The Berean Expositor
Volume 48 - Page 164 of 181
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pp. 206 - 210
This chapter (4:) includes the encounter by the Lord with the woman at the well in
Samaria and the healing of the nobleman's son. Remembering that every word in this
Gospel was written for a purpose we look at verse 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?"
This verse indicates that God wishes us to have an enquiring mind that seeks to get
behind the words written, and so achieve the maximum benefit and instruction from the
text. The woman was of Samaria and verse 9 reminds us that Jews had no dealings with
Samaritans. Our Lord's disciples could therefore well have asked Him why He was
acting contrary to the Jewish custom. The woman, however, asked this very question and
was rewarded by our Lord's encouragement for her seeking, by His words relative to the
true worship of God. Our Lord or John inspired by the Holy Spirit goes on to say:
"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. God is a Spirit (or
better, God is spirit. R.V. margin): and they that worship Him must worship Him in
spirit and in truth" (4: 23, 24).
Only by soaking ourselves in the Word of God and relying on His spirit of Truth to
dwell with us and teach us, can we know how God works, the goals to which He is
working, and most important of all His justice, righteousness and infinite love. To know,
assess, value, accept, and praise is really the spiritual worship that God desires. The
words and attitude of His Son exemplify this requirement from us.
In II Kings 17: Israel by their persistent idolatry were removed from Samaria to
Assyria and men from Babylon and other nations (verse 24) were set up in the cities of
Samaria instead. The new inhabitants not fearing God were subjected by Him to attacks
of lions. On appealing to the king of Assyria he arranged for Jewish priests to live in
Beth-el and teach the new inhabitants how to fear the Lord, but it is recorded that they
still followed their idolatrous religion. The lapse of time between II Kings 17: and our
Lord's day may well have modified the composition of the population of Samaria and its
religion yet Christ could still say to the woman: "Ye worship ye know not what" (4: 22).
The Lord's supernatural knowledge of her past life made a great impression on her
and she says: "Sir, I perceive that Thou art a prophet", and then goes on to take
advantage of the opportunity to settle some of her religious problems, mainly the vexed
question as to whether Jerusalem was the only place where God had set His name for
Before we consider our Lord's reply let us admire the earnest spirit of enquiry shown
by this Gentile woman and later by her compatriots. Would that there was today a
greater move to question and examine the basis of church worship and ordinance so that