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water. 11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep from whence then hast thou that living water? 12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his & children, and his cattle? 13 Jesus answered and said unto her, h Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 but whosoever i drinketh of ech. vi. 35, 58. the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well fch. vil. 38.
render, Every one that drinketh.
g render, sons.
render, shall have drunk.
k render, shall thirst no more for ever.
of all such prophetic promises as Ezek. Xxxvi. 25; Zech. xiii. 1 (see also Jer. ii. 13); but, as regarded the woman, the ordinary sense was that intended for her to fasten on, which she does accordingly. On the question, how this living water could be now given, before Jesus was glorified, see on ch. vii. 38, 39. 11, 12.] Though "Sir" (the same word as that commonly rendered "Lord") is not to be pressed as emphatic, it is not without import; it surely betokens a different regard of the stranger than the words "thou being a Jew" did :-"She calls him Sir,' thinking Him to be some great man." Euthymius. The course of her thoughts appears to be: " Thou canst not mean living water (bubbling up and leaping,' Euthymius), from this well, because thou hast no vessel to draw with, and it is deep; whence then hast thou (knowest thou of, drawest thou) the living water of which thou speakest? Our father Jacob was contented with this, used it, and bequeathed it to us: if thou hast better water, and canst give it, thou must be greater than Jacob." There is something also of Samaritan nationality speaking here. Claiming Jacob as her father (Josephus says of the Samaritans, When they see the Jews prospering, they call them their relatives, as being themselves sprung from Joseph; but when they see them in trouble, they profess to have no connexion with them'), she expresses by this question an appropriation of descent from him, such as almost to exclude, or at all events set at a greater distance, the Jews, to one of whom she believed herself to be speaking. 13, 14.] Our Lord, without noticing this, by His answer leaves it to be implied, that, assuming what she has stated, He is greater than Jacob: for his (Jacob's)
gift was of water which cannot satisfy; but the water which He should give has living power, and becomes an eternal fountain within. This however, that He was greater than Jacob,' lies only in the background: the water is the subject, as before. The words apply to every similar quenching of desire by earthly means: the desire springs up again;is not satisfied, but only postponed. The manna was as insufficient to satisfy hunger, -as this water, thirst, see ch. vi. 49, 58: it is only the living water, and the bread of life, which can satisfy. In the original, the words Every one that drinketh set forth the recurrence, the interrupted seasons, of the drinking of earthly water;
-but whosoever shall have drunk sets forth the once having tasted, and ever continuing in the increasing power, and living forth-flowing, of that life-long draught.
shall thirst no more for ever, shall never have to go away and be exhausted, and come again to be filled;- but shall have the spring at home, in his own breast, --so that he can "draw water with joy out of the wells of salvation" (Isa. xii. 3) at his pleasure. "When thirst does recur, it is the defect of the man, not of the water." Bengel. shall become a well] All earthly supplies have access only into those lower parts of our being where the desires work themselves out-are but local applications; but the heavenly gift of spiritual life which Jesus gives to those who believe on Him, enters into the very secret and highest place of their personal life, the source whence the desires spring out-and, its nature being living and spiritual, it does not merely supply, but it lives and waxes onward, unto everlasting life, in duration, and also as producing and sustaining it. It should not be
g See chap. vi. 34:
xvii. 2, 3. Rom. vi. 23. 1 John v. 20.
15 g The
of water springing up into everlasting life. woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. 16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, m I have no husband: 18 for thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast
m better, An husband I have not see note.
overlooked, that this discourse had, besides its manifold and wonderful meaning for us all, an especial moral one as applied to the woman,-who, by successive draughts at the broken cistern' of carnal lust, had been vainly seeking solace:and this consideration serves to bind on the following verses (ver. 16 ff.) to the preceding, by another link besides those noticed below. 15.] This request seems to be made still under a misunderstanding, but not so great an one as at first sight appears. She apprehends this water as something not requiring a waterpot to draw it ;- as something whose power shall never fail ;-which shall quench thirst for ever; and half in banter, half in earnest, wishing perhaps besides to see whether the gift would after all be conferred, and how,-she mingles in with "this water,"-implying some view of its distinct nature, - her not coming hither to draw,'-her willing avoidance of the toil of her noonday journey to the well. We must be able to enter into the complication of her character, and the impressions made on her by the strange things which she has heard, fully to appreciate the spirit of this answer. 16.] The connexion of this verse with the foregoing has been much disputed; and the strangest and most unworthy views have been taken of it. Some (e. g. Grotius) have strangely referred it to the supposed indecorum of the longer continuance of the colloquy with the woman alone; some more strangely still (Cyril of Alexandria) to the incapacity of the female mind to apprehend the matters of which He was to speak. Both these need surely no refutation. The band of women from Galilee, 'last at the cross, and earliest at the tomb,' are a sufficient answer to them. Those approach nearer the truth, who believe the command to have been given to awaken her conscience; or to shew her the divine knowledge which the Lord had of her heart. But I am persuaded that the right account is found, in viewing this command, as the first step of
granting her request, "give me this water." The first work of the Spirit of God, and of Him who here spoke in the fulness of that Spirit, is, to convince of sin. The 'give me this water' was not so simple a matter as she supposed. The heart must first be laid bare before the wisdom of God: the secret sins set in the light of His countenance; and this our Lord here does. The command itself is of course given in the fulness of knowledge of her sinful condition of life. In every conversation which our Lord held with men, while He connects usually one remark with another by the common links which bind human thought, we perceive that He knows, and sees through, those with whom He speaks.
17.] This answer is not for a moment to be treated as something unexpected by Him who commanded her. He has before Him her whole life of sin, which she in vain endeavours to cover by the doubtful words of this verse. 18.] There was literal truth, but no more, in the woman's answer: and the Lord, by His divine knowledge, detects the hidden falsehood of it. Notice it is true (a fact
bare truth), not truly: this one word was true further shewn by the emphatic position of the word husband in our Lord's answer, which was not so placed in hers.
thou hast had five husbands] These five were certainly lawful husbands; they are distinguished from the sixth, who was not;-probably the woman had been separated from some by divorce (the law of which was but loose among the Samaritans),-from some by death,- or perhaps by other reasons more or less discreditable to her character, which had now become degraded into that of an openly licentious woman. The conviction of sin here lies beneath the surface: it is not pressed, nor at the moment does it seem to have worked deeply, for she goes on with the conversation with apparent indifference to it; but our Lord's words in vv. 25, 26 would tend to infix it more deeply, and we find at ver. 29, that it had been working during her
i Judg. ix. 7.
is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. 19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a h Luke vii. 16: prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; v.0. ch. 14: and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men k Deut. xil. ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, be- Kings ix. & lieve me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship mo ye know not what we know what we wor- m2 Kings
2 Chron. vii. 12.
Mai. i. 11.
1 Tim. ii. 8.
render, hast thou spoken true.
• render, that which ye know not: we worship that which we know.
journey back to the city. 19.] In speaking this her conviction, she virtually confesses all the truth. That she should pass to another subject immediately, seems, as Stier remarks, to arise, not from a wish to turn the conversation from a matter so unpleasing to her, but from a real desire to obtain from this Prophet the teaching requisite that she may pray to God acceptably. The idea of her endeavouring to escape from the Lord's rebuke, is quite inconsistent with her recognition of Him as a prophet. Rather we may suppose_a pause, which makes it evident that He does not mean to proceed further with His laying open of her character. 20.] in this mountain-Mount Gerizim, on which once stood the national temple of the Samaritan race. In Neh. xiii. 28, we read that the grandson of the high priest Eliashib was banished by Nehemiah because he was son-in-law to Sanballat, the Persian satrap of Samaria. Him Sanballat not only received, but made him high priest of a temple which he built on Mount Gerizim. Josephus makes this appointment sanctioned by Alexander, when at Tyre ;but the chronology is certainly not accurate, for between Sanballat and Alexander is a difference of nearly a century. This temple was destroyed 200 years after by John Hyrcanus (B.c. 129); but the Samaritans still used it as a place of prayer and sacrifice, and to this day the few Samaritans resident in Nablus (Sychem) call it the holy mountain, and turn their faces to it in prayer. They defended their practice by Deut. xxvii. 4, where our reading and the Heb. and LXX is Ebal, but that of the Samaritan Pentateuch, Gerizim (probably an alteration): also by Gen. xii. 6, 7; xiii. 4; xxxiii. 18, 20; Deut. xi. 26 ff. Our fathers most likely means not the patriarchs, but the ancestors of the then Samaritans. the place where men ought to worship] The definite place spoken of
in Deut. xii. 5. She pauses, having suggested, rather than asked, a question, seeming to imply, 'Before I can receive this gift of God, it must be decided, where I can acceptably pray for it;' and she leaves it for Him whom she now recognizes as a prophet, to resolve this doubt.
21.] Our Lord first raises her view to a higher point than her question implied, or than indeed she, or any one, without His prophetic announcement, could then have attained. The concluding words mean, Ye shall worship the Father but not (only) in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem The prophetic ye shall worship, though embracing in its wider sense all mankind, may be taken primarily as foretelling the success of the Gospel in Samaria, Acts viii. 1-26. the Father, as implying the One God and Father of all. There is also, as Calvin remarks, a "tacit opposition "between the Father, and our father Jacob, ver. 12, our fathers, ver. 20. 22.] But He will not leave the temple of Zion and the worship appointed by God without His testimony. He decides her question not merely by affirming, but by proving the Jewish worship to be the right one. In the Samaritan worship there was no leading of God to guide them, there were no prophetic voices revealing more and more of His purposes. The neuter, that which, is used to shew the want of personality and distinctness in their idea of God:-the second that which, merely as corresponding to it in the other member of the sentence. Or perhaps better, both, as designating merely the abstract object of worship, not the personal God. The word we is remarkable, as being the only instance of our Lord thus speaking. But the nature of the case accounts for it. He never elsewhere is speaking to one so set in opposition to the Jews on a point where Himself and the Jews stood together for
n Isa. 11. 3. Luke xxiv. 47. Rom. ix. 4, 5.
o Phil. iii. 3.
p ch. i. 17.
q2 Cor. iii. 17.
ship: Pfor "salvation 4 is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit Pand in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 a God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in
Prender, because. A render, cometh. rrender, such the Father also seeketh them that worship him to be.
somit not in the original.
God's truth. He now speaks as a Jew.
the idea, in the woman's answer, of the Messiah, by Whom He seeks (Luke xix. 10) His true worshippers, to gather them out of the world. 24.] God is a Spirit, was the great Truth of Judaism, whereby the Jews were distinguished from the idolatrous people around them. And the Samaritans held even more strongly than the Jews the pure monotheistic view. Traces of this, remarks Lücke, are found in the alterations made by them in their Pentateuch, long before the time of this history. This may perhaps be partly the reason why our Lord, as Bengel remarks, 'never delivered, even to His disciples, things more sublime,' than to this Samaritan woman.
God being pure spirit (perhaps better nota Spirit,' since it is His Essence, not His Personality, which is here spoken of), cannot dwell in particular spots or temples (see Acts vii. 48; xvii. 24, 25); cannot require, nor be pleased with, earthly material offerings nor ceremonies, as such: on the other hand, is only to be approached in that part of our being, which is spirit, -and even there, inasmuch as He is pure and holy, with no by-ends nor hypocritical regards, but in truth and earnestness. But here comes in the deeper sense alluded to above. How is the Spirit of man to be brought into communion with God? "Thou seekest to pray in a temple: pray in thyself. But first be the temple of God," Augustine. And how is this to be? Man cannot make himself the temple of God. So that here comes in the gift of God, with which the discourse began,-the gift of the Holy Spirit, which Christ should give to them that believe on Him: thus we have praying in the Holy Spirit,' Jude 20. So beautifully does the expression the Father here bring with it the new birth by the Spirit,-and for us, the readers of the Gospel, does the discourse of ch. iii. reflect light on this. And so wonderfully do these words form the conclusion to the great subject of these first chapters: 'GOD IS BECOME ΟΝΕ FLESH WITH US, THAT WE MIGHT BECOME ONE SPIRIT WITH HIM.'
ch. ix. $7.
truth. 25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will r ver. 29, 39. tell us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. 27 And upon this came his disciples, 61, 62 and marvelled that he ss talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her? 28 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is [t not] this t ver. 25. the Christ? 30 Then they went out of the city, and came
88 render, was talking with a woman.
25.] These words again seem uttered under a complicated feeling. From her "story,” ver. 29, she certainly had some suspicion (in her own mind, perhaps over and beyond His own assertion of the fact: but see note there) that He who had told her all things, &c., was the Christ; and from her breaking in with this remark after the weighty truth which had been just spoken, it seems as if she thought thus,How these matters may be, I cannot understand; - they will be all made clear when the Christ shall come. The question of ver. 20 had not been answered to her liking or expectation: she therefore puts aside, as it were, what has been said, by a remark on that suspicion which was arising in her mind. It is not certain what expectations the Samaritans had regarding the Messiah. The view here advanced might be well derived from Deut. xviii. 15;-and the name, and much that belonged to it, might have been borrowed from the Jews originally. which is called Christ appear to me to be the words of the woman, not of the Evangelist; for in this latter case he would certainly have used Messias again in ver. 29. See also the difference of expression where he inserts an interpretation, ch. i. 42: xix. 13, 17. It is possible that the name "Christ" had become common in popular parlance, like many other Greek words and names.
The verb rendered will tell us is
1 especially of enouncing or propounding by divine or superior authority. 26.] Of the reasons which our Lord had, thus to declare Himself to this Samaritan woman and through her to the inhabitants of Sychem (ver. 42), as the Christ, thus early in his ministry, we surely are not qualified to judge. There is nothing so opposed to true Scripture criticism, as to form a preconceived plan and rationale of the course of our Lord
in the flesh, and then to force recorded events into agreement with it. Such a plan will be formed in our own minds from continued study of the Scripture narrative:- but by the arbitrary system which I am here condemning, the very facts which are the chief data of such a scheme, are themselves set aside. When De Wette says, 'This early and decided declaration of Jesus is in contradiction with Matt. viii. 4, and xvi. 20,'-he forgets the very different circumstances under which both those injunctions were spoken-while he is forced to confess that it is in agreement with the whole spirit of the Sermon on the Mount. He who knew what was in man, varied His revelations and injunctions, as the time and place, and individual dispositions required. I] In saying I that speak unto thee, He intends a reference to her words, "will tell us all things,"I am He, who am now speaking to thee-fulfilling part of this telling all things; see also her confession ver. 29. 27.] The ground of their wonder, as given in the original, was the circumstance, that our Lord was talking with a woman. None of them said either-to the woman-What seekest
thou? or to the Lord, Why disputest