Empty Cross Ministries
John Chapter 4
Jesus Reveals to the Samaritan Women That He is the Messiah
We had (verse 21), in the last lesson, but it bears repeating here. To set the scene, Jesus is speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well.
John 4:21. “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.”
There was no reason to debate locations, since both places would be obsolete soon and neither would have any role to play in the lives of those who genuinely worshipped God. Jerusalem would even be destroyed with its temple in 70 A.D.
Notice that Jesus does not reprimand her for worshipping here rather than in Jerusalem. God cannot be contained in a house.
John 4:22 “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.”
The Samaritans did not know God. They did not have the full revelation of Him, and thus could not worship in truth.
They worshipped the unknown God of the first five books of the Bible. Those are the books of Moses. Jesus reminds her here that the law came through the Jews. He is actually telling her that through Him (a Jew), salvation comes.
The Jews did have the full revelation of God in the Old Testament, thus they knew the God they worshiped, because salvation’s truth came first to them and through them to the world.
John 4:23 “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.”
Jesus is explaining to the woman here, that true worship takes place in your heart. Worship (true), is not in all the ceremonial things you do, but do you really love the Father in your heart and desire to please Him?
Spirit is not capitalized above because this is speaking of man’s spirit.
The will of true Christians is to do what God would have them do. They diligently search the Bible to find the will of the Father, that they might live in it.
1 Samuel 15:22 “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD [as great] delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey [is] better than sacrifice, [and] to hearken than the fat of rams.”
Jesus is the truth. They live the truth. Their spirit controls their flesh and lives to please the Father.
The Bible must be our textbook. Jesus must be Lord of everything in our life. We cannot live a fleshly and a spirit life. Let the spirit control the flesh and we will please God.
This scripture refers to Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension to God, having completed redemption.
“True worshipers”: Jesus’ point is that in light of His coming as Messiah and Savior, worshipers will be identified, not by a particular shrine or location, but by their worship of the Father through the Son. With Christ’s coming, previous distinctions between true and false worshipers based on locations disappeared. True worshipers are all those everywhere who worship God through the Son, from the heart.
John 4:24 “God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”
This verse represents the classical statement on the nature of God as Spirit. The phase means that God is invisible as opposed to the physical or material nature of man. The word order of this phrase puts an emphasis on “spirit,” and the statement is essentially emphatic. Man, could never comprehend the invisible God unless He revealed Himself, as He did in Scripture and the incarnation.
This is the image we are made in. We are a spirit dwelling in a house (flesh), and we have a soul (will). The flesh will return to dust. God is eternal. Our Spirit will live eternally. This spirit will take on a new heavenly body for our stay in heaven.
“In spirit and truth”: The word “spirit” does not refer to the Holy Spirit but to the human spirit. Jesus’ point here is that a person must worship not simply by external conformity to religious rituals and places (outwardly), but inwardly (“in spirit”), with the proper heart attitude. The reference to “truth” refers to worship of God consistent with the revealed Scripture and centered on the “Word made flesh” who ultimately revealed His Father.
The Father, Word, and Holy Ghost are one in Spirit. Only the spirit of man can truly worship this God who is Spirit. If we submit our will to the Father as Jesus did when He said “Nevertheless not my will but thine”, we will be worshipping the way He would have us to.
John 4:25 “The woman saith unto him, I know that Messiah cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.”
She knows something about the Scriptures, because she knows Messiah is promised. It even appears that she realizes more about Him than many others do. She knows that He won’t just tell them where to worship, but will reveal to them the will of the Father as well.
The Samaritans also anticipated Messiah’s coming.
John 4:26 “Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.”
Jesus forthrightly declared Himself to be Messiah, thought His habit was to avoid such declarations to His own Jewish people who had such crassly political and militaristic views regarding Messiah. The “He” in this translation is not in the original Greek for Jesus literally said “I who speak to you am.” The usage of “I am” is reminiscent of (8:58). This claim constitutes the main point of the story regarding the Samaritan woman.
This is really the first time Jesus has come right out and said who He was with nothing hidden. Jesus knew that He was not to reign as King at this time. He had hidden from others just exactly who He was, because He knew that was not to be His job this time on earth.
Verses 27-42 reinforce Jesus’ acknowledgment that He was Messiah by offering proof for His claim. John gave 5 genuine, but subtle, proofs that Jesus was truly Messiah and Son of God which reinforced his main theme of 20:31.
1. Proof from His immediate control of everything (verse 27).
2. Proof from His impact on the woman (verses 28-30).
3. Proof from His intimacy with the Father (verses 31-34).
4. Proof from His insight into men’s souls (verses 35-38).
5. Proof from His impression on the Samaritans (verses 39-42).
John 4:27 “And upon this came his disciples, and marveled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?”
Had the disciples arrived earlier, they would have interrupted and destroyed the conversation. And if they had arrived any later, she would have gone and they would not have heard His declaration of messiahship. This feature subtly reveals Jesus’ divine control over the situation that was occurring.
The Rabbis’ had taught that a man should not salute a woman in a public place. These teachings, like so many other things taught, were not really the wishes of God, but man. They marveled because in their eyes, He was too good to speak with a woman.
One of the things Jesus did was take away the curse on the women. He treated them equally with the men. In fact, a great portion of His followers were women. We found in Luke that they ministered to Him with their substance. He lifted woman to her true position by the side of man.
They were the last at the cross and the first at the sepulcher. They received the baptism of the Spirit in Acts.
In Christ there is no male or female (Galatians 3:28). Jesus was interested in the spirit, not the flesh. The spirit knows no gender.
John 4:28-29 “The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men,” “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?”
By this time she was so excited that she left this water pot behind. I am sure she ran to the city to tell everyone who would listen. This word she carries is like a missionary in a hostile land.
Jesus had such an impact on the woman that she was eager to share the news among the townspeople whom she had previously avoided because of her reputation.
She came to the men and told them “Come see a man which told me all about my life.” Then she poses the question “Is this not the Christ?”
John 4:30 “Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.”
Her witness and candor regarding her own life had so impressed the men of the city, that they came to see Jesus for themselves.
Her excitement is what caused them to go and see.
John 4:31 “In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.”
The disciples had gone to Sychar and gotten food and now they are back and hungry. They say “Master, eat”.
John 4:32 “But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.”
Jesus is not as absorbed with pleasing the flesh as the disciples are. Jesus fasts for many days at a time. He is more interested in the salvation of this woman than He is in eating.
Just like the Samaritan woman’s misunderstanding of Jesus words regarding literal water (verse 15), Jesus’ own disciples thought only of literal food. John commonly used such misunderstanding to advance the argument of his gospel (See 2:20 and 3:3).
John 4:33 “Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him aught to eat.”
They were thinking that perhaps this woman brought Him something to eat. What they didn’t realize is that He was not as absorbed with caring for His body as they were.
John 4:34 “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.”
Most likely Jesus echoed (Deut. 8:3), where Moses stated “man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord”.
When He talked with the Samaritan woman, Jesus was performing the will of the Father and thereby received greater sustenance and satisfaction that any mere physical food could offer Him.
The thing which makes Jesus happy is not a big meal, but to know He is doing the will of the Father. He realizes time is running out and wants to get on with the job He was sent to do. I have said it before, but it is very important that we become able to say “Not my will but thine, O Lord”, just as Jesus did.
His obedience to and dependence upon God’s will summed up Jesus’ whole life. God’s will for Him to finish is explained (in 6:38-40).
John 4:35 “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”
The event probably happened in December or January which was 4 months before the normal spring harvest which was in mid April. Crops were planted in November and by December or January, the grain would be sprouting up in vibrant green color.
Jesus used the fact that they were surrounded by crops growing in the field and waiting to be harvested as an object lesson to illustrate His urgency about reaching the lost which the “harvest” symbolized.
This is certainly a spiritual harvest spoken of here. Jesus is telling these disciples “What are you waiting for? The time to bring people into the kingdom is now.” Jesus speaks of the harvest of people into the kingdom.
Because Jesus has revealed Himself to this woman of Samaria, now she is bringing with her the men of Samaria. Today we can look at the signs of the times and know the fields are white unto the harvest.
Jesus points out the Samaritan woman and people of Sychar (lift up your eyes), who were at that moment coming upon the scene (verse 30), looking like a ripened “harvest” that urgently needed “gathering, i.e., evangelizing.
Jesus may have pointed to the multitudes who came from Sychar to see Him because of the testimony of the woman.
“White … harvest”: Their white clothing seen above the growing grain may have looked like white heads on the stalks, an indication of readiness for harvest. Jesus knew the hearts of all (2:24), so was able to state their readiness for salvation.
Verses 36-38 contain the Lord’s call to His disciple to do the work of evangelism contains promises of reward (wages), fruit that brings eternal joy verse 36), and the mutual partnership of shared privilege (verses 37–38).
John 4:36 “And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.”
The sower would be the first one to bring the message of the Lord Jesus. Then another minister or prophet will come by and water (add a little more), the seed that was planted. Then comes harvest time, another which did not plant the seed, nor water it comes along and brings in the harvest.
All have laid up treasures in heaven for their efforts in bringing these to the Lord. Jesus is the Lord of the harvest. The angels in heaven rejoice when one comes into the kingdom. The people who were a part of bringing the person to the knowledge of God rejoice greatly that they could be a part.
John 4:37-38 “And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.” “I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labor: other men labored. And ye are entered into their labors.”
The seed had been sown and re-sown ever since the first day Jesus preached. Even now, every Scripture you mention to a lost soul is like seed. The seed is the Word of God, whoever sows it. As we said above, someone sows, and another comes and nurtures.
Jesus is telling His disciples, and even speaking to us now, to go out into the field and harvest the souls for Him.
Just as the roofer comes after the house is built and puts a roof on so is the person who baptizes someone who someone else has planted the Word in. The foundation, the walls, and even the inner roof, has to be put up before the roofer comes and puts the final roof on.
Many a mother will witness and pray for a son or daughter all of her life. Sometimes she even dies before they come into the kingdom, but they will come in. She planted the seed and someone else harvests, but God gets the crop.
John Chapter 4 Continued
1. Jesus told the woman of Samaria that there would come a time when she would not worship on _______ _____________ or in _____________.
2. Salvation is of the ________________.
3. What did Jesus say she worshipped?
4. What was the only part of the Bible these Samaritans used?
5. The true worshippers worship the Father in what two ways?
6. True worship takes place where?
7. Why is spirit not capitalized in verse 23?
8. What does the Bible say is better than sacrifice?
9. Verse 24 tells us God is a ___________________.
10. How are the Father, Word, Holy Ghost one?
11. Who did the woman say she knew was coming?
12. What is another name for Messiah?
13. What did this woman of Samaria say Messiah would tell them?
14. What did Jesus tell the woman in verse 26?
15. What did the disciples marvel at?
16. Who were the last at the cross and the first at the sepulcher?
17. Who did this woman go and tell in Sychar?
18. What did she tell them?
19. What reaction did they have?
20. What did the disciples try to get Jesus to do?
21. What surprising thing did Jesus tell them?
22. When Jesus refused to eat, what did they assume?
23. Jesus said “My meat is to do the __________ of him that sent me, and to finish his work.”
24. In verse 35, Jesus told them not to say harvest was in four months, but to do what?
25. What kind of harvest is this speaking of?
26. Who will rejoice over the harvest?
27. Give an example of one sowing and another reaping.