicodemus. When confronted with the reality of Jesus' person Nicodemus questioned the literalness of the words "born again"; this woman examines Jesus' words in the same way and challenges Him about the Living Water.


John 4:13-14: Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”


Jesus points out the difference between the natural water and the living water He is offering her. Number 1: natural water satisfies temporarily, its earthly and temperal. Living water satisfies completely without end. Whoever drinks natural water dies eventually. Whoever drinks living water will never die. Jesus IS the Living Water. We drink Him in by believing and obeying His commands.


John 4:15: The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”


Notice how her mind works, she cannot go further with questions about the literal water so she shifts the subject from disbelief to curiosity (Jesus is probably amused). She asks two questions: Can she have this water? And if she could, would it mean that she would not have to come out each day to get water from the well?


John 4:16-18: He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”


Jesus is now changing the subject and focusing on the woman. Jesus delves into her personal life (and responding to her changed attitude). She responds honestly and Jesus reacts to her openness by revealing more of His own true nature by showing His intimate knowledge of her past, especially her sinful past (this could be why she was alone drawing water, perhaps she was shunned by the other women in the village due to her background). Jesus is offering her the living water or "rebirth" but this must begin with faith, as all others must, and repentance.


John 4:19-20: “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”


She changes the subject again. She goes from curiosity to preliminary faith and sees Jesus as a prophet of sorts; not completely correct but moving in the right direction. She doesn't offer excuses for her past and sees He is special.She asks Him about the dispute between Samaritans and Jews as to where the right place to worship is located, Bethel in north or Jerusalem in south? And where she should go to be cleansed of the sins she has revealed to have committed, Bethel or Jerusalem? Her conscious has been moved and there is a hunger for righteousness. Her meeting with Jesus has sparked this and without realizing it, she has drunk the living water and it is already having and affect on her.


John 4:21-24: “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”


North or South will not matter, Jesus says. This speaks to the same problems we have today so He's talking to her AND us.


He says three things about worship:

  • Location will NOT be important

  • Messiah would come from the south and not the north (Jew/Samaritan dispute solved here. He tells her the correct place to worship ATTHE TIME is Jerusalem). Jesus comes from the tribe of Judah, One of the two tribes from the south.

  • Its not where, but how you worship.


We can do the right things and say the right words but if we do not have the right and true spirit, our worship is in vain, untrue, and unspiritual.


John 4:25-26: The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”


She is on the verge of discovering the truth about Jesus and she confesses her hope in the savior to come. Samaritans thought the Messiah would be a prophet and an earthly ruler like David was. The name for Him was the restorer or "Taheb" but she doesn't use this term. She uses the Jewish term Messiah. She went from rejecting Jesus to expressing hope in the savior; the savior from the SOUTH. Jesus helps with the connection by saying He is the messiah. Making note that all they said He would do, He has done for her.


What the Messiah would DO:

  • Offer Spiritual Life

  • Reveal the location of the temple

  • Reveal the heart of Man

  • Reveal the Mind of God

  • Reveal the True Messiah

John 4:27-30: Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?” Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” They came out of the town and made their way toward him.


The disciples voice their surprise about Jesus speaking to Samaritan woman (their prejudice being apparent here). The woman leaves everything, including her shame, and tells EVERYONE who she believes Jesus to be. On the strength of her witness, the town gathers to see Jesus. She even goes to the northerners and uses the term Messiah.


John 4:31-38: Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?” “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”


In the meantime, the disciples want to bring Jesus's focus back to eating, missing the significance of Jesus's encounter with the woman, since they had not been there. The Lord uses this moment to teach them a lesson based on what had happened. Speaks to them on a SPIRITUAL plane. States that His satisfaction, and theirs, comes not from physical things, but from doing God's will. They must open their eyes to see how hungry and thirsty people are for spiritual food that only they have to offer them. The church today still has this mission. Jesus states that this mission brings great personal satisfaction. Joy and reward come from doing God's will.


John 4:39: Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”


The thirst of others in the village was the result of the woman's testimony. Many believed her and pursued the Lord as a result. This was her witness alone. Not by knowledge or teaching ability.


John 4:40-42: So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers. They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”


Her witness affected others in particular ways. The people came to see Jesus for themselves. People are never disappointed in meeting Jesus. They also acknowledged their faith in Him.


Jesus' Personal Evangelism Approach:

  • Everyone who believes, has or should have their own personal evangelism approach (the process of sharing the gospel and bringing others to Christ). Nothing beats one-on-one evangelism.

  • John 4:1-42 You see Jesus' own personal pattern of evangelism.

  • Jesus' persona; evangelism method = multiplication


Rules of Mathematics:

  • Multiplication is a faster form of increase than addition

  • Example: You place one sugar cube on each square on a checkerboard, you have 64 cubes. But, if you instead multiplied it by 2 each time (so say you put on on the first square and two on the second, and four on the third, etc) you would end up with enough sugar cube to cover the state of Texas.

  • Now think of this in terms of the church. If each Christian adds one, that additional one makes the church slowly grows, steadily. But ifeach Christian doubles himself and teaches others to do so, the process of multiplication begins.

  • A lot of people see this as the job of the pastor but its EVERY Christians job! Jesus shows us how to make and multiply disciples

Seven steps to making a disciple as told by Jesus:

  • Contact: Any situation where two people connect in some way (Jesus does this by asking the woman for a drink of water). No Barriers should stop this. not race, or gender or religious creed or social status. In this meeting you should identify yourself as a Christian.

  • Challenge: Most difficult step. Where you leave the normal course of the conversation in order to open up dialogue about spiritual and not temporal things.

  • Confirmation: Once the challenge is made and the discussion entered into, its up to the disciple to prove or confirm that they know what they are talking about. Prove you are a Christian.

  • The Call: Call to decide to follow Jesus. Even if it is from a far off position of curiosity and waning to find out more. Offer to study or do this again. no one is ever saved without making a series of decisions. Cannot force.

  • Conversion

  • Failure comes from:

  • Not asking

  • Asking too soon (the questions some may still have are varied and we might have to search for what they are before we can answer it)

  • Consecration: Where the convert actually is trained for discipleship (begins to have a prayer life/ identifies with other disciples)

  • Multiplication: Sharing experience with many

What stops us from multiplying the way Jesus did is we do not use the approach. Multiplication upsets our comfort zone.


John 4:43-45: After the two days he left for Galilee. (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, for they also had been there.


Now that His reputation was growing and many are becoming His disciples, He goes back home to His village in the North. Its a fact of human nature that we rarely take seriously someone from our own hometown until they make it big somewhere. In Jesus’ case, He had been to Jerusalem (the big city), He had done his miracles and teachings there and now because of His reputation there, even the people of His hometown were impressed. Apparently some had seen and heard of his reputation in Jerusalem first hand and had come home to spread the news. Jesus is not looking for fame or personal glory but uses this opportunity to preach to the people. Fame itself or notoriety do not convert people, it just makes them notable and can make a foothold into the community.


John 4:46-47: Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.


John skips over the rest of the journey and jumps to Jesus back in the city of Cana where Jesus had performed His first miracle. Many in Cana now new of this miracle from the wedding, though it was not made public at the time of the miracle (people talk). Royal official (some translations) or government official was a servant to the king. The King at this time was Herrod. The official is in the small fishing town of Capernaum (Jesus’ adult home). Why? Because Herrod had many palaces and fortresses throughout the land and was constantly building (he loved it) and it was not unusual to have his officials scattered at these posts throughout the land. This official must have been stationed in Capernaum. This man is at the end of a painful episode as his son lies close to death (no cause stated). Risky for a man in his position to come to Jesus, especially publicly, but he was desperate and desperate fathers with do whatever they can to save their children.


John 4:48: “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”


Jesus’ response seems a bit harsh here, doesn’t it? However, there are reasons for Jesus’ response. Jesus answers the man in this way for two reasons:

  • The man’s motivation: The man did not come for Jesus’ witness or teaching. He came in a desperate attempt to save his son’s life. People who are in grave situations will try anything to save their lives, even things they would scoff at if there was not a pressing issue present.

  • The man’s incomplete faith: Jesus is commenting on the kind of faith that only stood on the witnessing of miracles. Mature faith is the one that perseveres on Jesus’ word (this is what we are shooting for). Not based on circumstances, but on Jesus’ word and faithfulness alone. This is the kind of faith that the Lord asks of the man and of us.

John 4:49-52: The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.”The man took Jesus at his word and departed. While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.”


Note that the man had asked Jesus to come with him in order to heal his son (Jesus has done this in the past and has come to the sick to heal them). This time Jesus just said “Go, your son is healed”. Jesus challenges the official to greater and more mature faith by taking him at His word only and not by the witnessing of the miracle of healing his son. That was the challenge, “just take Me at My word.” Its like telling us “step up to a more mature level of faith.” His faith is rewarded by the healing of his son.


John 4:53-54: Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed.This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee.


In these verses we see the completion of Jesus’ system of personal evangelism. All seven steps are shown here in this account.


Seven steps in this story:

  • Contact: Man contacts Jesus

  • Challenge: Jesus calls the man to step up in his faith. It is always correct to step up.

  • Confirmation: When the father does so, he learns of the miracle. The Lord will always send confirmation when we step up to a challenge.

  • The Call and Conversion: These are condensed into one action in this story as the father reacts to the proof with belief in Jesus.

  • Consecration: tells the household about his witness and belief in Jesus

  • Multiplication: the entire household believes (Jesus didn’t even have to go to the house for this to happen).


What begins as a desperate plea from a man of incomplete faith crying out to Jesus for help, turns into the conscious and mature faith of not only this man but multiplied completely throughout his entire household.