Lesson 18: John 4:1-15 – Good Old Fashioned Know-How

by Pastor Ricky Kurth

You're listening to Lesson 18 from the sermon series "The Gospel of John" by Pastor Ricky Kurth. When you're done, explore more sermons from this series.



The Lord “knew how” (John 4:1) the Pharisees had heard something, but how did He know it? He was just a man, but God in the flesh, and so could tap into His omniscience.

Our Baptist friends teach that when the Lord “made and baptized” disciples, it means baptism should follow salva-tion. But that’s how baptism saved! In a day when baptism was required for salvation (Mark 1:4) the thief on the cross was saved when he believed, and the Lord knew he would be baptized if he weren’t nailed to a cross. So in this sense men were made disciples, then baptized. Believing made them disciples, but baptism was still required.

The Lord didn’t personally baptize anyone (John 4:2), for He knew that if He did, men would think their baptism was better than men baptized by the disciples. Now today men say that’s why Paul didn’t baptized, but that’s not what he said. He said he didn’t baptized because he wasn’t sent to baptize (ICor.1:17). That’s why we don’t need to be baptized, for he is our apostle (Rom. 11:13).

Why would the Pharisees care the Lord baptized more people than John? They were jealous of John at first, then of Him when He became more popular. So the Lord left (John 4:3), not because He was afraid to die, He just knew He couldn’t die until He had finished His testimony and trained the apostles to carry on after He was gone.

The Lord didn’t “need” to go through Samaria because, as our Calvinist friends say, an elect woman was there that He needed to save. This cannot be, for entering a city of Samaria (4:5) would break His own rule (Mt.10:5). He needed to go through Samaria simply because He was in Jerusalem and was headed for Galilee (John 4:3), and Samaria lie in between!

The Jews hated the Samaritans, partly because Joseph was buried in “Sychar” (4:5 cf. Joshua 24:32), making it a sort of historic sacred site that was now in the hands of the Samaritans. A woman is about to get saved here at “Jacob’s well” (John 4:6), making her a part of the Bride (cf. 3:29), reminding us of how Isaac, Jacob and Moses all met their wives in situations involving a well.

The Lord just proved He was God by knowing what the Pharisees had heard; now He proves He was a man by being “wearied” (4:6). “Give me” (4:7) sounds impolite, but that was just how they talked (cf. 4:15). She recognized He was asking her (4:9). The word “for” (4:8) explains why He asked the woman for a drink, “for” the disciples were gone into a city of the Samaritans and so He couldn’t ask them. This is how we know the Lord wasn’t there to preach, but just passing through.

The Lord’s dress or speech tipped her off that He was a Jew (4:9). But why did the Jews have no dealings with Samari-tans? Well, Samaria was the original name of the northern 10 tribes (IIKi.17:6), but after Assyrian carried Samaria away captive, they planted Assyrians in Israel (17:24) who learned how to be Jews only to be saved from the lions (17: 25-34). So the Jews didn’t like the Samaritans because of their roots, but also because of their in conduct Ezra 4:1-10.

Notice the Lord doesn’t allow her to distract Him by engaging Him in the Jews/Samaritans debate, but begins to deal with her about her soul (John 4:10). We know “the gift” is the “living water” He spoke of later in the verse, for He says if she’d have asked for it, He’d have “given” it to her. Living water was a euphemism of salvation, the same salvation Jacob drank of (4:12), and if she drank it, she too would become a bride by a well!

Drinking here was a euphemism for believing, as eating the bread of life (6:40,54). If she drank the water, it would be-come a spring within her (4:14). If you wash your feet in a pond, the more dirt you kick up on the bottom, the dirtier your feet get. But if you kick up dirt in a spring or a stream, the dirt is washed away. What a great way to de-scribe how salvation washes away the sin we kick up in life

But like Nicodemus, His imagery was lost on her (4:11,15). Next week we’ll see how the Lord gets through to her.

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