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John 4:7-42


4:7 A Samaritan woman 1  came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me some water 2  to drink.” 4:8 (For his disciples had gone off into the town to buy supplies. 3 ) 4  4:9 So the Samaritan woman said to him, “How can you – a Jew 5  – ask me, a Samaritan woman, for water 6  to drink?” (For Jews use nothing in common 7  with Samaritans.) 8 

4:10 Jesus answered 9  her, “If you had known 10  the gift of God and who it is who said to you, ‘Give me some water 11  to drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 12  4:11 “Sir,” 13  the woman 14  said to him, “you have no bucket and the well 15  is deep; where then do you get this 16  living water? 17  4:12 Surely you’re not greater than our ancestor 18  Jacob, are you? For he gave us this well and drank from it himself, along with his sons and his livestock.” 19 

4:13 Jesus replied, 20  “Everyone who drinks some of this water will be thirsty 21  again. 4:14 But whoever drinks some of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again, 22  but the water that I will give him will become in him a fountain 23  of water springing up 24  to eternal life.” 4:15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw 25  water.” 26  4:16 He 27  said to her, “Go call your husband and come back here.” 28  4:17 The woman replied, 29  “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “Right you are when you said, 30  ‘I have no husband,’ 31  4:18 for you have had five husbands, and the man you are living with 32  now is not your husband. This you said truthfully!”

4:19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I see 33  that you are a prophet. 4:20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, 34  and you people 35  say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” 36  4:21 Jesus said to her, “Believe me, woman, 37  a time 38  is coming when you will worship 39  the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 4:22 You people 40  worship what you do not know. We worship what we know, because salvation is from the Jews. 41  4:23 But a time 42  is coming – and now is here 43  – when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks 44  such people to be 45  his worshipers. 46  4:24 God is spirit, 47  and the people who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 4:25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (the one called Christ); 48  “whenever he 49  comes, he will tell 50  us everything.” 51  4:26 Jesus said to her, “I, the one speaking to you, am he.”

The Disciples Return

4:27 Now at that very moment his disciples came back. 52  They were shocked 53  because he was speaking 54  with a woman. However, no one said, “What do you want?” 55  or “Why are you speaking with her?” 4:28 Then the woman left her water jar, went off into the town and said to the people, 56  4:29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Surely he can’t be the Messiah, 57  can he?” 58  4:30 So 59  they left the town and began coming 60  to him.

Workers for the Harvest

4:31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, 61  “Rabbi, eat something.” 62  4:32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” 4:33 So the disciples began to say 63  to one another, “No one brought him anything 64  to eat, did they?” 65  4:34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me 66  and to complete 67  his work. 68  4:35 Don’t you say, 69  ‘There are four more months and then comes the harvest?’ I tell you, look up 70  and see that the fields are already white 71  for harvest! 4:36 The one who reaps receives pay 72  and gathers fruit for eternal life, so that the one who sows and the one who reaps can rejoice together. 4:37 For in this instance the saying is true, 73  ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 4:38 I sent you to reap what you did not work for; others have labored and you have entered into their labor.”

The Samaritans Respond

4:39 Now many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the report of the woman who testified, 74  “He told me everything I ever did.” 4:40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they began asking 75  him to stay with them. 76  He stayed there two days, 4:41 and because of his word many more 77  believed. 4:42 They said to the woman, “No longer do we believe because of your words, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this one 78  really is the Savior of the world.” 79 

John 7:37-39

Teaching About the Spirit

7:37 On the last day of the feast, the greatest day, 80  Jesus stood up and shouted out, 81  “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me, and 7:38 let the one who believes in me drink. 82  Just as the scripture says, ‘From within him 83  will flow rivers of living water.’” 84  7:39 (Now he said this about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were going to receive, for the Spirit had not yet been given, 85  because Jesus was not yet glorified.) 86 

1 tn Grk “a woman from Samaria.” According to BDAG 912 s.v. Σαμάρεια, the prepositional phrase is to be translated as a simple attributive: “γυνὴ ἐκ τῆς Σαμαρείας a Samaritan woman J 4:7.”

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

3 tn Grk “buy food.”

4 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author, indicating why Jesus asked the woman for a drink (for presumably his disciples also took the water bucket with them).

5 tn Or “a Judean.” Here BDAG 478 s.v. ᾿Ιουδαίος 2.a states, “Judean (with respect to birth, nationality, or cult).” The same term occurs in the plural later in this verse. In one sense “Judean” would work very well in the translation here, since the contrast is between residents of the two geographical regions. However, since in the context of this chapter the discussion soon becomes a religious rather than a territorial one (cf. vv. 19-26), the translation “Jew” has been retained here and in v. 22.

6 tn “Water” is supplied as the understood direct object of the infinitive πεῖν (pein).

7 tn D. Daube (“Jesus and the Samaritan Woman: the Meaning of συγχράομαι [Jn 4:7ff],” JBL 69 [1950]: 137-47) suggests this meaning.

sn The background to the statement use nothing in common is the general assumption among Jews that the Samaritans were ritually impure or unclean. Thus a Jew who used a drinking vessel after a Samaritan had touched it would become ceremonially unclean.

8 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

9 tn Grk “answered and said to her.”

10 tn Or “if you knew.”

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

12 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.

13 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).

14 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.

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

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

17 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.

18 tn Or “our forefather”; Grk “our father.”

19 tn Questions prefaced with μή (mh) in Greek anticipate a negative answer. This can sometimes be indicated by using a “tag” at the end. In this instance all of v. 12 is one question. It has been broken into two sentences for the sake of English style (instead of “for he” the Greek reads “who”).

20 tn Grk “answered and said to her.”

21 tn Grk “will thirst.”

22 tn Grk “will never be thirsty forever.” The possibility of a later thirst is emphatically denied.

23 tn Or “well.” “Fountain” is used as the translation for πηγή (phgh) here since the idea is that of an artesian well that flows freely, but the term “artesian well” is not common in contemporary English.

24 tn The verb ἁλλομένου (Jallomenou) is used of quick movement (like jumping) on the part of living beings. This is the only instance of its being applied to the action of water. However, in the LXX it is used to describe the “Spirit of God” as it falls on Samson and Saul. See Judg 14:6, 19; 15:14; 1 Kgdms 10:2, 10 LXX (= 1 Sam 10:6, 10 ET); and Isa 35:6 (note context).

25 tn Grk “or come here to draw.”

26 tn The direct object of the infinitive ἀντλεῖν (antlein) is understood in Greek but supplied for clarity in the English translation.

27 tc Most witnesses have “Jesus” here, either with the article (אc C2 D L Ws Ψ 086 Ï lat) or without (א* A Θ Ë1,13 al), while several important and early witnesses lack the name (Ì66,75 B C* 33vid pc). It is unlikely that scribes would have deliberately expunged the name of Jesus from the text here, especially since it aids the reader with the flow of the dialogue. Further, that the name occurs both anarthrously and with the article suggests that it was a later addition. (For similar arguments, see the tc note on “woman” in 4:11).

28 tn Grk “come here” (“back” is implied).

29 tn Grk “answered and said to him.”

30 tn Grk “Well have you said.”

31 tn The word order in Jesus’ reply is reversed from the woman’s original statement. The word “husband” in Jesus’ reply is placed in an emphatic position.

32 tn Grk “the one you have.”

33 tn Grk “behold” or “perceive,” but these are not as common in contemporary English usage.

34 sn This mountain refers to Mount Gerizim, where the Samaritan shrine was located.

35 tn The word “people” is not in the Greek text, but is supplied to indicate that the Greek verb translated “say” is second person plural and thus refers to more than Jesus alone.

36 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

37 sn Woman was a polite form of address (see BDAG 208-9 s.v. γυνή 1), similar to “Madam” or “Ma’am” used in English in different regions.

38 tn Grk “an hour.”

39 tn The verb is plural.

40 tn The word “people” is not in the Greek text, but is supplied to indicate that the Greek verb translated “worship” is second person plural and thus refers to more than the woman alone.

41 tn Or “from the Judeans.” See the note on “Jew” in v. 9.

42 tn Grk “an hour.”

43 tn “Here” is not in the Greek text but is supplied to conform to contemporary English idiom.

44 sn See also John 4:27.

45 tn Or “as.” The object-complement construction implies either “as” or “to be.”

46 tn This is a double accusative construction of object and complement with τοιούτους (toioutous) as the object and the participle προσκυνοῦντας (proskunounta") as the complement.

sn The Father wants such people as his worshipers. Note how the woman has been concerned about where people ought to worship, while Jesus is concerned about who people ought to worship.

47 tn Here πνεῦμα (pneuma) is understood as a qualitative predicate nominative while the articular θεός (qeos) is the subject.

48 tn Both Greek “Christ” and Hebrew and Aramaic “Messiah” mean “the one who has been anointed.”

sn The one called Christ. This is a parenthetical statement by the author. See the note on Christ in 1:20.

49 tn Grk “that one.”

50 tn Or “he will announce to us.”

51 tn Grk “all things.”

52 tn Or “his disciples returned”; Grk “came” (“back” is supplied in keeping with English usage). Because of the length of the Greek sentence it is better to divide here and begin a new English sentence, leaving the καί (kai) before ἐθαύμαζον (eqaumazon) untranslated.

53 tn BDAG 444 s.v. θαυμάζω 1.a.γ has “be surprised that” followed by indirect discourse. The context calls for a slightly stronger wording.

54 tn The ὅτι (Joti) could also be translated as declarative (“that he had been speaking with a woman”) but since this would probably require translating the imperfect verb as a past perfect (which is normal after a declarative ὅτι), it is preferable to take this ὅτι as causal.

55 tn Grk “seek.” See John 4:23.

sn The question “What do you want?” is John’s editorial comment (for no one in the text was asking it). The author is making a literary link with Jesus’ statement in v. 23: It is evident that, in spite of what the disciples may have been thinking, what Jesus was seeking is what the Father was seeking, that is to say, someone to worship him.

56 tn The term ἄνθρωποι (anqrwpoi) used here can mean either “people” (when used generically) or “men” (though there is a more specific term in Greek for adult males, ανήρ [anhr]). Thus the woman could have been speaking either (1) to all the people or (2) to the male leaders of the city as their representatives. However, most recent English translations regard the former as more likely and render the word “people” here.

57 tn Grk “the Christ” (both Greek “Christ” and Hebrew and Aramaic “Messiah” mean “one who has been anointed”). Although the Greek text reads χριστός (cristos) here, it is more consistent based on 4:25 (where Μεσσίας [Messias] is the lead term and is qualified by χριστός) to translate χριστός as “Messiah” here.

58 tn The use of μήτι (mhti) normally presupposes a negative answer. This should not be taken as an indication that the woman did not believe, however. It may well be an example of “reverse psychology,” designed to gain a hearing for her testimony among those whose doubts about her background would obviate her claims.

59 tn “So” is supplied for transitional smoothness in English.

60 sn The imperfect tense is here rendered began coming for the author is not finished with this part of the story yet; these same Samaritans will appear again in v. 35.

61 tn Grk “were asking him, saying.”

62 tn The direct object of φάγε (fage) in Greek is understood; “something” is supplied in English.

63 tn An ingressive imperfect conveys the idea that Jesus’ reply provoked the disciples’ response.

64 tn The direct object of ἤνεγκεν (hnenken) in Greek is understood; “anything” is supplied in English.

65 tn Questions prefaced with μή (mh) in Greek anticipate a negative answer. This can sometimes be indicated by using a “tag” at the end in English (here it is “did they?”).

66 sn The one who sent me refers to the Father.

67 tn Or “to accomplish.”

68 tn The substantival ἵνα (Jina) clause has been translated as an English infinitive clause.

sn No one brought him anything to eat, did they? In the discussion with the disciples which took place while the woman had gone into the city, note again the misunderstanding: The disciples thought Jesus referred to physical food, while he was really speaking figuratively and spiritually again. Thus Jesus was forced to explain what he meant, and the explanation that his food was his mission, to do the will of God and accomplish his work, leads naturally into the metaphor of the harvest. The fruit of his mission was represented by the Samaritans who were coming to him.

69 tn The recitative ὅτι (Joti) after λέγετε (legete) has not been translated.

70 tn Grk “lift up your eyes” (an idiom). BDAG 357 s.v. ἐπαίρω 1 has “look up” here.

71 tn That is, “ripe.”

72 tn Or “a reward”; see L&N 38.14 and 57.173. This is something of a wordplay.

73 tn The recitative ὅτι (Joti) after ἀληθινός (alhqino") has not been translated.

74 tn Grk “when she testified.”

75 tn Following the arrival of the Samaritans, the imperfect verb has been translated as ingressive.

76 tn Because of the length of the Greek sentence and the sequencing with the following verse, the conjunction καί (kai) has not been translated here. Instead a new English sentence is begun.

77 tn Or “and they believed much more.”

78 tn Or “this.” The Greek pronoun can mean either “this one” or “this” (BDAG 740 s.v. οὗτος 1).

79 sn There is irony in the Samaritans’ declaration that Jesus was really the Savior of the world, an irony foreshadowed in the prologue to the Fourth Gospel (1:11): “He came to his own, and his own did not receive him.” Yet the Samaritans welcomed Jesus and proclaimed him to be not the Jewish Messiah only, but the Savior of the world.

80 sn There is a problem with the identification of this reference to the last day of the feast, the greatest day: It appears from Deut 16:13 that the feast went for seven days. Lev 23:36, however, makes it plain that there was an eighth day, though it was mentioned separately from the seven. It is not completely clear whether the seventh or eighth day was the climax of the feast, called here by the author the “last great day of the feast.” Since according to the Mishnah (m. Sukkah 4.1) the ceremonies with water and lights did not continue after the seventh day, it seems more probable that this is the day the author mentions.

81 tn Grk “Jesus stood up and cried out, saying.”

82 tn An alternate way of punctuating the Greek text of vv. 37-38 results in this translation: “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. The one who believes in me, just as the scripture says, ‘From within him will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:37-38 has been the subject of considerable scholarly debate. Certainly Jesus picks up on the literal water used in the ceremony and uses it figuratively. But what does the figure mean? According to popular understanding, it refers to the coming of the Holy Spirit to dwell in the believer. There is some difficulty in locating an OT text which speaks of rivers of water flowing from within such a person, but Isa 58:11 is often suggested: “The Lord will continually lead you, he will feed you even in parched regions. He will give you renewed strength, and you will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring that continually produces water.” Other passages which have been suggested are Prov 4:23 and 5:15; Isa 44:3 and 55:1; Ezek 47:1 ff.; Joel 3:18; and Zech 13:1 and 14:8. The meaning in this case is that when anyone comes to believe in Jesus the scriptures referring to the activity of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life are fulfilled. “When the believer comes to Christ and drinks he not only slakes his thirst but receives such an abundant supply that veritable rivers flow from him” (L. Morris, John [NICNT], 424-25). In other words, with this view, the believer himself becomes the source of the living water. This is the traditional understanding of the passage, often called the “Eastern interpretation” following Origen, Athanasius, and the Greek Fathers. It is supported by such modern scholars as Barrett, Behm, Bernard, Cadman, Carson, R. H. Lightfoot, Lindars, Michaelis, Morris, Odeberg, Schlatter, Schweizer, C. H. Turner, M. M. B. Turner, Westcott, and Zahn. In addition it is represented by the following Greek texts and translations: KJV, RSV, NASB, NA27, and UBS4. D. A. Carson, John, 322-29, has a thorough discussion of the issues and evidence although he opts for the previous interpretation. There is another interpretation possible, however, called the “Western interpretation” because of patristic support by Justin, Hippolytus, Tertullian, and Irenaeus. Modern scholars who favor this view are Abbott, Beasley-Murray, Bishop, Boismard, Braun, Brown, Bullinger, Bultmann, Burney, Dodd, Dunn, Guilding, R. Harris, Hoskyns, Jeremias, Loisy, D. M. Stanley, Thüsing, N. Turner, and Zerwick. This view is represented by the translation in the RSV margin and by the NEB. It is also sometimes called the “christological interpretation” because it makes Jesus himself the source of the living water in v. 38, by punctuating as follows: (37b) ἐάν τι διψᾷ ἐρχέσθω πρός με, καὶ πινέτω (38) ὁ πιστεύων εἰς ἐμέ. Καθὼς εἶπεν ἡ γραφή, ποταμοὶ ἐκ τῆς κοιλίας αὐτοῦ ῥεύσουσιν ὕδατος ζῶντος. Three crucial questions are involved in the solution of this problem: (1) punctuation; (2) determining the antecedent of αὐτοῦ (autou); and (3) the source of the scripture quotation. With regard to (1) Ì66 does place a full stop after πινέτω (pinetw), but this may be theologically motivated and could have been added later. Grammatical and stylistic arguments are inconclusive. More important is (2) the determination of the antecedent of αὐτοῦ. Can any other Johannine parallels be found which make the believer the source of the living water? John 4:14 is often mentioned in this regard, but unlike 4:14 the water here becomes a source for others also. Neither does 14:12 provide a parallel. Furthermore, such an interpretation becomes even more problematic in light of the explanation given in v. 39 that the water refers to the Holy Spirit, since it is extremely difficult to see the individual believer becoming the ‘source’ of the Spirit for others. On the other hand, the Gospel of John repeatedly places Jesus himself in this role as source of the living water: 4:10, of course, for the water itself; but according to 20:22 Jesus provides the Spirit (cf. 14:16). Furthermore, the symbolism of 19:34 is difficult to explain as anything other than a deliberate allusion to what is predicted here. This also explains why the Spirit cannot come to the disciples unless Jesus “departs” (16:7). As to (3) the source of the scripture quotation, M. E. Boismard has argued that John is using a targumic rendering of Ps 78:15-16 which describes the water brought forth from the rock in the wilderness by Moses (“Les citations targumiques dans le quatrième évangile,” RB 66 [1959]: 374-78). The frequency of Exodus motifs in the Fourth Gospel (paschal lamb, bronze serpent, manna from heaven) leads quite naturally to the supposition that the author is here drawing on the account of Moses striking the rock in the wilderness to bring forth water (Num 20:8 ff.). That such imagery was readily identified with Jesus in the early church is demonstrated by Paul’s understanding of the event in 1 Cor 10:4. Jesus is the Rock from which the living water – the Spirit – will flow. Carson (see note above) discusses this imagery although he favors the traditional or “Eastern” interpretation. In summary, the latter or “Western” interpretation is to be preferred.

83 tn Or “out of the innermost part of his person”; Grk “out of his belly.”

84 sn An OT quotation whose source is difficult to determine; Isa 44:3, 55:1, 58:11, and Zech 14:8 have all been suggested.

85 tn Grk “for the Spirit was not yet.” Although only B and a handful of other NT mss supply the participle δεδομένον (dedomenon), this is followed in the translation to avoid misunderstanding by the modern English reader that prior to this time the Spirit did not exist. John’s phrase is expressed from a human standpoint and has nothing to do with the preexistence of the third Person of the Godhead. The meaning is that the era of the Holy Spirit had not yet arrived; the Spirit was not as yet at work in a way he later would be because Jesus had not yet returned to his Father. Cf. also Acts 19:2.

86 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

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