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John 4

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Chapter Summary

  • v1-26 - This is the story of Jesus' famous encounter with the Samaritan woman.

    • Normally, good Jews who were taking the trip Jesus was would walk the long way around Samaria, but Jesus very intentionally cuts through the middle of it.

    • You've likely heard lots of things about the Samaritan woman at the well and how she and Jesus were the only ones there in the heat of the day because the woman was shunned by her community and couldn't come in the cooler hours of the day like the other women did. All this lady wants to do is get her water and get out of there. She certainly doesn't want to talk with Jesus about the ugliest aspects of her life. Very few people really like deep conversation about things that really matter, so we've become masters distractionists to fend off having to talk about anything uncomfortable - especially things of religious import. As you read about the encounter between Jesus and the woman at the well notice all of the efforts she makes to distract Jesus from having any sort of meaningful conversation:

      • v9 - Dismisses Jesus based on well established racial biases

      • v11 - Ignores Jesus' comment about living water because He can't even fetch His own regular water

      • v15 - Misses Jesus' comment about living water leading to eternal life and instead wants living water just so she doesn't have to do the hard work of drawing water each day (in other words, living water would just solve her immediate felt needs)

      • v17 - Her coy response about not having a husband

      • v19-20 - She introduces a hot button controversy to distract Jesus' penetrating questions

      • v25 - She tries one last time to sidetrack the conversation, essentially saying "Well, none of us can really know these answers anyways, so you can have your opinion and I'll have mine.

      • The disciples do a splendid job of unintentionally ruining the conversation as well by their continual insistence that Jesus stop for lunch (v31-33)

After all her efforts to distract the conversation, the Holy Spirit finally opens her eyes and heart and she becomes one of the first Christian evangelists. She runs to tell the very people in town that she had been working so hard to evade.

What kind of distractions do you create in order to not have to think about deep, eternal matters?

  • v43-54 - Jesus swings back through His hometown area. John insinuates the visit didn't go well (the other gospels provide the details).

    • Jesus is beginning to tire of the fact that all people want from Him are signs and miracles.

    • It seems that Jesus is going to ignore the request from the royal official that Jesus heal his son.

      • The official doesn't see any miracles, but "he took Jesus at his word (v50).

      • In other words, the man believed into Jesus.

      • The boy was healed at the exact moment the man believed Jesus, even though Jesus was nowhere close to Capernaum.

OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE: This is not the first reference to the concept of 'living water' in the Bible. Use BibleGateway to see the three times the phrase is used in the Old Testament.


Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:

  1. EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: In the account of the meeting between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, what time of day was it? (See verse 6.)

  2. Jesus said in verse 34 that His “food” was doing God’s will and finishing His work. What do you think Jesus meant by phrasing it that way?

Questions taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament

Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God is spirit (v24) - the Savior of the world (v42)

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God will help you stop creating distractions that keep you from talking about and listening to Him



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