The Great Meaning Behind John 4, is that Jesus can connect with people no matter where he is. We start out the chapter in Samaria and Jesus meets a woman that was despised by her own people. Then we move on and Jesus heals an official’s son. Every time Jesus connects with people, that connection transforms the community around them.
When studying John 4, many people focus on topics like baptism, or racial tension between Jewish people and the Samaritans. While they’re great topics, I believe a more universal topic covers them.
Jesus wants to see you where you’re at, and it shows. At the well, he speaks to a woman that’s an outcast. He goes on to speak with an important official. It’s like he’s saying no matter who you are. I’ll listen to you.
Both people are transformed, and through their transformation whole towns are changed. The message here in John 4 is that the name of Jesus is transformative.
Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3 So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
John 4: 1-11
John 4: Jesus Talks About The Living Water
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
17 “I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.
23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
John 4: 13-26
What Does John 4 Teach Us?
As I sit here reading this story, the major thing I keep seeing is Jesus redirecting the Samaritan women.
For example, after they talk about living water, she asks Jesus where they should be worshipping. Instead of answering her question, Jesus looks deeper into the meaning of her question.
You Jews worship in Jerusalem, but we worship on the hilltop she states. Her question is an age-old one. When we follow Jesus we can often get frustrated because our lives look completely different than the people around us. We don’t like that, and anger fills our hearts because we are still struggling.
Verses 21-24 explain the answer to this. As Christians, we shouldn’t be focused on the latest piece of hype. Instead, we should be focused on the spirit of God.
By focusing on the spirit of God, and worshiping him. We can develop a deeper connection to God. This gives us the ability to hear God, and live our lives with him.
Stop looking at the superficial things that people (including Christians) argue about.
Instead, focus on the 1 thing that matters. Worshiping God. If anything, this is a major part of what John 4 teaches us. (there’s a lot more too)
The Disciples Come Back:
Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”
28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”
32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”
34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.
36 Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37 Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”
John 4: 27-38
The Meaning of John 4
You’re going to reap what you haven’t sown, and you will sow but you won’t reap. These are very profound words, and it speaks volumes to Christians today.
We don’t know when the seeds we’ve planted will sprout, however, we can decide what seeds we plant.
When we walk in the love of Christ, we’re planting good seeds. This seed will return a harvest many times greater than the 1 seed that was planted.
However, when we walk in our flesh. We’re planting seeds that cause destruction in the lives of others.
Make the right choice, and share the love of Jesus.
Many people don’t understand how profound John 4 is. There are a couple of messages I need to add right here.
Jesus loves everyone and came to save us all.
We have a narrow-minded earthly mindset that we have to break out of.
Worshiping in spirit and truth is so important.
John 4 has so much more to teach us, but I’ll add those later when they hit me.
Many Samaritans Believe
Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.
42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
John 4: 40-42
In John 4 Jesus reached out to the Samaritan woman, it had ramifications on the entire town. The same goes for you and everyone in your life.
You don’t know what your actions will do for a person. What you do, can transform a life and make them into better people, and that person can change the world.
This is what happened when Jesus stepped into the Samaritan woman’s life, it transformed her, and she told the entire town. Because Jesus reached out to her an entire village was transformed.
And she was the outcast.
Don’t sell yourself short, God has a plan and a mission for you. All you need to do is figure it out and go for it. Don’t worry about failing, worry about not trying.
There are worse fates than failure.
After the two days, he left for Galilee. 44 (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) 45 When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, for they also had been there.
46 Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.
48 “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”
49 The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”
50 “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.”
The man took Jesus at his word and departed. 51 While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. 52 When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.”
53 Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed.
54 This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee.
John 4: 43-54
John 4: Jesus And The Officials Son
In the final part of John 4, we hear about an official’s sick son. We don’t know from the verse what ailment he had, but if you read into it. You can tell the father was worried about his boy.
In fact, the worry was so great that he reached out to Jesus begging him to come before his child dies.
I love the way Jesus does things, instead of what he usually does (going to the sick person) Jesus makes a quick and simple statement in Verse 50.
Because of this simple act of compassion, the officials’ son lived, and the entire house believed.
What acts of compassion are you going to do today? Are you prepared to be compassionate? Is your heart ready to be compassionate?
As Christians, we need to get better at hearing the voice of God. If we can’t hear the voice of God, what good are we?
I hope you enjoyed my latest post about John 4. Don’t forget to drink the living water today. Comment and subscribe below.
Sterling grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis. As a kid he loved skateboarding but mostly did street riding. He injured his ankle badly when he dropped into his first half pipe. His skateboarding slowed down after that, but he still loved the sport. While in his 20's he needed to make a change, so he did some world traveling with a motivational speaking group. Through it all, he visited 46 states and 3 continents and eventually lived in Mississippi. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina tore through the state. He jumped into the fray, helping mobilize support for the evacuees of New Orleans & The Gulf Coast. During the aftermath he helped run a shelter and drove food & medical supplies to affected areas by truck. Currently he lives in Minneapolis, runs his snowboard shop, and shreds Vail Whenever he can.