Departure From Judea
1 Now when Jesustc Several early and important witnesses, along with the majority of later ones (Ì66c,75 A B C L Ws Ψ 083 Ë13 33 Ï sa), have κύριος (kurio", “Lord”) here instead of ᾿Ιησοῦς (Ihsou", “Jesus”). As significant as this external support is, the internal evidence seems to be on the side of ᾿Ιησοῦς. “Jesus” is mentioned two more times in the first two verses of chapter four in a way that is stylistically awkward (so much so that the translation has substituted the pronoun for the first one; see tn note below). This seems to be sufficient reason to motivate scribes to change the wording to κύριος. Further, the reading ᾿Ιησοῦς is not without decent support, though admittedly not as strong as that for κύριος (Ì66* א D Θ 086 Ë1 565 1241 al lat bo). On the other hand, this Gospel speaks of Jesus as Lord in the evangelist’s narrative descriptions elsewhere only in 11:2; 20:18, 20; 21:12; and probably 6:23, preferring ᾿Ιησοῦς most of the time. This fact could be used to argue that scribes, acquainted with John’s style, changed κύριος to ᾿Ιησοῦς. But the immediate context generally is weighed more heavily than an author’s style. It is possible that neither word was in the original text and scribes supplied what they thought most appropriate (see TCGNT 176). But without ms evidence to this effect coupled with the harder reading ᾿Ιησοῦς, this conjecture must remain doubtful. All in all, it is best to regard ᾿Ιησοῦς as the original reading here. knew that the Phariseessn See the note on Pharisees in 1:24. had heard that hetn Grk “Jesus”; the repetition of the proper name is somewhat redundant in English (see the beginning of the verse) and so the pronoun (“he”) has been substituted here. was winningtn Grk “was making.” and baptizing more disciples than John
2 (although Jesus himself was not baptizing, but his disciples were),sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.
3 he left Judea and set out once more for Galilee.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).
Conversation With a Samaritan Woman
4 But he hadsn 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). to pass through Samaria.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.
5 Now he came to a Samaritan towntn Grk “town of Samaria.” The noun Σαμαρείας (Samareias) has been translated as an attributive genitive. called Sychar,sn Sychar was somewhere in the vicinity of Shechem, possibly the village of Askar, 1.5 km northeast of Jacob’s well. near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.sn Perhaps referred to in Gen 48:22.
6 Jacob’s well was there, so Jesus, since he was tired from the journey, sat right down besidetn 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. the well. It was about noon.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.”
7 A Samaritan womantn 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.” came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me some watertn The phrase “some water” is supplied as the understood direct object of the infinitive πεῖν (pein). to drink.”
8 (For his disciples had gone off into the town to buy supplies.tn Grk “buy food.”)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).
9 So the Samaritan woman said to him, “How can you – a Jewtn 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. – ask me, a Samaritan woman, for watertn “Water” is supplied as the understood direct object of the infinitive πεῖν (pein). to drink?” (For Jews use nothing in commontn D. Daube (“Jesus and the Samaritan Woman: the Meaning of συγχράομαι [Jn 4:7ff],” JBL 69 : 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. with Samaritans.)sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.
10 Jesus answeredtn Grk “answered and said to her.” her, “If you had knowntn Or “if you knew.” the gift of God and who it is who said to you, ‘Give me some watertn The phrase “some water” is supplied as the understood direct object of the infinitive πεῖν (pein). to drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”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.
11 “Sir,”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). the womantc ‡ 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. said to him, “you have no bucket and the welltn The word for “well” has now shifted to φρέαρ (frear, “cistern”); earlier in the passage it was πηγή (phgh). is deep; where then do you get thistn The anaphoric article has been translated “this.” living water?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.
12 Surely you’re not greater than our ancestortn Or “our forefather”; Grk “our father.” Jacob, are you? For he gave us this well and drank from it himself, along with his sons and his livestock.”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”).
13 Jesus replied,tn Grk “answered and said to her.” “Everyone who drinks some of this water will be thirstytn Grk “will thirst.” again.
14 But whoever drinks some of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again,tn Grk “will never be thirsty forever.” The possibility of a later thirst is emphatically denied. but the water that I will give him will become in him a fountaintn 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. of water springing uptn 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). to eternal life.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to drawtn Grk “or come here to draw.” water.”tn The direct object of the infinitive ἀντλεῖν (antlein) is understood in Greek but supplied for clarity in the English translation.
16 Hetc 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). said to her, “Go call your husband and come back here.”tn Grk “come here” (“back” is implied).
17 The woman replied,tn Grk “answered and said to him.” “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “Right you are when you said,tn Grk “Well have you said.” ‘I have no husband,’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.
18 for you have had five husbands, and the man you are living withtn Grk “the one you have.” now is not your husband. This you said truthfully!”
19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I seetn Grk “behold” or “perceive,” but these are not as common in contemporary English usage. that you are a prophet.
20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain,sn This mountain refers to Mount Gerizim, where the Samaritan shrine was located. and you peopletn 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. say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.”map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4.
21 Jesus said to her, “Believe me, woman,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. a timetn Grk “an hour.” is coming when you will worshiptn The verb is plural. the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
22 You peopletn 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. worship what you do not know. We worship what we know, because salvation is from the Jews.tn Or “from the Judeans.” See the note on “Jew” in v. 9.
23 But a timetn Grk “an hour.” is coming – and now is heretn “Here” is not in the Greek text but is supplied to conform to contemporary English idiom. – when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seekssn See also John 4:27. such people to betn Or “as.” The object-complement construction implies either “as” or “to be.” his worshipers.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.
24 God is spirit,tn Here πνεῦμα (pneuma) is understood as a qualitative predicate nominative while the articular θεός (qeos) is the subject. and the people who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (the one called Christ);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. “whenever hetn Grk “that one.” comes, he will telltn Or “he will announce to us.” us everything.”tn Grk “all things.”
26 Jesus said to her, “I, the one speaking to you, am he.”
The Disciples Return
27 Now at that very moment his disciples came back.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. They were shockedtn BDAG 444 s.v. θαυμάζω 1.a.γ has “be surprised that” followed by indirect discourse. The context calls for a slightly stronger wording. because he was speakingtn 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. with a woman. However, no one said, “What do you want?”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. or “Why are you speaking with her?”
28 Then the woman left her water jar, went off into the town and said to the people,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.
29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Surely he can’t be the Messiah,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. can he?”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.
30 Sotn “So” is supplied for transitional smoothness in English. they left the town and began comingsn 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. to him.
Workers for the Harvest
31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him,tn Grk “were asking him, saying.” “Rabbi, eat something.”tn The direct object of φάγε (fage) in Greek is understood; “something” is supplied in English.
32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
33 So the disciples began to saytn An ingressive imperfect conveys the idea that Jesus’ reply provoked the disciples’ response. to one another, “No one brought him anythingtn The direct object of ἤνεγκεν (hnenken) in Greek is understood; “anything” is supplied in English. to eat, did they?”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?”).
34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent mesn The one who sent me refers to the Father. and to completetn Or “to accomplish.” his work.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.
35 Don’t you say,tn The recitative ὅτι (Joti) after λέγετε (legete) has not been translated. ‘There are four more months and then comes the harvest?’ I tell you, look uptn Grk “lift up your eyes” (an idiom). BDAG 357 s.v. ἐπαίρω 1 has “look up” here. and see that the fields are already whitetn That is, “ripe.” for harvest!
36 The one who reaps receives paytn Or “a reward”; see L&N 38.14 and 57.173. This is something of a wordplay. and gathers fruit for eternal life, so that the one who sows and the one who reaps can rejoice together.
37 For in this instance the saying is true,tn The recitative ὅτι (Joti) after ἀληθινός (alhqino") has not been translated. ‘One sows and another reaps.’
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
39 Now many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the report of the woman who testified,tn Grk “when she testified.” “He told me everything I ever did.”
40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they began askingtn Following the arrival of the Samaritans, the imperfect verb has been translated as ingressive. him to stay with them.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. He stayed there two days,
41 and because of his word many moretn Or “and they believed much more.” believed.
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 onetn Or “this.” The Greek pronoun can mean either “this one” or “this” (BDAG 740 s.v. οὗτος 1). really is the Savior of the world.”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.
Onward to Galilee
43 After the two days he departed from there to Galilee.
44 (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country.)sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.
45 So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him because they had seen all the things he had done in Jerusalemsn All the things he had done in Jerusalem probably refers to the signs mentioned in John 2:23.map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4. at the feastsn See John 2:23-25. (for they themselves had gone to the feast).sn John 4:44-45. The last part of v. 45 is a parenthetical note by the author. The major problem in these verses concerns the contradiction between the proverb stated by Jesus in v. 44 and the reception of the Galileans in v. 45. Origen solved the problem by referring his own country to Judea (which Jesus had just left) and not Galilee. But this runs counter to the thrust of John’s Gospel, which takes pains to identify Jesus with Galilee (cf. 1:46) and does not even mention his Judean birth. R. E. Brown typifies the contemporary approach: He regards v. 44 as an addition by a later redactor who wanted to emphasize Jesus’ unsatisfactory reception in Galilee. Neither expedient is necessary, though, if honor is understood in its sense of attributing true worth to someone. The Galileans did welcome him, but their welcome was to prove a superficial response based on what they had seen him do at the feast. There is no indication that the signs they saw brought them to place their faith in Jesus any more than Nicodemus did on the basis of the signs. But a superficial welcome based on enthusiasm for miracles is no real honor at all.
Healing the Royal Official’s Son
46 Now he came again to Canamap For location see Map1-C3; Map2-D2; Map3-C5. in Galilee where he had made the water wine.sn See John 2:1-11. Intn Grk “And in.” Capernaumsn Capernaum was a town on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, 680 ft (204 m) below sea level. It was a major trade and economic center in the North Galilean region.map For location see Map1-D2; Map2-C3; Map3-B2. there was a certain royal officialtn Although βασιλικός (basiliko") has often been translated “nobleman” it is almost certainly refers here to a servant of Herod, tetrarch of Galilee (who in the NT is called a king, Matt 14:9, Mark 6:14-29). Capernaum was a border town, so doubtless there were many administrative officials in residence there. whose son was sick.
47 When he heard that Jesus had come back from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and begged himtn The direct object of ἠρώτα (hrwta) is supplied from context. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context. to come down and heal his son, who was about to die.
48 So Jesus said to him, “Unless you peopletn The word “people” is not in the Greek text, but is supplied to indicate that the verb is second person plural (referring to more than the royal official alone). see signs and wonders you will never believe!”tn Or “you never believe.” The verb πιστεύσητε (pisteushte) is aorist subjunctive and may have either nuance.
49 “Sir,” the official said to him, “come down before my child dies.”
50 Jesus told him, “Go home;tn Grk “Go”; the word “home” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and set off for home.tn Grk “and left.” The words “for home” are implied by the following verse.
51 While he was on his way down,sn While he was on his way down. Going to Capernaum from Cana, one must go east across the Galilean hills and then descend to the Sea of Galilee. The 20 mi (33 km) journey could not be made in a single day. The use of the description on his way down shows the author was familiar with Palestinian geography. his slavestn Traditionally, “servants.” Though δοῦλος (doulos) is normally translated “servant,” the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times…in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v.). The most accurate translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος), in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force. met him and told him that his son was going to live.
52 So he asked them the timetn Grk “the hour.” when his condition began to improve,tn BDAG 558 s.v. κομψότερον translates the idiom κομψότερον ἔχειν (komyoteron ecein) as “begin to improve.” andtn The second οὖν (oun) in 4:52 has been translated as “and” to improve English style by avoiding redundancy. they told him, “Yesterday at one o’clock in the afternoontn Grk “at the seventh hour.” the fever left him.”
53 Then the father realized that it was the very timetn Grk “at that hour.” Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live,” and he himself believed along with his entire household.
54 Jesus did this as his second miraculous signtn This sentence in Greek involves an object-complement construction. The force can be either “Jesus did this as,” or possibly “Jesus made this to be.” The latter translation accents not only Jesus’ power but his sovereignty too. Cf. 2:11 where the same construction occurs. when he returned from Judea to Galilee.
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