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John 4:3-8

Context
4:3 he left Judea and set out once more for Galilee. 1 

Conversation With a Samaritan Woman

4:4 But he had 2  to pass through Samaria. 3  4:5 Now he came to a Samaritan town 4  called Sychar, 5  near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6  4:6 Jacob’s well was there, so Jesus, since he was tired from the journey, sat right down beside 7  the well. It was about noon. 8 

4:7 A Samaritan woman 9  came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me some water 10  to drink.” 4:8 (For his disciples had gone off into the town to buy supplies. 11 ) 12 

1 sn The author doesn’t tell why Jesus chose to set out once more for Galilee. Some have suggested that the Pharisees turned their attention to Jesus because John the Baptist had now been thrown into prison. But the text gives no hint of this. In any case, perhaps Jesus simply did not want to provoke a confrontation at this time (knowing that his “hour” had not yet come).

2 sn Travel through Samaria was not geographically necessary; the normal route for Jews ran up the east side of the Jordan River (Transjordan). Although some take the impersonal verb had to (δεῖ, dei) here to indicate logical necessity only, normally in John’s Gospel its use involves God’s will or plan (3:7, 3:14, 3:30, 4:4, 4:20, 4:24, 9:4, 10:16, 12:34, 20:9).

3 sn Samaria. The Samaritans were descendants of 2 groups: (1) The remnant of native Israelites who were not deported after the fall of the Northern Kingdom in 722 b.c.; (2) Foreign colonists brought in from Babylonia and Media by the Assyrian conquerors to settle the land with inhabitants who would be loyal to Assyria. There was theological opposition between the Samaritans and the Jews because the former refused to worship in Jerusalem. After the exile the Samaritans put obstacles in the way of the Jewish restoration of Jerusalem, and in the 2nd century b.c. the Samaritans helped the Syrians in their wars against the Jews. In 128 b.c. the Jewish high priest retaliated and burned the Samaritan temple on Mount Gerizim.

4 tn Grk “town of Samaria.” The noun Σαμαρείας (Samareias) has been translated as an attributive genitive.

5 sn Sychar was somewhere in the vicinity of Shechem, possibly the village of Askar, 1.5 km northeast of Jacob’s well.

6 sn Perhaps referred to in Gen 48:22.

7 tn Grk “on (ἐπί, epi) the well.” There may have been a low stone rim encircling the well, or the reading of Ì66 (“on the ground”) may be correct.

8 tn Grk “the sixth hour.”

sn It was about noon. The suggestion has been made by some that time should be reckoned from midnight rather than sunrise. This would make the time 6 a.m. rather than noon. That would fit in this passage but not in John 19:14 which places the time when Jesus is condemned to be crucified at “the sixth hour.”

9 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.”

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

11 tn Grk “buy food.”

12 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).



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