John 4:1
When Jesus realized that the Pharisees were aware that He was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John
Chance in the Divine EconomyJ. Fawcett, M. A.John 4:1-42
Characteristics of Christ Displayed in This ConversationBp. Ryle.John 4:1-42
Christ Abolishing PrejudicesLange.John 4:1-42
Christ and the SamaritansH. Burton, M. A.John 4:1-42
Christ and the WomanT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 4:1-42
Christ and the Woman of SamariaBp. Ryle.John 4:1-42
Christ and the Woman of SamariaCaleb Morris.John 4:1-42
Christ At Jacob's WellCarl Keogh, D. D.John 4:1-42
Christ Driven AwayJeremiah Dyke.John 4:1-42
Christ in His Human Weakness and Divine ExaltationLange.John 4:1-42
Christ's Gentleness with the FallenJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.John 4:1-42
Christ's RequestBp. Ryle.John 4:1-42
Commendable EnthusiasmDr. Guthrie.John 4:1-42
Connection Between the Conversations with the Woman of Samaria and with NicodemusBp. Westcott.John 4:1-42
He Left JudaeaW. H. Dixon., Canon Westcott.John 4:1-42
In the Path of ChristJ. Trapp.John 4:1-42
Influence After DeathH. W. Beecher.John 4:1-42
Its HistoryBp. Ryle.John 4:1-42
Jacob's Well a TypeL. R. Bosanquet.John 4:1-42
Jacob's Welt an Emblem of the SanctuaryR. H. Lovell.John 4:1-42
Jesus At the WellS. S. TimesJohn 4:1-42
Jesus At the WellSermons by the Monday ClubJohn 4:1-42
Jesus At the Well of SycharJames G. Vose.John 4:1-42
Jesus Found At the WellJohn 4:1-42
Jesus Sitting on the WellC. H. SpurgeonJohn 4:1-42
No Sympathy Without SufferingBoswell.John 4:1-42
Our Attitude Towards SamariaW. Hawkins.John 4:1-42
Providence Shown in ConversionsJ. Flavel.John 4:1-42
Sat Thus on the WellF. Godet, D. D.John 4:1-42
Soul-Winning TactBible Society ReportJohn 4:1-42
Subsidiary PointsH. J. Van Dyke, D. D.John 4:1-42
Suffering Begets SympathyJ. Trapp.John 4:1-42
Tact and Kindness Will Win SoulsJohn 4:1-42
The Appropriateness of the Place for the PurposeJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:1-42
The ConferenceJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Drawer of WaterJ. R. Macduff; D. D.John 4:1-42
The First Visit to SamariaG. D. Boardman, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Interior of the WellLieut. S. Anderson, R. E.John 4:1-42
The Jewish Treatment of WomenS. S. TimesJohn 4:1-42
The Journey to SamariaA. Beith, D. D.John 4:1-42
The LocalityF. I. Dunwell, B. A.John 4:1-42
The Lost One Met and SavedJ. Gill.John 4:1-42
The Model TeacherC. S. Robinson, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Needs BeJ. Macduff, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Occasion of the JourneyW. Arnot, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Ordinances NecessaryDean Goulburn.John 4:1-42
The Parcel of Ground that Jacob Gave to His Son JosephA. Beith, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Pedagogy or Rudimentary Teaching of JesusC. E. Luthardt, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Real Significance of the Woman's Coming to ChristJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Realness of the SceneDean Stanley.John 4:1-42
The Retreat of JesusJohn 4:1-42
The Revolution Christ Effected in the Treatment of WomenJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Rite of BaptismT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Self-Abnegation of ChristC. E. Luthardt, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Sixth HourBp. Ryle.John 4:1-42
The Thirsting SaviourA. Warrack, M. A.John 4:1-42
The Three BaptismsF. Godet, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Weary PilgrimJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Woman of SamariaJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Woman of SamariaW. Jay.John 4:1-42
Topography of Jacob's Well and NeighbourhoodC. Geikie, D. D.John 4:1-42
Unquenchable EnthusiasmD. L. Moody.John 4:1-42
Utilizing Disagreeable NecessitiesA. F. Muir, M. A.John 4:1-42
Value of a Well in the EastH. W. Beecher.John 4:1-42
Weariness and WorkW. Poole Balfern.John 4:1-42
Why Christ Did not Personally BaptizeJohn 4:1-42
Why Religious Ordinances are Sometimes UnprofitableD. Guthrie, D. D.John 4:1-42

If this passage describes the fulness of spiritual gifts and powers bestowed by God upon the Lord Jesus, then there is here implicit or explicit mention of the Three Persons of the Trinity. Impossible though it is for the finite intellect thoroughly to understand the statement, Christians receive it in faith, and believe that the Father bestows the Spirit upon the Son, and that in unstinted liberality.


1. The immediate suggestion seems to be the language in which John the Baptist acknowledged the superiority of the Messiah, whose herald and forerunner he was appointed to be. John was inspired in such measure as was requisite in order to the accomplishment of his mission. But the compass of his revelation was limited, and, powerful as was his preaching, it was of necessity human, and by its very aim one-sided. The inspiration of Christ was very different; for his ministry was Divine and perfect, and needed qualifications altogether transcending those which sufficed for his forerunner.

2. The same was the case with the earlier prophets of the older dispensation. They could, indeed, truly preface their prophecies with the declaration, "The Spirit of the Lord was upon me." But they were commissioned for a purpose, and they were inspired accordingly; and when they foretold the advent of the Messiah, they foretold that that advent should be accompanied by a Divine effusion of blessing - a very flood of spiritual energy and life. And they, as well as John, testified beforehand of the higher gifts of him who should come.


1. The Lord Jesus was, by virtue of his Divine nature, capable of receiving the Spirit in a larger degree than all who went before him, than all who followed him.

2. The Father's approval and love of the Son were unlimited; for Christ did always those things that pleased the Father, and the Father declared himself to be well pleased with him.

3. Inasmuch as the Father sent his Son upon a mission altogether unique, one requiring most peculiar qualifications, it was evidently necessary that there should be a corresponding impartation of spiritual power, that the work might be not only performed, but performed in a manner wanting in no respect. The greatest of all works needed the greatest of all gifts.

III. THERE WERE PROOFS IN OUR LORD'S CHARACTER AND MINISTRY THAT HE POSSESSED AN INEXHAUSTIBLE SUPPLY OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD. The whole of the Gospels might be quoted in support of this assertion. Upon Christ rested the Spirit, as the Spirit of wisdom, of power, and of love. His discourses, his mighty works, his demeanour under suffering and wrong, his willing death, his glorious exaltation, - all evinced the presence and indwelling of the immortal power that pervades and hallows to highest ends the spiritual universe of God.


1. Christ's ministry was perfectly acceptable to the Father, who both commissioned and qualified him to become the Mediator.

2. The perfect efficiency of this wonderful ministry was thus secured.

3. The glorious results of Christ's coming into the world were thus accounted for. Why did the Pentecostal effusion, and the subsequent dispensation of the Holy Ghost, follow the exaltation of the Mediator to the throne of dominion? Evidently because in Christ the Spirit overflowed from himself to his people, and to the race for whom he died; because he "received gifts for men." Himself participating in unlimited supply in the graces of the Holy Spirit, he became the glorious agent through whom copious blessings were conferred upon the Church and upon the world. He received, not for himself merely, but for us also. The gifts were unto him, but they were for us. - T.

When therefore the Lord knew.


1. The memorable halt (vers. 1-6).

2. The surprising request (vers. 7-9).

3. The opened vista (ver. 10).

4. The proud reminiscence (vers. 11, 12).

5. The perennial fountain (vers. 13, 14).

6. The weary request (ver. 15).

7. The merciful wound (vers. 16-18).

8. The everlasting debate (vers. 19, 20).

9. The majestic annunciation (vers. 21-24).

10. The sublime claim (vers. 25, 26).

11. The marvellous wonder (vers. 17).

12. The startling surmise (vers. 28-30).

13. The bidden manna (vers. 31-35).

14. The cheery parable (vers. 35-38).

15. The glorious harvest (vers. 39-42).


1. The duty of seizing opportunities.

2. A model for religious conversation.

3. The true method of quenching the soul's thirst (vers. 13, 14).

4. The spirituality of Christian worship (vers. 21-24).

5. A test of Messiahship (ver. 29).

6. The sense of vocation the true food (ver. 31-34).

7. Harvesting the Church's privilege and duty (ver. 35).

8. The community of Christian fruition (ver. 36).

9. The present the harvest of the past (vers. 37, 38).

10. The power of a single conversion (ver. 39).

11. Spiritual privileges to be cherished (ver. 40).

12. The superiority of personal experience (ver. 41, 42).

13. A pastor's personal invitation.

(G. D. Boardman, D. D.)

This history teaches us that —

I. No soul is so LOST BUT THE LORD CAN FIND IT. Frivolity was natural to this woman. She had lived without restraint and morality. Woman has one safeguard against sin — innate delicacy. This lost, all is lost; and this was so with the Samaritan. How many would have turned away from her as hopeless, But Christ turns to her because she is a soul whom the Father has given Him to save.

II. NO OCCASION IS SO TRIFLING BUT THE LORD CAN USE IT. The woman comes to draw water, a common act, by a common way. Who would have thought that the way would have led to everlasting life? The least trifle may become in God's hand a means of salvation: a word spoken at random, a familiar scene, an unforeseen hindrance, the monotony of life, the influence of a friend. God's seeking grace encompasses us like the air we breathe.

III. NO STRENGTH IS SO FEEBLE BUT THE LORD CAN INCREASE IT. Few could have been morally weaker than this woman. She lacked the power to understand Christ and to know herself. Christ had to awaken everything in her. So are we impotent; but the Spirit of Christ helps our infirmities. Christ asks in order that He may give. He requires humility, but only to exalt, the surrender of the old life in order to confer life eternal.

IV. NO BEGINNING IS SO SMALL BUT THE LORD CAN LEAD IT TO A BLESSED END. What a small beginning here I And yet before long a disciple and evangelist is found. Don't despise little beginnings and struggling souls.

(Carl Keogh, D. D.)

S. S. Times.

1. Sharing human infirmity (ver. 6; Isaiah 53:3; Matthew 4:2; Mark 14:34; John 11:35; John 19:28).

2. Accepting human supplies (ver. 7; Matthew 21:17; Mark 2:16; Luke 7:36; Luke 19:5; Luke 24:41).

3. Surpassing human expectations (ver. 9; Matthew 8:27; Matthew 9:8; Matthew 22:22; Mark 5:20; John 3:9).


1. Dispelling ignorance (ver. 10; Mark 2:10; Luke 19:42; John 10:38; John 13:7; John 15:15).

2. Arousing desire (ver. 14; Matthew 5:6; Matthew 11:28; John 3:12; John 14:12; John 16:24).

3. Begetting prayer (ver. 15; Matthew 9:27; Matthew 15:22; Matthew 20:30; Mark 10:47; Luke 18:41).


1. Knowing all things (ver. 17; John 1:48; John 2:25; John 16:30; John 21:17; Colossians 2:3).

2. Illustrating true worship (ver. 23; Exodus 20:3; 2 Kings 17:35; Psalm 96:9; Jeremiah 25:6; Matthew 4:10).

3. Avowing the Messiahship (ver. 26; Psalm 2:6; Matthew 16:16; John 11:27; Acts 3:18, 17:7.

(S. S. Times.)

Sermons by the Monday Club.
How immense the distance between "Give Me to drink" and "I am He."


1. No duty more difficult than that of opening out a conversation on the things of the soul. This an art, because we must learn it by practice through mistakes and discouragement. Jesus left few discourses, because His teaching was mostly conversational, suggested by passing things. Beginning here with human thirst and eliciting questions, He gradually and naturally led up and on to the highest truths.

2. Notice the skill with which Jesus avoids a plain answer to a plain question, and so replies that He becomes the questioner and arouses deepening curiosity and interest.

3. The use He made of the woman's moral intuitions and the truths she already knew. This was the favourite method of His dialectics.

4. Here do we need our lesson from Christ.(1) How perfectly He entered into human need!(2) He had infinite patience with the narrow and dull and earthbound.(3) With all this went an equal faith in that hidden but immortal power to which He appealed.


1. Living water.(1) The comparison of spiritual blessings to water familiar in Scripture.(2) The characteristic of this water is that it is a gift. Men do not have to fetch, buy, nor earn salvation, but receive it.(3) This water of life is not Christ, for He gives it, but the whole truth and grace which make for salvation.

2. True worship.(1) The vital inward power brings one into the true attitude of worship. The heart first, form afterwards.(2) True worship must be an inward secret thing. Ritual, music, etc., only aid the silent movements of the soul towards God.(3) True worship must be true to God's requirements and our own moral wants, not merely honest and sincere, although misguided, but in accordance with the reality of things.(4) The Father seeks such worship.

3. Jesus the Messiah. Salvation was of the Jews, but Christ was the fulfilment of hopes as old as the race.

(Sermons by the Monday Club.)

1. The person here introduced was a member of a race specially hateful to the Jews; but Jesus was above the prejudice of His nation.

2. The Samaritan was a woman. "Never speak to a woman in the street, even if she be thy wife"; "Burn the words of the law rather than teach them to a woman," were current maxims in Jewish society. But Christ, in the unsullied purity of His manhood, brushed aside as cobwebs all social regulations which tended to perpetuate feminine servitude.

3. This woman lived in habitual sin. But Christ came to save sinners. Notice Jesus Christ —

I. ENLIGHTENING THE WOMAN. He leads her from natural to spiritual subjects.

1. Observe His sweet courtesy. He opens the conversation, not with a sneer or opprobrious epithet, after the manner of a Jew, but with a request; and notwithstanding her ungracious rebuff, not one word of rebuke escapes Him. A most gentlemanly stranger. True religion teaches us to be courteous. This urbanity impressed her, and He became successively in her eyes Jew, Sir, Prophet, Christ. The truth must be spoken in love, and love will impress quite as much as truth.

2. Notice that the woman's lack of culture did not hinder Christ making the grandest disclosures. A radical mistake is made when the attempt is made to simplify the gospel beyond what Christ has done. The sublime will always awaken the corresponding consciousness. This is one reason why the words of Christ have more power and permanence than the systems of men.

3. The Lord made a discovery to this woman which He never made to any one else — His Messiahship. Why? Because that would not have been safe in Judaea or Galilee? Rather because of the different dispositions of those He addressed.

II. RECLAIMING THE WOMAN. The object of His enlightening her was to save her.

1. Christ always aimed at doing good.(1) In ancient times men did good spasmodically; relief was the result of natural impulse. But in Christianity impulse has been dignified into a principle.(2) Plato and Aristotle teach you to love men for your own sakes; Christ for their sakes and His. The essence of the gospel is not self-interest, but self-sacrifice.

2. He sought to do the highest good by reclaiming the worst characters. There are three stages in history relative to this subject.(1) A state of well-nigh complete insensibility. The Iliad delineated heroes and cowards, strong men and weak, but not good and bad.(2) The next stage is marked by the awakening of conscience and of the idea of right and wrong. Virtue is applauded, vice censured. But the idea of justice taught men to sympathize with the man sinned against, not the sinner.(3) The last stage is that of full-orbed mercy in Christ, teaching us to compassionate both the injurer and the injured. Christ changed the attitude of the world in respect to its notorious sinners.

3. To accomplish these ends He threw into His philanthropic movements unprecedented zeal (ver. 34).(1) He had infinite faith in human nature. He saw its hidden potentialities. A lady, examining one of Turner's pictures, remarked: "But, Mr. T., I do not see these things in nature." "Madam," replied the artist, with pardonable naivete, "don't you wish you did?" Christ saw what none of His contemporaries saw. The age was pessimistic; Christ was the only optimist of His time.(2) According to the strength of His hope was the fervour of His zeal.

III. INSPIRING THE WOMAN, inparting to her His own enthusiasm.

1. She at once set about converting her neighbours. She did not lecture them; she only related her experience. We can also "say" if we cannot preach. Despise not the day of small things. Her "saying" led to the evangelization of a whole city.

2. The success attending the woman's simple efforts filled the Saviour with holy joy.

(J. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.)

I. THE MINGLED TACT AND CONDESCENSION OF CHRIST IN DEALING WITH A CARELESS SINNER. He does not begin with reproof, but with a request for water, a subject uppermost in her thoughts. This at once threw a bridge across the gulf between them. So Christian workers must go to the sinful, and bear down upon them in the spirit of friendly aggression, studying the best avenues to their hearts, and avoiding any show of superiority.

II. CHRIST'S READINESS TO GIVE MERCIES TO CARELESS SINNERS. If she had asked, He would have given. "Ask and receive."

III. THE PRICELESS EXCELLENCE OF CHRIST'S GIFTS WHEN COMPARED WITH THE THINGS OF THIS WORLD (vers. 13, 14). Thousands of men have every temporal good, and are yet weary and dissatisfied. Jesus alone can give solid happiness. His waters may have their ebbing seasons, but they are never completely dried.

IV. THE ABSOLUTE NECESSITY OF CONVICTION TO CONVERSION. The woman was comparatively unmoved until our Lord exposed her breach of the seventh commandment. From that moment she is an Inquirer after truth. Till a sinner sees himself as God sees him he will continue careless and trifling. Conscience must be pricked by the preaching of the law.

V. THE USELESSNESS OF ANY RELIGION WHICH ONLY CONSISTS OF FORMALITY. True and acceptable worship depends on the state of the worshipper's heart (1 Samuel 16:7).

VI. CHRIST'S GRACIOUS WILLINGNESS TO REVEAL HIMSELF TO THE CHIEF OF SINNERS. Nowhere in the gospels do we find such an explicit avowal as in ver. 26. Whatever a man's past life may have been there is hope and a remedy for him in Christ. He will undertake to cure the apparently incurable.

(Bp. Ryle.)


1. The occasion (ver. 1; cf. Isaiah 51:13).

2. The route. There were four routes (Matthew 19:2; Acts 23:23). The Jews usually chose that by the Jordan valley, to avoid Samaria.

3. The reason (Luke 9:10).

4. The rest. Notice Christ's humanity.


1. The woman —

(1)A Samaritan;

(2)with some knowledge of God (ver. 20);

(3)expecting the Messiah (ver. 25).

2. The time. Midday. Not the usual hour for drawing water; but a time for such an one to do so unobserved.

3. The request. Compliance with it would have done honour to an archangel. Christ placed Him- self in the position of one desiring a benefit.

4. The reply (ver. 9). This man is not like other Jews.


1. The first flash of light (ver. 10; cf. Ephesians 5:14). Water is sold in Egypt as the "gift of God."

2. Its reception (vers. 11, 12). The woman is perplexed, and seems to struggle between the literal and the spiritual. She changes her mode of address — "Sir." Our Lord takes no notice of her query, but addresses her state of mind.

3. The leading on (vers. 13, 14). The woman's desire is intensified. The light becomes obscured. How true a picture of an awakening soul I

4. The revelation (ver. 16). The request is granted in Christ's way, not in her's. He flashes light on her soul and her past (vers. 18, 29).

5. Her anxious inquiry (vers. 19, 20). How is salvation to be obtained? Not by forms, places, etc.

6. The gift received (vers. 25, 26).

IV. THE EFFECT (ver. 28). She hastens away a saved sinner to save others (John 1:41-45). See a mark of her change, as showing its reality in the fuluess of her confession (ver. 29; cf. ver. 17; Luke 19:8; Luke 23:41; Romans 10:10).

(J. Gill.)

The Fourth Gospel may be called the Gospels of the Conversations, for, more than any other, it reports particular interviews of our Lord with individuals. These conversations, too, are real conversations, for Jesus was not like some famous men, who discourse in monologue. Even His addresses to the multitude were often interrupted by the inquiries or remarks of others, and, in smaller companies, He guided the conversation, while apparently taking the lesser part. The "golden silences" of Jesus are very marked, and George Borrow, in that fascinating book, "The Bible in Spain," relates that the taciturn people of the little Republic of Andorra noticed these silences, and said of them, "Jesus played the Andorran." While He spoke with authority, yet He dispelled all feeling of restraint, and even seemed to awaken in others unwonted freedom. Not unfrequently He gave the thought, and let them do the talking. Christ never appears to have saved anything for a large audience, nor feared that any utterance of truth, breathed into the receptive heart of however humble a hearer, could fail of its effect. And these conversations all have a personal turn. They attach great principles to common life, and they lead people through their own needs to the grandest spiritual truths. Jesus evidently has confidence in the living power of truth, and therefore does not press it, but leaves His hearers to follow out the idea and make the application for themselves. If, then, we would understand the effect of our Lord's conversation with the woman of Samaria, we must read it in the message she bore to her people: "Come, see a man which told me all things that ever I did. Can this be the Christ?" This perfect knowledge of the Christ is our greatest safeguard. It is needful, to defend us from plunging farther into sin, that we have the confidence of a loving Saviour. When we are on the verge of temptation, the thought that He knows and grieves over our past sins may win us back. When will we learn the noonday lesson taught at the well of Sychar, that it is the Christ who reveals us to ourselves! It is not for you to find out your sin, but for Him to reveal it to you. With the Psalmist, you ask God to search you, "that you may be led in the way everlasting." You are to become acquainted with your own heart by having Him read it to you; and all you can tell Him will be of that which He has told you before. Repentance now loses its bitterness, because it is the revelation of the Christ. "Once," says Luther, "I thought no word so bitter as repentance; now there is none more sweet, and those passages in the Bible that used to terrify me now smile and sport about me." In the same spirit, says, in his "Confessions," "I will now call to mind my past foulness and the carnal corruptions of my soul; not because I love them, but that I may love Thee, O my God. For love of Thy love I do it; reviewing my most wicked ways in the very bitterness of my remembrance, that Thou mayest grow sweet unto me." The power of such a revelation of the Christ is manifest in the fact, that the largest harvest of souls our Lord ever gathered while on earth was reaped in the two days He spent at Sychar. A soul brought face to face with Him, beholding His glory by being self-revealed, is a fit instrument to convey to others the advent of the Christ.

(James G. Vose.)

I. His ZEAL.

1. He went to a most unwelcome neighbourhood. His hereditary prejudices were arrayed against it, yet, when the world of Palestine was open to Him, our Lord mast needs go through it.

2. He became a teacher. What condescension of His; what an ennobling of the office.

3. He was satisfied with a class of one scholar. He talked just as long, kindly, and eloquently as He did to thousands. The great doctrines were in many cases given quietly to individuals. Regeneration to Nicodemus; resurrection to Martha; spirituality of worship to this woman.

4. He occupied Himself with a disagreeable pupil. Never was there more unpromising scholar.

5. He laboured with her when He was wearied almost to exhaustion.


1. How ingenious He was in catching an illustration to interest her mind. He took her water-pot for His text, as He did afterwards fish, loaves, etc. Try to link the unknown on to the known.

2. How quick He was in turning the illustration so as to impress her conscience. He knew He had done nothing until He made her feel that she was a sinner. So McCheyne, standing before a forge fire, said gently to the workmen, "Who can dwell with everlasting burnings"; and Payson to his coach companion on nearing their destination, "Are you prepared for the end of the journey which is so much longer than this?"

III. His SPIRITUALITY. He made the interview religious. Like all other sinners, the woman wanted to talk about something else.

1. Jesus avoided all discussion of sectarian questions. She —

(1)Proposed sectarian questions;

(2)Suggested ritualistic points;

(3)Ventured on speculative inquiries.

2. Jesus pressed home the one lesson He wanted her to learn first of all. He told her of —

(1)The exact state of her case, and drew her to an admission of it;

(2)The demands of Divine law;

(3)The Redeemer's help.

3. Jesus completed His work by disclosing Himself.

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

The Church has a twofold mission.

1. To collect the masses, to bear patiently with them and educate them.

2. To go after individuals, person- ally to lay hold of their inner life in order to bring them into a state of salvation. Particular communions have leaned some to one side and some to the other. Romanism has cultivated the social element; lesser communities have laid greater stress on individual faith. Both objects ought always to be united. Let us learn from the pedagogic example of the Lord. Here He reaches the community through the individual; but the individual must first be educated to the faith and knowledge of the truth. There are three steps.

I. The first is reached BY AWAKENING IN THE WOMAN A SENSE OF A DEEPER WANT, the desire for something better than this well can offer.

1. She had regarded life as a matter of sensual enjoyment. The accusations of conscience had not troubled her, and she was happy in her way.

2. Jesus makes her discontented. It was not cruel, only inevitably painful, as is a surgical operation. To destroy quiet is the first step to the cure. Suspended between heaven and earth our souls are drawn to God, but bound to the World, and in the latter we seek happiness. This is the delusion of sin. A life of worldliness assumes a variety of forms, from the most degraded to the most refined, but the principle is the same. And that all is vanity is the first lesson we must learn and teach, to excite the desire for "living water."

II. "GO, CALL THY HUSBAND," is the second stage. The first is of doubtful result. It may lead right or left; to pride and contempt of other men who have no aspiration. Christ's words, there. fore, lead us from the struggle without to that within, to sin as the occasion of the mischief. This sin we must willingly know and renounce. This the woman was led to by the look of love which read her history in her heart. This teaches us to enter lovingly into personal life. A tender solicitude unlocks the heart and encourages confession. The word which exposes sin is the law in the hand of love.

III. Conviction of sin awakens the desire for forgiveness in prayer. The inquiry respecting Gerizim and Jerusalem was no evasion, but led to the third step, where our Lord refers her to THE HISTORICAL REVELATION FOR SALVATION. "Salvation is of the Jews." God must be worshipped in Spirit, yet the revelation of Himself was in Israel, and its end the Messias. It is not enough to tread the path of inward self-knowledge; we must walk also in the way of faith. Not only do we move to meet God, He is come to meet us. The truth of salvation is historical, and the historical gospel is a moral certainty. So the woman proved. The saved individual now seeks to save society. "She left her water-pot," etc. Conclusion:

1. We should go forth and lead souls to Christ as Christ led this woman.

2. No doubt we shall be weary sometimes, but, if the Master was weary, we need not be ashamed, And the wells which men have dug will then be doubly refreshing; for what- ever the Creator has given to man to enjoy is also given for the refreshment of the soul.

3. But the soul lives not by these alone, and when the highest matters press we must be prepared to renounce them, for they do not quench the soul's deepest thirst.

(C. E. Luthardt, D. D.)

I. Our Lord's MERCY is remarkable. That such an one as He should deal so graciously with such a sinner is a striking fact.

II. His WISDOM. How wise was every step of His way in dealing with this sinful soul!

III. His PATIENCE. How He bore with the woman's ignorance, and what trouble He took to lead her to knowledge.

IV. His POWER. What a complete victory He won at last! How almighty must that grace be which could soften and convert such a carnal and wicked heart!

(Bp. Ryle.)


II. OUR LORD'S REAL HUMANITY in His subjection to weariness and thirst.

III. OUR LORD'S REAL DIVINITY in the mastery of all the secrets of the human heart.

IV. OUR LORD'S WILLINGNESS TO IMPART THE DEEPEST TRUTHS TO THE HUMBLEST understanding, thus assuring us that, although God has hid these things from the wise and prudent, He has revealed them unto babes.

(H. J. Van Dyke, D. D.)

When... the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John. —
I. THE DEPARTURE. The reason for it was the jealousy of the Pharisees at Christ's success.

1. Jesus saw that a storm was coming, and withdrew. To abandon the profession or defence of the gospel from dread of suffering is quite a different thing from the persecuted Christian in one city fleeing to another to there hold forth the Word of life.

2. It is that persecutors are not always the open enemies, but are sometimes the professed friends, of religion, and that the name of God has often been associated with relentless cruelty.

3. The Pharisees did not hear Christ, but received reports doubtless exaggerated, for they heard that He personally baptized.

4. The great work of the ministry is not to baptize, but to preach. They are Christ's fellow-workers in discriminating the truth, but not fellow-workers with the Spirit in communicating grace.


1. Although the district was alien, there were souls to be saved.(1) To the eye of man Jesus appeared to be fleeing from persecution.(2) To the eye of God the visit was part of a mysterious plan by which the glory of the Divine government was to be revealed.(3) To the eye of faith it offers an illustration of the manner in which the purpose of God is fulfilled.

2. Christ's presence and work at Sychar, with its illustrious antecedents, offer encouragements to prayer for those who are to come after us.(1) Parents should be stimulated to pray for children's children,(2) Believers to plead for the future of the Church.

(A. Beith, D. D.)

I. FALSE TEACHERS ARE ENEMIES TO THE TRUE. They will join with corrupt magistrates and favour their villainies (Isaiah 9:15), as the Pharisees did Herod against John. Christ, therefore, will rather trust Herod in Galilee than the Pharisees in Judaea (cf. Acts 25:11).


III. WHEN ONE TEACHER IS GONE GOD CAN RAISE UP ANOTHER. The Pharisees thought themselves well when John was out of the way, but Christ gives them more displeasure (Mark 1:14). They thought themselves sure when Christ was crucified, but Christ raised up twelve more to do greater things than Himself. Ministers are mortal, but the Church is immortal (Psalm 2:1).


1. Disciples were made —

2. Then were baptized.

V. GOD TURNS THE MALICE OF MEN TO THE GOOD OF HIS CHURCH The Pharisees drove Christ to Galilee, but on the way a whole city was brought to Him. An ill wind that blows nobody good.

(Jeremiah Dyke.)

The first turning point in His official life.

I. MOTIVES. The Pharisees began to watch Him with hostile eyes; the Baptist is imprisoned.

II. CHARACTER. Free consciousness. He retreats —

1. In free discretion, without fear.

2. In holy discretion, "the Lord knew."

III. RICH RESULTS. Beneficent sojourn in Samaria.


1. He ceases to baptize.

2. He tarries in Samaria on His return.

I. AS PRACTISED BY JOHN (John 1:25-28, 33; John 3:23; cf. Matthew 3:12; Mark 1:4-8; Luke 3:8, 20).

1. Its nature — water baptism. Its mode uncertain. The word signifies either the application of an object to water or water to an object. Hence to immerse (2 Kings 5:14) or to wash (Mark 7:4; Luke 11:38). Against immersion in the present case stand —

(1)The multitudes;

(2)The impromptu and public manner;

(3)Its practice in all seasons.In favour of pouring is the contraposition of "with water" and "with the Spirit" (John 1:33), by which the two baptisms are distinguished. The believer is not immersed in the Holy Ghost, but the Holy Ghost descends on the believer.

2. Its import — purification of the outer life; reformation rather than regeneration.

3. Its design — preparation for Messiah.

4. Its obligation — faith. The recipient was bound to believe in and go over to the Messiah when He appeared.

II. AS CELEBRATED BY CHRIST (through His disciples) (John 3:22-26).

1. Its resemblance to John's.

(1)Performed in the same way.

(2)Possessed the same significance.

(3)Looked towards the same end.

2. Its difference from John's. Administered —

(1)By Christ's express authority.

(2)To such as professed their faith in a "come" Messiah.

(3)With a view of admitting to Christian discipleship.

(4)As an acknowledgment of obligation to learn and obey.

III. AS ADMINISTERED BY THE APOSTLES (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38, 41; Acts 7:13, 36; Acts 9:18, etc.).

1. How tar it agreed with the preceding.

(1)In form it was a baptism with water.

(2)In authority it rested on the commandment of Christ.

(3)In significance it symbolized purification and sealed faith in the Messiah.

(4)In effect it introduced to the Messianic Church.

(5)In design it bound to acceptance of the teaching and obedience to the rule of Christ.

2. How far it went beyond the preceding. It -

(1)Rested on the authority of the risen as well as of the incarnate Christ.

(2)Symbolized inward renewal by the reception of the Holy Ghost.

(3)Was administered on a profession of faith, not simply in the Messiah, but in the Trinity.

(4)Was not restricted to the Jewish people.

(5)Was not provisional, but permanent.

(T. Whitelaw, D. D.)

Lightfoot mentions because —

1. He was not sent so much to baptize as to preach.

2. It might have been taken as a thing somewhat improper for Christ to baptize in His own name.

3. The baptizing that was most proper for Christ to use was not with water, but with the Holy Ghost.

4. He would prevent all quarrels and disputes among men about their baptism, which might have risen if some had been baptized by Christ and others only by His disciples. To these reasons we may add another of considerable importance. Our Lord would show us that the effect and benefit of baptism do not depend on the person who administers it. We cannot doubt that Judas Iscariot baptized some. The intention of the minister does not affect the validity of the sacrament. One thing seems abundantly clear, and that is, that baptism is not an ordinance of primary, but of subordinate, importance in Christianity. The high-flown and extravagant language used by some divines about the sacrament of baptism and its effects is quite irreconcilable with the text before us, as well as with the general teaching of Scripture (see Acts 10:48; 1 Corinthians 1:17).

There are three degrees in the institution: John's baptism, which was a general consecration to the Messianic kingdom by repentance; the baptism of Jesus, an attachment to His person as a disciple; baptism as reconstituted by Jesus after His resurrection as a consecration to the possession of salvation thenceforth acquired by Him for the whole world. We do not find that the subjects of the first baptism (the apostles, e.g.) were afterwards subjected to the second or third. It was they, on the contrary, who were charged with administering the two last (ver. 2; Acts 2.).

(F. Godet, D. D.)

From Jerusalem to Nazareth, by way of the hill towns of Shiloh, Sychar, Nain, and Endor, the distance, as a bird would fly, is about sixty-four .miles, being nearly the same as that from Oxford to London. By the camel paths, and there are no other, it is eighty miles. A good rider, having little baggage and less curiosity, may get over the ground in two Icing days; to do so, however, he must make up his mind to spend twelve hours each day in the saddle, on stony hill-sides, with very. little water, and still less shade, under the blazing light of a Syrian sun. An easy journey, with time to rest and read, to see the wells, rums, and cities on the route, may be made in four days; though better still in five. The Lord and His disciples went through the land on foot, resting by the wells, under the shade of fig-trees, in the caves of rocks. The first part of this journey, a ride of thirty-six miles from the Damascus gate, to be done in about twelve hours, brings you to one of the most lovely and attractive spots in Palestine — the site of Joseph's tomb and Jacob's well.

(W. H. Dixon.)The original word, αφίημι, is a remarkable one; καταλεὶπο might have been expected (Matthew 4:15; Hebrews 11:27); and there is no exact parallel in the New Testament to this usage (yet comp. John 16:28). The general idea that it conveys is that of leaving anything to itself, to its own wishes, ways, fate; of withdrawing whatever controlling power was exercised before. Christ had claimed Jerusalem as the seat of His royal power, and Judaea as His kingdom. That claim He now in one sense gave up.

(Canon Westcott.)

He must needs go through Samaria
The ministry of Christ may be divided into two sections, the Galilean and the Judaean. Taking Capernaum as a centre and describing a circle of ten miles, and taking the Temple as a centre and describing another circle of equal radius — between these two points the life of Christ oscillated. Separating the two provinces was a strip of country inhabited by a mongrel semi-alien race — the Samaritans, between whom and the Jews there was a long.standing feud. How will Christ treat it? Will He pass round it? Will He widen the chasm? Or will He loin the two in one? Let us see.


1. In the Samaritan "Stranger" of Luke 17:11-20, He finds the truest worship of Jehovah offered, not on Moriah, nor yet on Gerizim, but by the wayside.

2. In the parable of the Good Samaritan a comparison is drawn between the Samaritan and the Jew, to the eternal honour of the one, and the eternal shame of the other. The former is placed beside the very elite of Judaism, the priest and Levite, and the Master uses their selfish inhumanity as a foil to throw out more clearly and brightly the noble generosity of this "stranger."

3. Christ is Himself called a Samaritan (John 8:48), doubtless because of His strong Samaritan leanings, and He does not protest.


1. The exception (Matthew 10:5) is due to their narrow views and prejudices.

2. Christ takes them with Him into Samaria (chap. John 4.) and sends them to "have dealings" with the Samaritans; and tarries with them there two days (ver. 40), and thus the old prejudices are removed by friendly hospitalities.


1. He deigns to ask a favour of the Samaritan woman and speaks one of the sublimest discourses of His ministry.

2. She and her fellow-citizens proclaim Christ the Messiah.

3. As a result of this the chasm is filled up (Acts 1:8; Acts 8:5-8). Henceforth the Samaritan is no more the "stranger," but "a fellow-citizen with the saints, and of the household of God."

(H. Burton, M. A.)

1. The first signs of hostility to Christ (ver. 1).

2. The prudence of the Master. Just as it was necessary for Him to die for a world's salvation, so now it is required that He should live in order that the true cause and nature of His death may be manifest. There is therefore nothing unworthy about this escape.

3. We must seek the explanation of this movement, not in the eternal decrees. Samaria would prove a neutral zone to keep His enemies at a distance, and while passing through it would not probably be followed. And besides, it admitted of His utilizing what might have been an anxious period and a waste of time.

I. HE IGNORED A FALSE DISTINCTION. Ceremonial cleanness and goodness were confounded by the Jews; a confusion rectified by the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Church and society are still full of such distinctions.

1. It is for us, not wantonly, but on sufficient occasion to expose and set at nought the error.

2. To get at true distinctions one must first expose false ones. But we must be sure that it is false and that the true does not preponderate, and that we have something better to substitute.

3. Wisdom and courage arc, therefore, necessary.

4. No safer guide can be found than a strong desire to do good and glorify God.

II. HE CONVERTED AN INCONVENIENCE TO A SPIRITUAL USE. He is a fugitive, but He does not hurry through the country, nor forget its spiritual destitution in His own sorrows.

1. Annoyance or ill temper at the disturbance of settled plans ought not to make us weary in well doing. Many are idle in the Church because they cannot get the particular thing they like best. But the greatest discoveries and reforms have been effected by the determination to do what we can.

2. Illtreatment on the part of professors is no excuse for idleness or cynicism.

3. Nor ought we to be engrossed with our own troubles. Doing good is the way to recovery.

4. Let us try to improve the unpleasant and unfortunate people and leave the world better than we find it.

III. A SPECIAL BLESSING ATTENDED HIS IRREGULAR EXTEMPORIZED MISSION. Each incident links itself easily on to another. It almost seems a beautiful creature of circumstances. Inconveniences are often Providential. A fault in the strata may point to richer seams.

(A. F. Muir, M. A.)


1. A wandering star was to be reclaimed from its devious orbit.

2. The locality was most unpromising.

3. What the Church would have missed had this chapter been lacking.

II. THE PEERLESS VALUE OF A SINGLE SOUL IN THE SIGHT OF CHRIST. The narrative is the parable of the Lost Sheep in impressive reality.



(J. Macduff, D. D.)

He must needs go through Samaria, not only because that province lay in His way, but because He was hungry, and in poor half-heathen Samaria lay the savoury meat which His soul loved. In the same manner He must needs pass through our nature and our world, as He goes from the glory of the eternity past to the glory of the eternity to come. It was not any physical necessity; for the Maker of all worlds might bane found another path from glory to glory without visiting this shooting star. But He must needs pass through the abode of fallen humanity on His way to the throne of the kingdom, because He longed to save the lost with a longing like hunger, and here only could be found the food that would satisfy His soul. His own sovereign love laid the necessity upon Himself. The sun, His creature, is under an inherent necessity of giving out light; so Christ, the light of the world, must needs give out the light of life, and therefore He casts Himself in the way of a dark world, as the hungry seeks food and the thirsty makes his way towards water-springs.

(W. Arnot, D. D.)

Happy for them that they lay in our Saviour's way to be looked upon: His paths drop fatness. Luther had rather be in hell with Christ than in heaven without Him.

(J. Trapp.)

Now, there are divers things in those providences Which are versant about this work, and exceedingly sweet and taking; as, viz., The wonderful strangeness and unaccountableness of this work of Providence in casting us into the way, and ordering the occasions, yea, the minutest circumstances about this work. Thus you find in Acts 8:26-30. The eunuch, at that very instant when he was reading the prophet Isaiah, had an interpreter, one among a thousand, that joins his chariot just as his mind was, by a fit occasion, prepared to receive the first light of the knowledge of Christ. So, for the conversion of the Samaritans, it is observed John 4:4) Christ must needs go that way, because it lay just in the road betwixt Judea and Galilee, and at the sixth hour, i.e., high noon, He rests Himself upon Jacob's well, still seeming to have no other design but His own refreshment, by sitting and drinking there; but, oh! what a train of blessed providences follow this, which seemed but an accidental thing! First, the woman of Samaria, and then many more in that city, are brought to believe in Christ, as you find in verses 29 and 41.

(J. Flavel.)

When I was going to Europe in 1867, my friend Mr. Stuart, of Philadelphia, said, "Be sure to be at the General Assembly in Edinburgh, in June. I was there last year," said he, "and it did me a world of good." He said that a returned missionary (Dr. Duff) from India was invited to speak to the General Assembly on the wants of India. This veteran missionary, after a brief address, told the pastors who were present to go home and stir up their churches to send young men to India to preach the gospel. He spoke with such earnestness, that after awhile he fainted, and they carried him from the Hall. When he recovered he asked where he was, and they told him the circumstances under which he had been brought there. "Yes," he said, "I was making a plea for India, and I did not quite finish my speech, did I?" After being told that he did not, he said, "Well, take me back and let me finish it." But they said, "No, you will die in the attempt." "Well," said he, "I shall die if I do not," and the old man asked again that they would allow him to finish his plea, When he was taken back, the whole congregation stood as one man, and as they brought him on the platform, with a trembling voice he said: "Fathers and mothers of Scotland, is it true that you will not let your sons go to India? I spent twenty-five years of my life there. I lost my health, and I have come back with sickness and shattered health. If it is true that we have no strong grandsons to go to India, I will pack up what I have and be off to-morrow, and I will let those heathen know that if I cannot live for them I will die for them."

(D. L. Moody.)

Exception being taken, as I have said, to his energy and vehemence, Rowland Hill told how he had once seen a vast bank of earth, below which some men were at work, suddenly rend asunder; and leaving its bed, precipitate itself forward to bury them alive before they could utter a cry, or move a foot to escape. And who then, he asked, found fault with me, because, in my anxiety to save them, my cries for help were loud enough to call the neighbourhood t6 the rescue, and be heard a long mile away. Left there, they perished, miserably perished — needing what God, not man, always is, "a very present help in trouble."

(Dr. Guthrie.)

There is much in the disposition of the Samaritans that reminds us of the feelings of thousands of our own population to-day. Not only are they alienated from our faith, but they suspect us of a haughty and exclusive, or at least patronising attitude towards them. There is no fiercer resentment than the pharisaic spirit excites. Note the example of Christ.

I. CHRIST DOES NOT AVOID SAMARIA. He will not shun those who entertain prejudices unpleasant to encounter. And we shall never restore the slums to piety if we skirt them with dainty feet.

II. CHRIST DOES NOT HURRY THROUGH SAMARIA, BUT SEEKS CONVERSE WITH ITS INHABITANTS. None mere hurried visits to the headquarters of prejudice, rushing as through a cloud of suffocating smoke we must encounter, but amidst which we will not stay, will suffice. There must be true intercourse.

III. CHRIST IS FORBEARING IN HIS ATTITUDE. His first overture is met with a half-playful, half. bitter reminder of what He never sanctioned, the division of sentiment between Jew and Samaritan. What do we oftener meet? It is irritating to be taunted with the conduct of those whose spirit we do not share, though we may nominally share their religious name. But we ruin our influence by recrimination or bitter rejoinder. Like Christ, we must gently ignore the taunt.

IV. CHRIST, WITH SACRED TACT, INTRODUCES HIS GOSPEL. Had He commenced controversially, the woman's heart would have been hardened; had He commenced with His final announcement (ver. 26), she would have been sceptical; had He commenced with such words as He used to learned Nicodemus, she would have been hopelessly bewildered. But He takes "water" for His text to this water-carrier, and in a picture lesson unfolds the truth. Ours are blind eyes if they see not texts in the commonest things, where-from we may preach the gospel of the kingdom. In that gospel Jew and Samaritan alike find hope and peace.

(W. Hawkins.)

He cometh to a city of Samaria called Sychar
This name is only found in St. John 4:5, but it is universally considered to be the same as Sichem or Shechem, which is frequently mentioned in the Old Testament history. Dr. Robinson (Bib. Res. 3:118) says, "In consequence of the barred of the Jews, and in allusion to the idolatry of the Samaritans, the town Sichem probably received among the Jewish common people the by-name of Sychar, which we find in the Gospel of St. John; while Stephen, in addressing the more courtly Sanhedrim, employs the ancient name (Acts 7:16). Sychar might be derived from a Hebrew root, meaning either falsehood or drunkard." Josephus describes Sheehem as between Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal. The present Nabulus is a corruption of Neapolis; and Neapolis succeeded the more ancient Shechem. The city received its new name from Vespasian. The situation of the town is one of surpassing beauty. It lies in a sheltered valley, protected by Gerizim on the south and Ebal on the north. The feet of these mountains, where they rise from the town, are not more than 500 yards apart. The bottom of the valley is about 1,800 feet above the level of the sea, and the top of Gerizim 800 feet higher still. The site of the present city, which is believed to have been also that of the Hebrew city, occurs exactly on the water- summit; and streams issuing from the numerous springs there, flow down the opposite slopes of the valley, spreading verdure and fertility in every direction. Travellers vie with each other in the language which they employ to describe the scene that bursts here so suddenly upon them on arriving in spring or early summer at this paradise of the Holy Land. "Here," says Dr. Robinson (3:96) " a scene of luxuriant and almost unparalleled verdure burst upon our view. The whole valley was filled with gardens of vegetables, and orchards of all kinds of fruit, watered by several fountains, which burst forth in various parts, and flow westward in refreshing streams. It came upon us suddenly like a scene of fairy enchantment. We saw nothing to compare with it in all Palestine. Here, beneath the shade of an immense mulberry-tree, by the side of a purling rill, we pitched our tent for the remainder of the day and night We rose early, awakened by the songs of nightingales and other birds, of which the gardens around us were full."

(F. I. Dunwell, B. A.)

Few places in Palestine, after Jerusalem, have had so much of Bible history connected with them. Here God first appeared to Abraham (Genesis 12:6). Here Jacob dwelt when he first returned from Padan-aram, and here the disgraceful history of Dinah, and the consequent murder of the Shechemites took place (Genesis 34:2, etc.). Here Joseph's brethren fed their flocks when Jacob sent him to them, little thinking he would not see him again for many years (Genesis 37:12). Here, when Israel took possession of the land of Canaan, was one of the cities of refuge (Joshua 20:7, 8). Here Joshua gathered all the tribes, when he addressed them for the last time (Joshua 24:1). Here the bones of Joseph were buried, and all the patriarchs were interred (Joshua 24:32; Acts 7:16). Here the principal events in the history of Abimeleeh took place (Judges 9:1, etc.). Here Rehoboam met the tribes of Israel after Solomon's death, and gave the answer which rent his kingdom in two (1 Kings 12:1). Here Jeroboam first dwelt, when he was made king of Israel (1 Kings 12:25). And finally, close by Sheehem was the city of Samaria itself, and the two hills of Ebal and Gerizim, where the solemn blessings and cursings were recited, after Israel entered Canaan (Joshua 8:33). A more interesting neighbourhood it is difficult to imagine. Whichever way the eye of a wearied traveller looked, he would see something to remind him of Israel's history.

(Bp. Ryle.)

In two different ways this had come into the hands of Jacob. First, he had purchased it from the "children of Humor," and then, when the Amorite invaded it, and took violent, unrighteous possession, he had, with his "sword and his bow," recovered it. The land thus belonged to Jacob by right of purchase and by right of conquest: it became the property of his son by gift, by inheritance, and by grateful acceptance on his part. Our spiritual Jacob has both purchased our inheritance and taken it out of the hand of the Amorite; so likewise He bestows it freely on His dear children and they gratefully receive it, and rejoice in it as their portion. Eternal life is at once the gift of God and the fruit of faith. It becomes ours according to His eternal purpose, and also by the faith which accepts it — such faith as that of Joseph. Joseph was in Egypt, apparently independent of Canaan. The time when he or his seed could claim the inheritance was far distant — four hundred years of dreadful bondage were included in the intervening period — but Joseph believed. "God will surely visit you," said he to his descendants, when he was dying, " and ye shall carry up my bones from hence." A similar faith had dictated the words of Jacob. "Beheld I die, but God shall be with you, and bring you again to the land of your fathers." A faith having the same origin, exercised against the same discouragements, and producing the same blessed fruits of patience, endurance, and hope, must be ours.

(A. Beith, D. D.)

Now Jacob's well was there
Some years since there lived in the west of England a well-known character called "Foolish Dick." Not being considered quite sharp, one day he was going for a pitcher of water, when a good old man hailed him with "So, Dick, you are going to the well." "Yes," he replied. "Well, Dick, the woman of Samaria found Jesus at the well." "Did she?" was the answer. "Yes," said the good old Christian. Dick passed on, full of thought; the remark riveted on his mind by the Holy Spirit, quickening him into new life. He thought, "Why should I not find Jesus at the well? Oh, that I could find Him! Will He come to me?" He prayed, and found Christ at the well; left his water-pot to tell his neighbours what be had found, and from that time proved the reality of his conversion by his holy and active life, proclaiming Christ to others.

Jesus Himself being weary was the more able and apt to help this poor Samaritress. He that hath had the toothache will pity those that have it. "We are orphans all," said Queen Elizabeth in her speech to the children at Christ's Hospital, "let me enjoy your prayers, and ye shall be sure of my assistance."

(J. Trapp.)

Johnson, whose robust frame was not in the least affected by cold, scolded me as if my shivering had been a paltry effeminacy, saying, "Why do you shiver?" Sir William Scott told me that when he complained of a headache, in the post-chaise, Johnson treated him in the same manner. "At your age, sir, I had no headache."


Many things remind us of our Lord: a well, a weary peasant resting at noon. How truly human was Jesus!

1. How worn was His humanity. He was more weary than His disciples.

(1)He had a greater mental strain than they.

(2)He had a weariness they knew not of.

2. His self-denials even then were remarkable.

(1)He would in all points be made like unto His brethren.

(2)He would not exempt Himself from fatigue.

(3)He would not work a miracle for His own refreshment.

(4)He would not refuse to bear heat, thirst, exhaustion.

3. He has thus made Himself able to sympathize with —

(1)The traveller who rests by the road-side.

(2)The labourer worn out with toil.

(3)The sufferer who feels pain.

(4)The poor man who must rest on a cold stone, and look for refreshment to the public fountain.

(5)The weary mind.


1. Sins (Isaiah 43:24).

2. Formal worship (Isaiah 1:14).

3. Errings through unbelief (Psalm 95:10).

4. Resistance of His Spirit (Isaiah 63:10).

5. Cavillings and rebellions (Malachi 2:17).Perhaps we have specially wearied the Lord, as we read in Amos 2:13, where singular provocations are mentioned. That is a grave question asked by the prophet Isaiah (vii. 13).


1. For comers to the well: He seizes on all occasions to bless, such as affliction, the hearing of the Word, the recurrence of a birthday, or even the simplest event of life. Men have other errands; they come to the well only to draw water, but the Lord meets them with His greater errand.

2. For the most sinful: she that had five husbands.

3. To enlighten, convince, convert.

4. To accept and to commission.

5. To begin by one convert the ingathering of a great harvest. How long He has waited for some of you! At how many points has He been on the outlook for you? Is He not waiting for you at this very hour? Will you not yield to His patient love?

III. LET YOUR PENITENCE DRAW ANOTHER PICTURE. Alter the position of the character.

1. Be yourself weary of your sinful way.

2. Sit down on the well of your Lord's gracious ordinances.

3. Wait and watch till your Saviour conies.

4. Ask Him to give you to drink, and, in so doing, give Him to drink, for this is His best refreshment.

5. Drink yourselves of the living water and then run to tell others.Conclusion: Will you not do this at once? May His Holy Spirit so direct you!

(C. H. Spurgeon,)

1. If now, with all the comforts of tent and equipage, the modern traveller finds locomotion oppressive and exhausting, what must it have been to Christ with no aid but the staff and rough sandal?

2. It is in such incidental occurrences that our Lord's humanity and condescension are most touchingly exemplified.

3. He worked miracles for others, never for Himself.

4. My Saviour is my brother. He took not on Him the nature of angels.

(1)Because angelic nature is a Spiritual essence and incapable of corporeal suffering.

(2)Because He could not then have participated in feeling with those He came to redeem.

5. But my Saviour is my Lord or He could never have relieved my want.

I. Let the WEARY WITH LIFE'S JOURNEY, with pain, travail, and loneliness consider Him, lest they be weary and faint in their souls.

II. Let the WEARY WITH SIN who have come up through hot valleys of temptation, and are now sitting by poisoned wells, the pitcher broken at the cistern, the zest of life gone, without shelter, hear Him say, "Come unto Me and I will give you rest,"

III. Let those WEARY WITH THE BURDEN AND HEAT OF THE DAY IN THE MIDST OF THEIR LIFE'S CALLING, in manhood's sixth hour, one half of existence over, hasten to Him, lest the valley of death, like the valley of Shechem, be close at hand while the fountain of life is neglected. Conclusion. You are Spiritually between the Ebal of courses and the Gerizim of blessings — Which are you to choose?

(J. R. Macduff, D. D.)






1. This world is a place of weariness through sin; but love is a weariness that heaven approves, that of the Shepherd seeking the lost sheep.

2. There is a great mystery in this weariness: for the weary man was God; but He was weary that we might have rest.


1. Christ was weary in His work, not of it.

2. We need not be surprised, therefore, if we are weary.

3. When so, wait upon Him to renew thy strength.


1. Under the most unlikely circumstances God can bring us work and refreshment at the same time. Christ had to all appearance turned His back on His work; but He had not, and when He seemed most unfit He did it most effectively. So Paul was taken from work to prison, but then he was instrumental in the jailers conversion.

2. The willing heart will often create its own opportunities. Christ was weary but watchful. A willing heart can find its work at any time and place. We think we could do more were we better placed. But Christ says, "He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in much."

3. An earnest mind will avail itself of small opportunities, and through little things become really great. Christ was contented with a congregation of one. He did not preach sensational sermons, but sermons which created a sensation. He spake as earnestly to one as to a thousand.

III. CHRIST ASKS US THROUGH HIS WEARY REPRESENTATIVES TO MINISTER TO HIS WEARINESS. The poor, sick, widows, orphans, overworked pastors, etc., in Christ's name cry, "Give me to drink."

(W. Poole Balfern.)

By a singular fate this authentic and expressive memorial of the earliest dawn of Jewish history became the memorial no less authentic and expressive of its sacred close. Of all the special localities of our Lord's life in Palestine, this is almost the only one absolutely undisputed. By the edge of the well, in the touching language of the ancient hymn, "Quoereus me, sedisti lassus." Here He halted, as travellers still halt, in the noon or evening of the day. Up that valley His disciples "went away into the city." Down the same gorge came the woman to draw water, according to the unchanged custom of the East; which still, in the lively concourse of veiled figures round the wayside wells, reproduce the image of Rebekah, and Rachel, and Zipporah. Above them, as they talked, rose "this mountain" of Gerizim, crowned by the Temple, of which vestiges still remain, where the Samaritan sect "said men ought to worship," and to which still, after so many centuries, their descendants turn as to the only sacred spot in the universe: the strongest example of local worship in the world, where the sacredness of local worship was declared to be at an end. And round about them spread far and wide the noble plain of waving corn. It was still winter or early spring, "four months yet to the harvest;" and the bright golden ears had not yet "whitened" their unbroken expanse of verdure. He gazed upon them; and we almost seem to see how the glorious vision of the Gentile world, with each successive turn in the conversation, unfolded itself more and more distinctly before Him, as He sate absorbed in the opening prospect, silent amidst His silent and astonished disciples.

(Dean Stanley.)

Note that —


1. None can measure his power for good. Influence may be mightier after death than in life. When Jacob dug that well, he little thought of the multitudes for whose refreshment he was providing, or of this sacred incident. Do you think the discoverer of printing foresaw the penny newspaper, or Columbus New York, and Boston, and Chicago? God watches over good efforts, and influences to bless them.

2. But if Jacob knew not all his well would do, he knew it would bless. How like a well is a gospel sanctuary! Look at the desert all around — how refreshing this spot in contrast. Here the weary find rest, the thirsty water.

3. Churches, like wells

(1)are made by man's effort, but filled with God's gift;

(2)Are not stagnant pools but living springs?


1. What was it that refreshed Him here? "My meat," etc.

2. And Jesus still comes into our sanctuaries, and asks for small gifts of love as the return for His own greater love. He is yearning to find satisfaction in souls — waiting to see the full fruits of His servants efforts to save men.

3. How grateful was Jesus for this seat. He commanded John to record this gratitude. None of us will ever regret anything done to please Jesus.

4. You say, if I had seen Him, I would have invited Him to my home. Have you opened you heart to the heavenly Guest?


1. He was there before the woman, waiting for her, and thoughtfully sent away the disciples that no restraint might check her conversation. Has He not promised to meet His people in His house? Have you not often said, "It was as though the preacher knew all my circumstances."

2. That woman, often like ourselves, little expected to find her Saviour.

3. She left her water-pot, and how often have you left your burdens.

IV. THIS WELL IS THE PLACE FOR QUIET FREE CONVERSATION WITH THE SAVIOUR, where Christ wants to enlighten, refresh, and pardon.

(R. H. Lovell.)

The ordinances of religion are compared to wells of water; but then they are like Jacob's well. The water lies far below the surface, and to the man of the world, the mere professor of religion, who has the name but not the faith of a Christian, we may say, as the woman said to our Lord, "Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep." Faith is, as it were, the rope, and our souls the vessels, which we let down into this well to fill them with living water. But that they do no good to some forms no reason why we should despise or neglect ordinances. It is no fault in the bread that, thrust between a dead man's teeth, it does not nourish him. Water will revive a withering, but not a withered, plant; wine will revive a dying, but not a dead, man; the breath of your mouth, or the breeze of heaven, will re-kindle the smouldering coal, but not the cold, grey ashes of the hearth. And it is only spiritual life that can derive benefit from such ordinances as are intended to revive the faint and give strength to the weary.

(D. Guthrie, D. D.)

Christ is the well of the water of life. It is by faith the soul reaches out after this living water, Faith is the soul's muscular action, by which the water is drawn up and brought into use. But faith needs as an implement those means which Christ has appointed. These means are the pitcher in which the water is conveyed. Faith is not a Christ; neither are sacraments a Christ; but faith (under all circumstances) and sacraments where they may be had, are necessary to the appropriation and enjoyment of Christ.

(Dean Goulburn.)

It is related of a broker in one of the Italian cities that his strict economy brought on him the reputation of miserliness. He lived plainly and poorly, and at his death a hundred thousand men in the city were ready to curse him until his will was opened, in which he declared that early his heart was touched with the sufferings of the poor in the city for the lack of water. Springs there were none, and the public wells were bad; and he had spent his life in accumulating a fortune that should be devoted to bringing, by an aqueduct, from the neighbouring mountains, streams that should pour abundantly into the baths and dwellings of the poor of the city; and he not only denied himself of many of the comforts of life, but toiled by day and by night, yea, and bore obloquy, that he might bless his fellow-citizens. He is dead; but those streams pour their health yet into the city.

(H. W. Beecher.)

When we remember that in the land where most of the Scriptures were written there was, for the greater part of the year, but burning and scorching heat; that there was no winter, as we understand the term; that water was as precious as gold; and that the digging of a well was the work of kings and princes; that shadow was a luxury, to attain which hours of sore and weary travelling were accounted well spent — we can understand the beauty and force of such figures as Jesus uses in speaking to the woman of Samaria. Digging a well rendered a man the benefactor of his race. "Canst thou do more than dig a well?" was the meaning of the woman's question to Jesus.

(H. W. Beecher.)

As the well is near magnificent springs gushing from the roots of Gerizim, and flowing to the East, the Patriarch's task in sinking so deep a well and building a wall round it, can only be explained by the jealousy which the Canaanites, like all Eastern peoples, regarded their own springs. To have trusted to these would have been to invite trouble. It was, therefore, much better for Jacob to have a well of his own, so as to be independent. This well lies a little off the road, on the right hand. There is nothing visible now above ground. A little chapel, about twenty feet long, once built over the well, has long ago fallen; its stones lying about in heaps. The ground slopes up to the fragments of the broken-down wall. The church dates from the fifth century, but, except these stones, the only traces of it are some remains of tessellated pavements and carvings, which are hidden beneath the rubbish. Over the well is a large stone, with a round hole in the middle, large enough for the skin buckets of the peasantry to pass down. This stone is probably as old as the twelfth century. The mouth is 7.5 feet across, and its depth, which some centuries ago was 105 feet, is still about 75 feet, though for ages every visitor has thrown down stones to hear the echo when they strike the bottom. It is cut through a thick bed of soil, and then through soft rock; the water filtering through the sides to the depth occasionally of 12 feet, though it is dry sometimes for years together. It is thus rather a "beer" or rain pit than a spring well; hence, the contrast between "this water" and "living water." Our Lord must have sat with His face towards the S.W., since He speaks of Gerizim as "this mountain." Around Him were the same sights as are before the visitor of to-day — the rich valley running up westward towards Shechem, with a rippling streamlet in its centre; the groves that border the town hiding the houses from view; the heights of Gerizim, towering in rounded masses one over another to a great height, close before Him on the south. Mount Ebal, steep but terraced almost to the top into gardens of prickly pear, lay behind them; the little hamlet of Balata, where Abraham's altar once stood under the sacred tree; the mud huts of Sychar; a little village now called Askar, not half as far off as Shechem, and the dome of Joseph's tomb being at its foot. To the east, beyond the great plain, was Salim, near to AEnon, where the Baptism preached, and the wooded Hill of Phinehas, with the tomb of the once fiery high priest.

(C. Geikie, D. D.)

Some men were set to work to clear out the mouth of the well, which was being rapidly covered up. A chamber had been excavated to the depth of ten feet, and in the floor of the chamber was the mouth of the well, like the mouth of a bottle, and just wide enough to admit a man's body. We lowered a candle down the well and found the air perfectly good, and after the usual amount of noise and talking among the workmen and idlers, I was lashed with a good rope round the waist, and a loop for my feet, and lowered through the mouth of the well by some trusty Arabs, directed by my friend, Mr. Falcher, the Protestant missionary. The sensation was novel and disagreeable. The numerous knots in the rope continued to tighten and to creak, and after having passed through the narrow mouth I found myself suspended in a cylindrical chamber, in shape and proportion not unlike that of the barrel of a gun. The twisting of the rope caused me to revolve as I was being lowered, which produced giddiness, and there was the additional unpleasantness of vibrating from side to side, and touching the sides of the well. I suddenly heard the people from the top shouting to tell me that I had reached the bottom, so when I began to move I found myself lying on my back at the bottom of the well: looking up at the mouth the opening seemed like a star. It was fortunate that I had been securely lashed to the rope, as I had fainted during the operation of lowering. The well is seventy.five feet deep, seven feet six inches diameter, and is lined throughout with rough masonry, as it is dug in alluvial soil. The bottom of the well was perfectly dry at this time of the year (the month of May), and covered with loose stones. There was a little pitcher lying at the bottom unbroken, and this was an evidence of there being water in the well at some seasons, as the pitcher would have been broken had it fallen upon the stones. It is probable that the well was very much deeper in ancient times, for in ten years it had decreased ten feet in depth. Every one visiting the well throw stones down for the satisfaction of hearing them strike the bottom, and in this way, as well as from the debres of the ruined church built over the well during the fourth century, it has become filled up to probably more than a half of its original death.

(Lieut. S. Anderson, R. E.)

Now Jacob's well was there. The Samaritans were infinitely corrupt in their doctrine and worship, yet they had the fountain of the Mosaic doctrine among them. They had received the Pentateuch, and worshipped God according to Jacob's rites, and the letter of Moses' law. But the letter without the spirit is dead. The stagnant well of water, becoming muddy by agitation, and corrupt by lying undisturbed, is inferior for use and gratification, and is not like the running water of the living spring, which continually freshens itself, and runs itself clear, and is always replenishing itself in purity and copiousness, for use and enjoyment. A greater than Abraham, or Jacob, or Moses, must give them this spring. Jacob's children, after the flesh, drank of that well, but his spiritual children, and they only, should drink of this water.

(L. R. Bosanquet.)


1. The simplicity and humbleness of His life. He comes to this earth as a poor man. Learn from this:(1) That poverty is perfectly compatible with extensive religious usefulness.(2) That religion in particular cases imposes much labour on its disciples.(3) Those who wish to study the Scriptures, must study and labour hard too.

2. The superiority of moral to bodily pleasures. Our Saviour was thirsty, but we do not read that He immediately quenched His thirst.

3. In our Saviour a beautiful instance of amiableness and general benevolence.

II. THE VIEW GIVEN OF OUR SAVIOUR AS A DIVINE TEACHER. — "Sir, I perceive Thou art a prophet!" What did He teach?

1. He instructed the woman in divine worship.

2. Let us look on the same subject in another form, and consider the Saviour as giving the doctrine of worship.

3. And worship of God should be in accordance with His nature and character. God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must do so in spirit and in truth. Our Saviour had in view the overthrow of three great errors: one is atheism. The next error is idolatry. The other error at that time in reference to God and His worship was pantheism.

4. The other lesson our Lord Jesus Christ taught this woman was, He told her all that ever she had done.

III. THE THIRD LIGHT IN WHICH JESUS MANIFESTED HIMSELF, WAS AS THE SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD. Here He spiritualizes the scene, and represents Himself as possessing that which was essential to the happiness of men — living water.

(Caleb Morris.)

Not inappropriate, surely, was it that He should occupy a spot beneath the shadow of Gerizim, "the mountain of blessing;" He Himself about to become so, in a nobler sense, to an outcast, "the shadow of a great rock in a weary land."

(J. R. Macduff, D. D.)

The adverb may designate the attitude of a man who is there, awaiting what God will say; or it reproduces the notion of fatigue; thoroughly worn out with fatigue, as He was; or perhaps it signifies, without any preparation, taking things as He found them.
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