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John 4:10-11

Context

4:10 Jesus answered 1  her, “If you had known 2  the gift of God and who it is who said to you, ‘Give me some water 3  to drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 4  4:11 “Sir,” 5  the woman 6  said to him, “you have no bucket and the well 7  is deep; where then do you get this 8  living water? 9 

1 tn Grk “answered and said to her.”

2 tn Or “if you knew.”

3 tn The phrase “some water” is supplied as the understood direct object of the infinitive πεῖν (pein).

4 tn This is a second class conditional sentence in Greek.

sn The word translated living is used in Greek of flowing water, which leads to the woman’s misunderstanding in the following verse. She thought Jesus was referring to some unknown source of drinkable water.

5 tn Or “Lord.” The Greek term κύριος (kurios) means both “Sir” and “Lord.” In this passage there is probably a gradual transition from one to the other as the woman’s respect for Jesus grows throughout the conversation (4:11, 15, 19).

6 tc ‡ Two early and important Greek mss along with two versional witnesses (Ì75 B sys ac2) lack ἡ γυνή (Jh gunh, “the woman”) here; א* has ἐκείνη (ekeinh, “that one” or possibly “she”) instead of ἡ γυνή. It is possible that no explicit subject was in the original text and scribes added either ἡ γυνή or ἐκείνη to make the meaning clear. It is also possible that the archetype of Ì75 א B expunged the subject because it was not altogether necessary, with the scribe of א later adding the pronoun. However, ἡ γυνή is not in doubt in any other introduction to the woman’s words in this chapter (cf. vv. 9, 15, 17, 19, 25), suggesting that intentional deletion was not the motive for the shorter reading in v. 11 (or else why would they delete the words only here?). Thus, the fact that virtually all witnesses (Ì66 א2 A C D L Ws Θ Ψ 050 083 086 Ë1,13 Ï latt syc,p,h sa bo) have ἡ γυνή here may suggest that it is a motivated reading, conforming this verse to the rest of the pericope. Although a decision is difficult, it is probably best to regard the shorter reading as authentic. NA27 has ἡ γυνή in brackets, indicating doubts as to their authenticity. For English stylistic reasons, the translation also includes “the woman” here.

7 tn The word for “well” has now shifted to φρέαρ (frear, “cistern”); earlier in the passage it was πηγή (phgh).

8 tn The anaphoric article has been translated “this.”

9 sn Where then do you get this living water? The woman’s reply is an example of the “misunderstood statement,” a technique appearing frequently in John’s Gospel. Jesus was speaking of living water which was spiritual (ultimately a Johannine figure for the Holy Spirit, see John 7:38-39), but the woman thought he was speaking of flowing (fresh drinkable) water. Her misunderstanding gave Jesus the opportunity to explain what he really meant.



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