Study Guide

Gospel of John Chapter 4

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Chapter 4

  • Jesus hears that the religious authorities are grumbling about him because he was hanging around baptizing more people than John. This doesn't sounds good.
  • Actually, Jesus wasn't baptizing people—his disciples were—but he still decides it's best to leave Judea and head back up to Galilee. Good call.

All's Well That Begins at a Well

  • Just one problem. Jesus has to go through Samaria to get there; Samaritans and Jews (like Jesus and his disciples) don't usually get along. In fact, they're sort of mortal enemies. So, if you were a Jew, you definitely wouldn't even consider speaking to a Samaritan. Ever.
  • It's afternoon-time when Jesus enters a city called Sychar. There, he finds a well and sits down to rest while the disciples go to buy some food. Lunchtime already?
  • A Samaritan woman comes to the well to get water from it. Jesus asks her if she can get him a drink while she's at it. 
  • Gasp!
  • The woman is shocked that a Jew would ask her, a Samaritan, for water. Remember what we said about them being mortal enemies?
  • Jesus explains that if she knew who he was, she would be asking him for water, too—"living water." Hmmm.
  • The woman is rightfully confused. The well is pretty deep and this guy doesn't even have a bucket, so how is he going to get this special water? Is Jesus about to invent indoor plumbing?
  • Jesus explains that the living water he's talking about renews itself. People who get this kind of water from him will never be thirsty again.
  • So the woman replies: Well, I'd like a nice tall glass of that!
  • He tells her that she should go see her husband first. She tells him that she doesn't have a husband, but apparently Jesus already knew that.
  • In fact, he knows quite a bit. He says that she actually had five husbands, but the guy she's with now is not her husband.
  • The Samaritan woman is floored that Jesus knows the details of her personal life, and she decides that he must be a prophet. Or be on Facebook.
  • She wants to know where she should be worshipping. On the nearby mountain? Or in Jerusalem, maybe?
  • Jesus explains that a time is coming when it doesn't matter where you worship. Soon, people who understand the truth are going to worship God in a totally different way.
  • What does this mean?!
  • The woman says that she knows the messiah is coming soon. He'll explain all this stuff to them further, no worries.
  • Little does she know…
  • Jesus breaks the news: he is the messiah. Her mind is officially blown.
  • Just then, the disciples return and are promptly weirded out by the fact that Jesus is talking to a cootie-ridden Samaritan. Oh, disciples.
  • The woman leaves and runs back to the city to tell everyone what she heard from Jesus. She wants the entire village to come see this guy who knew about her past and might just be the messiah they've been waiting for. (Spoiler alert: He is.)
  • The disciples are concerned that Jesus hasn't eaten in a while. Wait, weren't they supposed to be bringing back lunch?
  • Jesus brushes them off and says that he is fed by doing God's will. That sounds delicious. He explains that while they're all waiting for the fall harvest (which will happen in the next four months), what they don't realize is that the harvest is actually happening around them right now.
  • Deep.
  • Because of his conversation with the woman at the well, many of the Samaritan people in the city start to believe in Jesus. In fact, they like him so much, they invite him to stay for the next two days. That's quite a welcome.

Jesus Heals a Dying Boy

  • After two days, Jesus leaves Sychar and heads back to Galilee. He's pretty sure he won't get any respect, though, because his hometown of Nazareth is in Galilee. Things are tough on the homefront, you know?
  • But when he arrives in Galilee this time—surprise!—the people welcome him with open arms. Turns out, they saw what he did in Jerusalem during Passover and heard about changing the water into wine at the wedding. He had them at "miracle."
  • In a town called Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee, one of the royal officials has a very sick son who's about to die.
  • The people ask Jesus to come to Capernaum to heal the boy.
  • Jesus is a little annoyed. He thinks that all the people are interested in is seeing fancy miracles. Oh, and he's right.
  • But the official visits with Jesus personally and begs for him to help his son before it's too late.
  • Jesus seems to be moved by the father's pleas on behalf of his son and tells the man that he should head back home and his son will be fine.
  • The man honestly believes that what Jesus said will happen—that's what we call gullib…ahem, trusting—so he starts on the journey back to his house.
  • The next day, as he nears his home, all his servants run to tell him that the boy has recovered. In fact, his fever broke around the same time that the man had been talking to Jesus the day before. Coincidence? We think not.
  • Now the man and everyone who lives in his house believes in Jesus. Win win. Win.

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