Saturday, December 10, 2016

Bible Study Notes in John- Chapter 4

John 4

-When the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that He was making disciples and baptizing even more than John (see John 3:22-36), He left Judea and ventured toward Galilee, which would be His home base for His earthly ministry. The Word says that He “had to pass through Samaria.” There were other ways to travel to where He was going, but by the Spirit’s guiding, He knew that a great work needed to take place in this divided land of God’s promise. The Samaritans were half-breed Jews that had succumbed to worldly invasions and years of ridicule from their full-bread Jewish brothers. They had established their own forms of worship where idolatry and heresy were the norms. Jesus was coming to set a new course in this locale (John 4:1-4).

-He came to a city of Samaria by name of Sychar, which was near the parcel of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph during the Patriarchal Period in Israel’s history. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus arrived with His disciples wearied from a long journey needing some rest and sustenance at about the noon hour. There came a woman to this well where Jesus was as His disciples had gone into the city to buy some food. Jesus spoke to her, which was: 1) Not kosher for a Jew to even speak to a Samaritan, 2) Not kosher for a man to speak to a woman. He asked her for a drink of water. She was indeed surprised that He would do this, but Jesus wanted more than just a drink of water; He was after her soul. He began, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” The lady was perplexed and responded with the fact that He had nothing with which to draw water in this deep well. Then, she wanted to know how to get this “living water.” She initially commented that there was no way He could be greater than their ancestor Jacob, could He? Then, Jesus began to share His Deity with her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” Wow! The fountain of youth discovered, right??! Understandably, the woman wanted some of this kind of water. She, still grappling with the spiritual significance of this comment, maintained that if she got this kind of water, she would not need to come there to draw water anymore because there would be no thirst. She was also probably revealing some of her societal rejection at this point because she was an outcast, as we will soon see. Jesus now digs a little deeper into her soul, “Go, call your husband and come here.” She responded that she didn’t have a husband. Jesus, being all-knowing, replied, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.” The gig was up, and the woman perceived that this Man was a prophet. There could be no other way that He could have known this information about her. Then she began to talk about worship, “Our fathers worshipped in this mountain, and you people (the Jews) say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” Jesus made an astute comment here, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.” Then, He looked prophetically into the future as well as revealing a truth about the present, “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and truth.” The woman, after hearing this amazing theology, turned her thoughts to the coming Messiah, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” This reveals the woman’s seeking heart and a pre-understanding of some of the truths of the faith. But then, Jesus blew her away with this statement, “I who speak to you am He (John 4:5-26).”

-As this was taking place, His disciples came up and were amazed that He was speaking with a woman. However, they were not able to question Him on this for whatever reason. The woman left her waterpot and went back into the city to tell the men what had transpired concerning this Man claiming to be the Messiah. She convinced them to come and see, so they went out of the city and came to Jesus. Meanwhile, the disciples were urging Jesus to eat, but He stated, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” When they discussed what this could have meant, He clarified, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.” Spiritual activity comes before physical nourishment in other words. Jesus went on to teach them to lift up their eyes and see the spiritual harvest that was at hand. The wages of benefit and reaping in Kingdom work was about to bring great rejoicing in this place. This was a work of the LORD, and they had simply entered into that labor as willing participants (John 4:27-38).

-“From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified.” He had told her all the things she had done with His supernatural knowledge. This led the Samaritans to ask him to stay there for a while, which the Christ did for a couple of days. Many more believed in His word, and now knew that He spoke the truth. They concluded, “…for we heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world (John 4:39-42).” Awakening had come to Sychar through faith upon the revelation of God.

-After the two days, Jesus and His disciples went back to into Galilee with the Messiah testifying “that a prophet has no honor in his own country.” But the Galileans received Him because of what they had seen in Jerusalem at the feast. He came again into Cana of Galilee where He had turned the water into wine, and there was there a royal official who had a sick son in Capernaum. This official came to Jesus seeking help and implored him to come down and heal his son. His son was nearing the point of death, the sickness was so bad. Jesus responded, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe.” But the official was persistent. Jesus required faith, as He always does. He told the royal official to “Go” for his son lives. This man believed the word of the Lord and started off. His slaves met him on the way down to Capernaum with the great news of his son’s improvement. When he inquired of them as to the hour of his turn back toward the land of the living, they told him the time, and it coordinated perfectly with that instance when Jesus had spoken His word. This convinced the royal official, and his whole household became believers in the Messiah. John reveals this as the second major sign Jesus performed as a miracle when He had come out of Judea and come into Galilee (John 4:43-54).

-*Application*- What does it take to be a true worshipper of the Living God? Spirit and truth is the answer. If the Spirit of God is not on us and in us, we are doomed. If we do not understand the truth, which is revealed in His Word, we simply venture into heresy and false religion. Spirit and truth are essential if we are to come to Jesus as a follower.

Verses to Memorize: John 4:24, 50

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