John Chapter 4 (Study 8th October, 2012) 11 Hayling Close, Fareham, PO14 3AE


The woman at the well


Jesus and his disciples were on their mission. Jesus had already informed them he would teach them, or make them fishers of men.


This was after the first miracle that Jesus had preformed at the marriage of Cana in Galilee.


They were Hungary and the disciples went to buy food.


Jesus entered into a different situation.


The woman at the well was a Samaritan and Jesus was a Jew. She was alone and Jesus too was alone.


Jesus had a mission and purpose to seek and save that, which was lost. The woman not only was a Samaritan but she had many husbands and was living with a man who was not her husband.


Historic division religious and cultural prejudice


Jesus took the initiative, knowing she was a Samaritan and her moral status. The Jewish attitude to Samaritans was one of rejection. The Jews had no dealings with Samaritans.


We recalled that for 700 years there was a division between the Jews and the Samaritans over issues of religious practice. The Samaritans had set up their own worship and practice, in opposition to the Jews and in violation of the Law of Moses. They were wrong in that respect, but they did have knowledge of God and His purposes in they look for the Messiah to come.


It was mentioned that the Pharisees also believed that women were not to be spoken to and they treated them as inferior to men like the Arabs enforced their women to wear the Burkah and follow their husbands as they walked.


Overcoming prejudices


Jesus knew his calling and took the initiative asking the woman for a drink and it was she who brought to the forefront the fact Jesus was a Jew and she was a Samaritan.

She did not expect a Jew to talk to her. This is a common problem among different religious groups.


Jesus then addressed her ignorance saying if she knew the gift of God then she would have asked him for a drink and he would have given her living water.


A common ancestor


She knew, and had knowledge of God, for she states that Jacob was her ancestor and the scripture is clear God spoke to Moses saying, I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And in another place Jacob have I loved Esau have I hated. She was therefore a descendant of Abraham.


 She had knowledge of God even though the Samaritans had deviated from the truth pattern of religion revealed by God in the Old Testament.


This was no hindrance to Jesus. He spoke to her on a natural level asking for a drink of water. This opened up the conversation. He then turned the conversation around to spiritual matters but she did not understand him. So he provoked her by saying to call her husband and so he was now talking about personal things. On her reply he demonstrated the gift of knowledge saying that she not only had no husband but that she had already had five husband already and was now living with a man who was not her husband. This demonstration by Jesus, of the gift of knowledge, convinced her the Jesus was a Prophet.


She then began to speak on spiritual things asking a question about the true place to worship God.


He reply of Jesus was significant because although the Jews were right about worshiping God at the temple in Jerusalem the time had arrived when people would no longer worship at the temple in Jerusalem but worship God in spirit and in truth.


She then expressed her belief in the coming Messiah saying, I Know, that when Messiah comes he will tell us all things. Jesus then informed her that I am he.


It was then that the disciples returned and they marvelled that Jesus spoke to the woman, for they would have been governed by the cultural and religious view of their day. They being Jews would have no dealings with the Samaritans, and also be governed by the false teaching and beliefs of the religious Scribes and Pharisees, of their day. The disciples did not ask him why he spoke to her as they were prepared to learn. 


She tells others about Jesus


She believed the truth and responded by going home to tell her City and telling men what Jesus had said by saying, “Is not this the Christ”, and as a result of her testimony they came to see him for themselves.


Mean while the disciples came with food say Jesus to eat but he continuing in his spiritual talk said he had meat to eat that they knew nothing of. They did not understand him either. So Jesus told them his meat was to do the will of him that sent him and to finish his work. So the Son of God took up the work his father had done in the creation of the world. God rested on the 7th day having finished his work, now Jesus the Son of God came to complete and finish the work not of the natural creation but the spiritual new creation.


Jesus had no ill feelings or wrong notions about women or how men should treat them. Moses in the Old testament looked after women and came their aid as told in the case of Jethro’s daughter by the well, just like this women was by a well. Moses drove off the herdsmen and then helped the women water their flock. He had no wrong view as to how women should be treated. The scriptures did not make women inferior to men


The Pharisees and their Errors


Jesus had to correct many of the false views and teaching of the Pharisees. In fact women played a great part in the work of the Gospel in Jesus time, and if the Pharisees had twisted the scripture and what they taught in respect to the role of women in the world then Jesus came to put matters right. The Pharisees judged by the outward appearance of things. And Jesus said they were like the graves or sepal curs of men that they kept as beautiful buildings and painted white on the outside yet inside they were full of dead men’s bones. So too the Pharisees kept themselves clean by way of outward appearances but inside them were full of evil thoughts judgmental attitudes and all uncleanness.


The Apostles had to correct these errors when they taught the gospel in all the world.


Examples of the Religious errors of the Pharisees


Matthew 23


1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,

2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:

3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.


4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.


5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, 6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.


8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. 9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.


10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. 11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. 13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.


14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye devour widows' houses, and for pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.

15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.


16 Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!


17 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? 18 And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty.


19 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? 20 Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. 21 And whoso shall swear by the temple sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. 22 And he that shall swear by heaven sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.


23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.


24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. 25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.


26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter that the outside of them may be clean also.


27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.

28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.


29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, 30 and say, if we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.

31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them, which killed the prophets. 32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.


33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?


34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:

35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.


36 Verily I say unto you, all these things shall come upon this generation.


37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.


39 For I say unto you, ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.


The disciples return and Jesus straightway brought them to their mission


In response to the disciples astonishment Jesus straightway talked about the spiritual harvest, which related to men and women being called and saved by the gospel that they were being trained to teach.


It was noted the Jesus said the field was white and ready to be harvested. Others had sewn and others were to gather in the harvest then both those who had sewn and those who had harvest would rejoice together. These apostles would be the ones to teach the gospel of Christ and these men were sent by Jesus to teach all those things relating to the Kingdom of God, even as the Samaritan woman had believed when Messiah had come he would tell and teach correctly all things.


Jesus had stated that the time was now come for men to worship the Father in spirit and in truth. So true worship must be spiritual, according to the true gospel pattern, and the Apostles had been set aside by the Lord to teach the truth about all things. The Lord Jesus has given us light, the spirit of God has come to teach us and the Apostles of the Lamb of God had set in order the truths in respect to the worship of God, conduct in the church, relationships between men and women, Children and parents and men and the governments of the natural world.


The religion of the Pharisee


This was born out of natural religion. Men who were not born again can be very religious but that is not the religion of the lord Jesus Christ. These men had religion, just like the Jews and Muslims today and many other religious groups but it is not born out of the new birth nor taught by the spirit of God. Their religion was not spiritual and so was not true.


Then whole world not the Jews only


We noted how that the result of the women going back to her city and telling the men about Jesus being the Christ that they came and they too were blessed after hearing what he had to say for himself. This stated a truth, which was necessary to be told, that they realised Jesus was the Christ the saviour of the world. A phrase which John uses often to refer to the salvation which came by Jesus and was of the Jews was in fact not restricted to the Jews only but also to Gentiles as well. The world meaning both Jew and Gentile and not just the world of the Jews.



It was offered by way of comparison that Great Britain, at one time in our history had been a great nation and it is believed that this was due to her Christian believes and devotion. The Roman Catholics system was like that of the Samaritan system, they had turned from the true worship of God according to Moses and adopted many superstitious ways. At the reformation there was a turning again back to the things of God according the teaching of the Apostles of Christ and Britain became a Great nation. The law also gave the people a day off from work and all shops, and recreational parks, were closed so people but now like the Jews of Jesus time had turned from the truth of God and rejected the reign of God over them and now Britain is in relative darkness, Almost and though the judicial blindness that came upon the Jews in Jesus day as come upon Britain in our day. It is a recognised thing that it is very difficult to speak to English people about the things of God.


In Britain, due to the Reformation, we had great light in terms of the gospel, in our nation it became great and the government of the people set aside Sunday so that all businesses would be closed and all shops so that people could worship God on that day. But now it has all gone. In Europe, those nations that turned away from Catholicism became great and many prospered not only in a spiritual way but also materially. That is not to say all was good because there were divisions between Christian in England and groups in Europe.


At the time of the Reformation, that is the 16 Century, there were two branches of religious beliefs among those involved. There were those who identified with the religious teachings of the Reformers, these were men such as Luther (Germany), Calvin (Geneva), Zwingli Switzerland) and Knocks of Scotland, Latimer, Ridly and Cranmer (English martyrs) and those who remained connected to Rome and believed those things taught by Erasmus. This produced two strains of religious among professing believers. The Calvinist and the Arminian views.


Calvinist and Arminian views


In a similar way like in the time of Jesus, the Samaritans had broken away from the Jews and worshiped as they felt they wanted to in their mountain.  The Jews according to the Law of Moses continued worshipping at Jerusalem. The Jew was what would be referred too, as Orthodox. The Jews, for that reason had no dealings with the Samaritans as they were in religious error. The Jews, being governed by the Scribes and Pharisees rejected the Samaritans but they fell into error themselves they even rejected Jesus too, saying at one time say we not well you are Samaritan. Both the Jews and the Samaritans held differing religious beliefs. The Jews believing they were absolutely right in all things but they were not.


Look how they rejected Jesus


John 8  48then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? 49Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. 50And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. 51Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. 52Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. 53Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? 54Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: 55Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. 56Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. 57Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 58Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. 59Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.



So by way of application


A prophet is not generally accepted by his own people. Jesus was not accepted readily by his family as a prophet. So do not be discouraged if people do not readily accept you or your testimony.


Jesus approached the Samaritan woman with a question on every day things in order to start the conversation. The woman would not have spoken to Jesus due to her knowledge the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. So it was necessary for Jesus to take the first step


The Samaritan had knowledge of God and so it was this knowledge that was used by Jesus to instruct the people as to the way of salvation.


English people are very hard to reach and it is believed this is due to their lack of knowledge and ignorance. To tell an English man about what the Lord has done for you is the right thing to do. So sewing the seed of the word of God is always appropriate.

You may sew the seed and another may reap the harvest at a later date    

29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”

30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbour to him who fell among the thieves?”

37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”


Disciples in error and a wrong spirit

A Samaritan Village Rejects the Saviour Luke 9.

51 Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, 52 and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. 53 But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. 54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”

55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.And they went to another village.

Moses seat


The Jews although they held to the factual, history truths of God and worship, yet they came short of real religion. Jesus said of the Pharisee, these sit in Moses seat, listen to their words but do not do as they do. Remember Salvation if of the Jews!! The scriptures of the Old Testament contained the doctrines and the way of salvation. Those blessed with faith and believed were saved and received the lord Jesus. The Samaritans who had turned aside from the practice of worship according to the Law of Moses, still retained and knowledge of God and believed that Messiah was to come. In this passage those who believed the words and in the person of the lord Jesus Christ were saved and went on to worship God in spirit and truth as taught by the Lord Jesus Him self.  His apostles and we have their teachings her in the New Testament scripture.


The Roman Catholic Church, like the Samaritans turned from the gospel truth and added many things to their religious practice, which were not true of helpful. How ever like this Samaritan woman there be many now who will hear the voice of the Lord Jesus and come to him for salvation and then follow the Lord and worship the Father in spirit and in Truth.


It was noted that being Orthodox, like the Jews and in particular the leaders like the Scribes and Pharisees, did not make a person right before God. They missed the mark of true worship. This being due to their sin of pride and arrogance, not realizing they too were in need of salvation and the forgiveness of sins. They said they were never in bondage to any man, and Jesus had to say that they that commit sin are servants of sin.


The Samaritans had retained a knowledge of God and when the believed in the Lord Jesus were saved.


David mentioned his time in the Strict and Particular Baptists.  These would be considered orthodox Christians, just like the Jews of Jesus time, they believed that they were the true religious group and every one else was wrong. The orthodox position for Christians was that of the Calvinistic belief, whilst the other group of Christians were Arminian. These would follow the general teaching of Erasmus, the Roman Catholic theologian.


As the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans in Jesus day, so too, the Strict and Particular Baptists had no dealings with the Arminians, in David’s day. There is a lesson to be learned from Jesus going out of his way to speak to this Samaritan woman.


Now Jesus put no difference between religious views, as he knew all were in need of salvation, irrespective of ones religious upbringing. He came to save that which was lost and Jesus saw the harvest was ready to be reaped.


So by way of application


A prophet is not generally accepted by his own people. Jesus was not accepted readily by his family as a prophet. So don’t be discouraged if people do not readily accept you or your testimony.


Jesus approached the Samaritan woman with a question on every day things in order to start the conversation. The woman would not have spoken to Jesus due to her knowledge the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. So it was necessary for Jesus to take the first step


The Samaritans had a knowledge of God and so it was this knowledge that was used by Jesus to instruct the people as to the way of salvation.


English people are very hard to reach and it was suggested by David this was probably due to, not only their lack of knowledge and ignorance, but many have turned away from God and have not been taught about God by their parents, or school. It was suggested that it would be good to tell an English man about what the Lord has done for you as a means of telling the gospel to them.


So sewing the seed of the word of God is always appropriate.


You may sew the seed and another may reap the harvest, at a later date.    Then both sewer and reaper shall rejoice together.


The Samaritans did accept Jesus and many followed him.


Religious groups of our day


David pointed out the similarity between the religious people in his day and the religious people of those in the time of Jesus. Religious people can be so very wrong in their views but Jesus has given us an example as to how to speak to men about the things of God,


Just to name some Calvinists well known to us today and some Arminians. David has likened these two groups to the Jews and the Samaritans of Jesus’s day.


David has also suggested that we could liken the Roman Catholics to the Samaritans, and many orthodox Christians, to the Jews of Jesus’s day.


John Wycliffe

Martin Luther

John Calvin




George Whitefield

John Bunyan

John Gill

Jonathan Edwards

Charles Spurgean

Dwight Moody

Dr Ian Paisley

John Piper

RC Spoul

Dr Martin Lloyd Jones


Just some well knowm men who are Arminians


Jacob Arminius

John Wesley

All General Baptists

Jimmy Swagart

Billy Graham

Benny Hin


The majority of men today are Arminians as they have turned away from the theology of  the Reformers and their teaching, concerning the way of salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ, is not that as taught by these men at the time of the great refromation in europe.This topic comes under the theological term soteriology (the doctine of the salvation).