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John Wesley's Explanatory Notes
on the Whole Bible

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 Chapter 3
Chapter 5
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IV. 1. The Lord knew - Though none informed him of it.

Verse 3. He left Judea - To shun the effects of their resentment.

Verse 4. And he must needs go through Samaria - The road lying directly through it.

Verse 5. Sychar - Formerly called Sichem or Shechem. Jacob gave - On his death bed, Genesis 48:22.

Verse 6. Jesus sat down - Weary as he was. It was the sixth hour - Noon; the heat of the day.

Verse 7. Give me to drink - In this one conversation he brought her to that knowledge which the apostles were so long in attaining.

Verse 8. For his disciples were gone - Else he needed not have asked her.

Verse 9. How dost thou - Her open simplicity appears from her very first words. The Jews have no dealings - None by way of friendship. They would receive no kind of favour from them.

Verse 10. If thou hadst known the gift - The living water; and who it is -He who alone is able to give it: thou wouldst have asked of him -On those words the stress lies. Water - In like manner he draws the allegory from bread, John 6:27, and from light, 8:12; the first, the most simple, necessary, common, and salutary things in nature. Living water - The Spirit and its fruits. But she might the more easily mistake his meaning, because living water was a common phrase among the Jews for spring water.

Verse 12. Our father Jacob - So they fancied he was; whereas they were, in truth, a mixture of many nations, placed there by the king of Assyria, in the room of the Israelites whom he had carried away captive, 2 Kings 17:24. Who gave us the well - In Joseph their supposed forefather: and drank thereof - So even he had no better water than this.

Verse 14. Will never thirst - Will never (provided he continue to drink thereof) be miserable, dissatisfied, without refreshment. If ever that thirst returns, it will be the fault of the man, not the water. But the water that I shall give him - The spirit of faith working by love, shall become in him - An inward living principle, a fountain - Not barely a well, which is soon exhausted, springing up into everlasting life - Which is a confluence, or rather an ocean of streams arising from this fountain.

Verse 15. That I thirst not - She takes him still in a gross sense.

Verse 16. Jesus saith to her - He now clears the way that he might give her a better kind of water than she asked for. Go, call thy husband - He strikes directly at her bosom sin.

Verse 17. Thou hast well said - We may observe in all our Lord's discourses the utmost weightiness, and yet the utmost courtesy.

Verse 18. Thou hast had five husbands - Whether they were all dead or not, her own conscience now awakened would tell her.

Verse 19. Sir, I perceive - So soon was her heart touched.

Verse 20. The instant she perceived this, she proposes what she thought the most important of all questions. This mountain - Pointing to Mount Gerizim. Sanballat, by the permission of Alexander the Great, had built a temple upon Mount Gerizim, for Manasseh, who for marrying Sanballat's daughter had been expelled from the priesthood and from Jerusalem, Nehemiah 13:28. This was the place where the Samaritans used to worship in opposition to Jerusalem. And it was so near Sychar, that a man's voice might be heard from the one to the other. Our fathers worshipped - This plainly refers to Abraham and Jacob (from whom the Samaritans pretended to deduce their genealogy) who erected altars in this place: Genesis 12:6,7, and Genesis 33:18,20. And possibly to the whole congregation, who were directed when they came into the land of Canaan to put the blessing upon Mount Gerizim, Deuteronomy 11:29. Ye Jews say, In Jerusalem is the place - Namely, the temple.

Verse 21. Believe me - Our Lord uses this expression in this manner but once; and that to a Samaritan. To his own people, the Jews, his usual language is, I say unto you. The hour cometh when ye - Both Samaritans and Jews, shall worship neither in this mountain, nor at Jerusalem - As preferable to any other place. True worship shall be no longer confined to any one place or nation.

Verse 22. Ye worship ye know not what - Ye Samaritans are ignorant, not only of the place, but of the very object of worship. Indeed, they feared the Lord after a fashion; but at the same time served their own gods, 2 Kings 17:33. Salvation is from the Jews - So spake all the prophets, that the Saviour should arise out of the Jewish nation: and that from thence the knowledge of him should spread to all nations under heaven.

Verse 23. The true worshippers shall worship the Father - Not here or there only, but at all times and in all places.

Verse 24. God is a Spirit - Not only remote from the body, and all the properties of it, but likewise full of all spiritual perfections, power, wisdom, love, holiness. And our worship should be suitable to his nature. We should worship him with the truly spiritual worship of faith, love, and holiness, animating all our tempers, thoughts, words, and actions.

Verse 25. The woman saith - With joy for what she had already learned, and desire of fuller instruction.

Verse 26. Jesus saith - Hasting to satisfy her desire before his disciples came. l am He - Our Lord did not speak this so plainly to the Jews who were so full of the Messiah's temporal kingdom. If he had, many would doubtless have taken up arms in his favour, and others have accused him to the Roman governor. Yet he did in effect declare the thing, though he denied the particular title. For in a multitude of places he represented himself, both as the Son of man, and as the Son of God: both which expressions were generally understood by the Jews as peculiarly applicable to the Messiah.

Verse 27. His disciples marvelled that he talked with a woman - Which the Jewish rabbis reckoned scandalous for a man of distinction to do. They marvelled likewise at his talking with a woman of that nation, which was so peculiarly hateful to the Jews. Yet none said - To the woman, What seekest thou? - Or to Christ, Why talkest thou with her?

Verse 28. The woman left her water pot - Forgetting smaller things.

Verse 29. A man who told me all things that ever I did - Our Lord had told her but a few things. But his words awakened her conscience, which soon told her all the rest. Is not this the Christ? - She does not doubt of it herself, but incites them to make the inquiry.

Verse 31. In the meantime - Before the people came.

Verse 34. My meat - That which satisfies the strongest appetite of my soul.

Verse 35. The fields are white already - As if he had said, The spiritual harvest is ripe already. The Samaritans, ripe for the Gospel, covered the ground round about them.

Verse 36. He that reapeth - Whoever saves souls, receiveth wages - A peculiar blessing to himself, and gathereth fruit - Many souls: that he that soweth - Christ the great sower of the seed, and he that reapeth may rejoice together - In heaven.

Verse 37. That saying - A common proverb; One soweth - The prophets and Christ; another reapeth - The apostles and succeeding ministers.

Verse 38. I - he Lord of the whole harvest, have sent you - He had employed them already in baptizing, John 4:2.

Verse 42. We know that this is the Saviour of the world - And not of the Jews only.

Verse 43. He went into Galilee - That is, into the country of Galilee: but not to Nazareth. It was at that town only that he had no honour. Therefore he went to other towns.

Verse 44. Matthew 13:57.

Verse 47. To come down - For Cana stood much higher than Capernaum.

Verse 48. Unless ye see signs and wonders - Although the Samaritans believed without them.

Verse 52. He asked the hour when he amended - The more exactly the works of God are considered, the more faith is increased.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on John 4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes
on the Whole Bible". <>. 1765.  


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