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Jehovah’s Witnesses

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New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition)

According to John 4:1-54

4  When the Lord became aware that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing+ more disciples than John—  although Jesus himself did no baptizing but his disciples did—  he left Ju·deʹa and departed again for Galʹi·lee.+  But it was necessary for him to go through Sa·marʹi·a.  So he came to a city of Sa·marʹi·a called Syʹchar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.+  In fact, Jacob’s well was there.+ Now Jesus, tired out as he was from the journey, was sitting at the well. It was about the sixth hour.  A woman of Sa·marʹi·a came to draw water. Jesus said to her: “Give me a drink.”  (For his disciples had gone off into the city to buy food.)  So the Sa·marʹi·tan woman said to him: “How is it that you, despite being a Jew, ask me for a drink even though I am a Sa·marʹi·tan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Sa·marʹi·tans.)+ 10  In answer Jesus said to her: “If you had known of the free 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.”+ 11  She said to him: “Sir, you do not even have a bucket for drawing water, and the well is deep. From what source, then, do you have this living water? 12  You are not greater than our forefather Jacob, who gave us the well and who together with his sons and his cattle drank out of it, are you?” 13  In answer Jesus said to her: “Everyone drinking from this water will get thirsty again. 14  Whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty at all,+ but the water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water bubbling up to impart everlasting life.”+ 15  The woman said to him: “Sir, give me this water, so that I may neither thirst nor keep coming over to this place to draw water.” 16  He said to her: “Go, call your husband and come to this place.” 17  The woman replied: “I do not have a husband.” Jesus said to her: “You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’ 18  For you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. This you have said truthfully.” 19  The woman said to him: “Sir, I see that you are a prophet.+ 20  Our forefathers worshipped on this mountain, but you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where people must worship.”+ 21  Jesus said to her: “Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22  You worship what you do not know;+ we worship what we know, because salvation begins with the Jews.+ 23  Nevertheless, the hour is coming, and it is now, when the true worshippers will worship the Father with spirit and truth, for indeed, the Father is looking for ones like these to worship him.+ 24  God is a Spirit,+ and those worshipping him must worship with spirit and truth.”+ 25  The woman said to him: “I know that Mes·siʹah is coming, who is called Christ. Whenever that one comes, he will declare all things to us openly.”+ 26  Jesus said to her: “I am he, the one speaking to you.”+ 27  Just then his disciples arrived, and they were surprised because he was speaking with a woman. Of course, no one said: “What are you looking for?” or “Why are you talking to her?” 28  So the woman left her water jar and went off into the city and told the people: 29  “Come and see a man who told me everything I did. Could this not perhaps be the Christ?” 30  They left the city and began coming to him. 31  Meanwhile, the disciples were urging him: “Rabbi,+ eat.” 32  But he said to them: “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33  So the disciples said to one another: “No one brought him anything to eat, did he?” 34  Jesus said to them: “My food is to do the will of him who sent me+ and to finish his work.+ 35  Do you not say that there are yet four months before the harvest comes? Look! I say to you: Lift up your eyes and view the fields, that they are white for harvesting.+ Already 36  the reaper is receiving wages and gathering fruit for everlasting life, so that the sower and the reaper may rejoice together.+ 37  For in this respect the saying is true: One is the sower and another the reaper. 38  I sent you to reap what you did not labor on. Others have labored, and you have entered into the benefit of their labor.” 39  Many of the Sa·marʹi·tans from that city put faith in him because of the word of the woman who bore witness, saying: “He told me all the things I did.”+ 40  So when the Sa·marʹi·tans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41  As a result, many more believed because of what he said, 42  and they said to the woman: “We no longer believe just because of what you said; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the savior of the world.”+ 43  After the two days, he left there for Galʹi·lee. 44  Jesus himself, however, bore witness that a prophet has no honor in his own homeland.+ 45  So when he arrived in Galʹi·lee, the Gal·i·leʹans welcomed him, because they had seen all the things he did in Jerusalem at the festival,+ for they too had gone to the festival.+ 46  Then he came again to Caʹna of Galʹi·lee, where he had turned the water into wine.+ Now there was a royal official whose son was sick in Ca·perʹna·um. 47  When this man heard that Jesus had come out of Ju·deʹa into Galʹi·lee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of dying. 48  But Jesus said to him: “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will never believe.”+ 49  The royal official said to him: “Lord, come down before my young child dies.” 50  Jesus said to him: “Go your way; your son lives.”+ The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he left. 51  But while he was on his way down, his slaves met him to say that his boy was alive.* 52  So he asked them at what hour he got better. They replied to him: “The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour.”+ 53  The father then knew that it was in the very hour that Jesus had said to him: “Your son lives.”+ So he and his whole household believed. 54  This was the second sign+ Jesus performed when he came from Ju·deʹa into Galʹi·lee.

Footnotes

Or “was recovering.”

Study Notes

Samaria: In Jesus’ time, Samaria was the name of the Roman district through which Jesus occasionally traveled. Later, his disciples took the message of Christianity there. Though its exact boundaries are not known today, it lay between Galilee in the N and Judea in the S, and it extended W from the Jordan River to the coastal plains of the Mediterranean Sea. For the most part, the district embraced the territories once belonging to the tribe of Ephraim and the half tribe of Manasseh (W of the Jordan). Though Jesus occasionally passed through Samaria on his way to and from Jerusalem (Joh 4:3-6; Lu 9:51, 52; 17:11), he told his apostles to avoid preaching in Samaritan cities because their primary assignment was to go “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” that is, the Jews (Mt 10:5, 6). This restriction, however, was for a limited time only. Just before his ascension to heaven, Jesus told his disciples that they should carry the good news to “Samaria” as well as “to the most distant part of the earth.” (Ac 1:8, 9) When persecution broke out in Jerusalem, some of the disciples, Philip in particular, declared the good news throughout Samaria. Peter and John were later sent there so that the Samaritans could receive holy spirit.—Ac 8:1-17, 25; 9:31; 15:3.

Sychar: A city of Samaria that has been identified with the village of ʽAskar, near modern-day Nablus, about 1 km (0.6 mi) NE of Shechem and 0.7 km (0.4 mi) NNE of Jacob’s well. (See App. B6 and B10.) Some have identified Sychar with Shechem, based on some early non-Biblical writers and the reading “Sychem” in the Codex Syriac Sinaiticus. However, the best Greek manuscripts support the reading “Sychar,” and archaeologists have shown that the site of Shechem (Tell Balata) was not occupied at the time of this account.

about the third hour: That is, about 9:00 a.m. In the first century C.E., the Jews used the count of 12 hours to the day, starting with sunrise at about 6:00 a.m. (Joh 11:9) Therefore, the third hour would be about 9:00 a.m., the sixth hour about noon, and the ninth hour about 3:00 p.m. Since people did not have precise timepieces, only the approximate time of an event was usually given.​—Joh 1:39; 4:6; 19:14; Ac 10:3, 9.

Jacob’s well: The traditional site of this well is Bir Yaʽqub (Beʼer Yaʽaqov), situated about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) SE of modern-day Nablus, not far from Tell Balata, the site of Shechem. This well is deep; its water level never rises to the top. Measurements made in the 19th century indicate that the depth of the well was about 23 m (75 ft) at that time. There is debris at the bottom, so the well might have been even deeper in ancient times. (Joh 4:11) Because the well is usually dry from about the end of May until the autumn rains, some reason that its water is derived from rain and percolation. Others believe that the well is also spring fed. (See study note on well in this verse.) The Bible does not directly state that Jacob dug the well, but it does indicate that Jacob had property in this vicinity. (Ge 33:18-20; Jos 24:32) Jacob likely dug this well or had it dug, perhaps to provide water for his large household and flocks. He could thereby prevent trouble with his neighbors, who doubtless already owned the other water sources in the region. Or he may have needed another water supply when other wells in the area dried up.

tired out as he was: This is the only place in the Scriptures where Jesus is said to be “tired out.” It was about 12:00 noon, and that morning Jesus had likely made the journey from the Jordan Valley in Judea to Sychar in Samaria, a steep ascent of 900 m (3,000 ft) or more.—Joh 4:3-5; see App. A7.

well: Or “spring; fountain.” In this context, two different Greek words are used to refer to Jacob’s well at Sychar. The Greek word pe·geʹ, twice rendered “well” in this verse, often denotes a spring, or fountain, which may have been the source of Jacob’s well. At Jas 3:11, the term is used to refer to a literal “spring,” and it is used in a figurative sense at Joh 4:14, where it is also rendered “spring.” At Joh 4:12, Jacob’s well is referred to by the Greek word phreʹar, which can mean a well, a cistern, or a vertical shaft. (1Sa 19:22, Septuagint; Lu 14:5; Re 9:1) Springs were often a source for wells, sometimes being cleared and deepened, which may explain why “spring” and “well” are here used interchangeably for the same water source.—See study note on Jacob’s well in this verse.

about the sixth hour: That is, about 12:00 noon.—See study note on Mt 20:3.

Jews have no dealings with Samaritans: The Samaritans first referred to in the Bible were Jews who lived in the ten-tribe kingdom before it was conquered by the Assyrians. (2Ki 17:29) The Samaritans’ separation from the rest of the Jews began earlier when Jeroboam established idol worship in the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel. (1Ki 12:26-30) After the Assyrian conquest, “Samaritan” came to refer to the descendants of those left in the region of Samaria as well as to the foreigners brought in to populate the land. Though the Samaritans claimed descent from the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim only, some undoubtedly mixed with the foreigners, and the Scriptures indicate that this mixed population further corrupted worship in Samaria. (2Ki 17:24-41) When the Jews returned from Babylonian exile, the Samaritans claimed devotion to Jehovah, but they opposed the rebuilding of the temple and city walls in Jerusalem. Then, probably in the fourth century B.C.E., on Mount Gerizim, they built their own temple, which was destroyed by the Jews in 128 B.C.E. However, the Samaritans continued to worship in that mountain, and in the first century, they populated the Roman district of Samaria that lay between Judea and Galilee. They accepted only the first five books of the Bible, and perhaps the book of Joshua, but they made changes in some verses to support the location of their temple. By Jesus’ day, the name Samaritan had an ethnic and religious connotation, and the Samaritans were treated with scorn by the Jews.—Joh 8:48.

. . . with Samaritans: Although this parenthetical comment is not included in some manuscripts, it has strong support in a number of early, authoritative manuscripts.

the water that I will give: The terms “water” and “spring” are here used figuratively. Earlier in the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman, Jesus referred to “living water.” (See study note on Joh 4:10.) He goes on to explain that the water he provides becomes in those who receive it a spring of water that can impart everlasting life. God’s Word uses water as a symbol of God’s provisions for restoring mankind to perfect life. An important component of this symbolic water is Jesus’ ransom sacrifice. In this context, Jesus focuses on the spiritual benefits that come to those who listen to him and become his disciples. As they are “coming to know” Jehovah God and Jesus Christ and acting on that knowledge with faith, they have the prospect of gaining everlasting life. (Joh 17:3) Jesus said that for a person who accepts this symbolic water, it would become in him a spring bubbling up life-giving benefits. Such a person also feels impelled to share this “water of life” with others.—Re 21:6; 22:1, 17; see study note on Joh 7:38.

living water: This Greek expression is used in a literal sense to refer to flowing water, spring water, or freshwater from a well supplied by springs. This is in contrast with stagnant water from a cistern. At Le 14:5, the Hebrew expression for “running water” is literally “living water.” At Jer 2:13 and 17:13, Jehovah is described as “the source [or, “spring”] of living water,” that is, life-giving symbolic water. When speaking with the Samaritan woman, Jesus used the term “living water” figuratively, but it appears that she initially took his words literally.—Joh 4:11; see study note on Joh 4:14.

Jacob’s well: The traditional site of this well is Bir Yaʽqub (Beʼer Yaʽaqov), situated about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) SE of modern-day Nablus, not far from Tell Balata, the site of Shechem. This well is deep; its water level never rises to the top. Measurements made in the 19th century indicate that the depth of the well was about 23 m (75 ft) at that time. There is debris at the bottom, so the well might have been even deeper in ancient times. (Joh 4:11) Because the well is usually dry from about the end of May until the autumn rains, some reason that its water is derived from rain and percolation. Others believe that the well is also spring fed. (See study note on well in this verse.) The Bible does not directly state that Jacob dug the well, but it does indicate that Jacob had property in this vicinity. (Ge 33:18-20; Jos 24:32) Jacob likely dug this well or had it dug, perhaps to provide water for his large household and flocks. He could thereby prevent trouble with his neighbors, who doubtless already owned the other water sources in the region. Or he may have needed another water supply when other wells in the area dried up.

the well is deep: See study note on Joh 4:6.

our forefather Jacob: The Samaritans claimed descent from Jacob through Joseph, a claim that many Jews of the day would likely have refuted. To emphasize the Samaritans’ descent from foreign peoples, some Jews called them by the Hebrew term “Cuthim,” or “Cuthaeans,” that is, people of Cuth and Cuthah. The names Cuth and Cuthah refer to the original home of the people who had been moved by the king of Assyria to the cities of Samaria after Israel went into exile in 740 B.C.E. These places were probably located about 50 km (30 mi) NE of Babylon.—2Ki 17:23, 24, 30.

living water: This Greek expression is used in a literal sense to refer to flowing water, spring water, or freshwater from a well supplied by springs. This is in contrast with stagnant water from a cistern. At Le 14:5, the Hebrew expression for “running water” is literally “living water.” At Jer 2:13 and 17:13, Jehovah is described as “the source [or, “spring”] of living water,” that is, life-giving symbolic water. When speaking with the Samaritan woman, Jesus used the term “living water” figuratively, but it appears that she initially took his words literally.—Joh 4:11; see study note on Joh 4:14.

streams of living water will flow: Jesus may here have alluded to a custom followed during the Festival of Tabernacles, or Booths. The custom involved the drawing of water from the pool of Siloam and pouring it from a golden vessel, along with wine, on the altar at the time of the morning sacrifice. (See study note on Joh 7:2; Glossary, “Festival of Booths,” and App. B15.) Though this feature of the festival was not mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures but was added later, most scholars say that this occurred on seven days of the festival but not on the eighth. On the opening day of the festival, a sabbath, the water that a priest poured out had been brought to the temple from the pool of Siloam on the preceding day. On the subsequent days, the priest would go to the pool of Siloam to collect water in a golden pitcher. He would time his return to the temple so that he arrived just as the priests were ready to lay the pieces of the sacrifice on the altar. As he came through the Water Gate and into the Court of the Priests, his entry was announced by a threefold blast from the priests’ trumpets. The water was then poured out into a basin leading to the base of the altar at the same time that wine was being poured into a different basin. Then the temple music accompanied the singing of the Hallel Psalms (Ps 113-118) while the worshippers waved their palm branches toward the altar. This ceremony may have reminded the joyful celebrants of Isaiah’s prophetic words: “With rejoicing you will draw water from the springs of salvation.”—Isa 12:3.

the water that I will give: The terms “water” and “spring” are here used figuratively. Earlier in the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman, Jesus referred to “living water.” (See study note on Joh 4:10.) He goes on to explain that the water he provides becomes in those who receive it a spring of water that can impart everlasting life. God’s Word uses water as a symbol of God’s provisions for restoring mankind to perfect life. An important component of this symbolic water is Jesus’ ransom sacrifice. In this context, Jesus focuses on the spiritual benefits that come to those who listen to him and become his disciples. As they are “coming to know” Jehovah God and Jesus Christ and acting on that knowledge with faith, they have the prospect of gaining everlasting life. (Joh 17:3) Jesus said that for a person who accepts this symbolic water, it would become in him a spring bubbling up life-giving benefits. Such a person also feels impelled to share this “water of life” with others.—Re 21:6; 22:1, 17; see study note on Joh 7:38.

this mountain: That is, Mount Gerizim. (See App. B10.) This mountain is mentioned four times in the Hebrew Scriptures. (De 11:29; 27:12; Jos 8:33; Jg 9:7) A Samaritan temple rivaling the one in Jerusalem was constructed on the mountain, perhaps in the fourth century B.C.E., and was destroyed by the Jews in 128 B.C.E. The Samaritans accepted only the first five books of the Bible, and possibly the book of Joshua, but only their revised version, known as the Samaritan Pentateuch. It was written in their own characters, derived from ancient Hebrew. The text differs from the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible in some 6,000 instances. Most variances are minor details, but there are some major differences. For example, at De 27:4, “Mount Gerizim” is substituted for “Mount Ebal” as the place where the Law of Moses was to be written on plastered stones. (De 27:8) The obvious reason for this change was to give credence to the Samaritans’ belief that Gerizim was the holy mountain of God.

salvation begins with the Jews: Or “salvation originates with the Jews.” Jesus’ statement implies that the Jewish people had been entrusted with God’s Word, pure worship, and the truth that could lead to salvation. (Ro 3:1, 2) They were also chosen as the people from whom the Messiah would come, fulfilling God’s promise regarding the “offspring” of Abraham. (Ge 22:18; Ga 3:16) When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman, it was only through the Jews that a person could learn the truth about God and what he required as well as details about the Messiah. Israel was still God’s channel, and any who wished to serve Jehovah had to do so in association with his chosen nation.

God is a Spirit: The Greek word pneuʹma is used here in the sense of a spirit person, or being. (See Glossary, “Spirit.”) The Scriptures show that God, the glorified Jesus, and the angels are spirits. (1Co 15:45; 2Co 3:17; Heb 1:14) A spirit has a form of life that differs greatly from that of humans, and it is invisible to human eyes. Spirit beings have a body, “a spiritual one,” that is far superior to “a physical body.” (1Co 15:44; Joh 1:18) Although Bible writers speak of God as having a face, eyes, ears, hands, and so forth, such descriptions are figures of speech to help humans understand what God is like. The Scriptures clearly show that God has a personality. He also exists in a location beyond the physical realm; so Christ could speak of “going to the Father.” (Joh 16:28) At Heb 9:24, Christ is said to enter “into heaven itself, so that he . . . appears before God on our behalf.”

worship with spirit: As shown in the Glossary article “Spirit,” the Greek word pneuʹma can have a number of meanings, among them God’s active force, or holy spirit, as well as the force that impels individuals, that is, their mental disposition. One of the things that the different meanings of the term “spirit” have in common is in reference to things that are invisible to human sight. Jesus explained at Joh 4:21 that worship of the Father would not be centered on a physical location, such as Mount Gerizim in Samaria or the temple in Jerusalem. Because God is not material and cannot be seen or felt, worship of him would no longer need to revolve around a physical temple or a mountain. In other Bible verses, Jesus showed that to worship God acceptably, a person would need to be guided by God’s invisible holy spirit, also called a “helper.” (Joh 14:16, 17; 16:13) Therefore, “worship with spirit” apparently refers to worship that is guided by God’s spirit, which would help an individual to be attuned to God’s thinking through study and application of His Word. So Jesus’ statement about worshipping God “with spirit” involves far more than being sincere and having a spirited, or enthusiastic, mental disposition about serving God.

worship with . . . truth: Worship that is acceptable to God cannot be based on imagination, myths, or lies. It has to be in harmony with facts and consistent with “the truth” that God has revealed in his Word about himself and his purposes. (Joh 17:17) Such worship must conform to the “realities that are not seen” but are revealed in God’s Word.—Heb 9:24; 11:1; see also the study note on worship with spirit in this verse.

Christ: This title is derived from the Greek word Khri·stosʹ and is equivalent to the title “Messiah” (from Hebrew Ma·shiʹach), both meaning “Anointed One.” In Bible times, rulers were ceremonially anointed with oil.

I know that Messiah is coming: The Samaritans accepted only the five books of Moses, now known as the Pentateuch. They rejected the rest of the Hebrew Scriptures, with the possible exception of the book of Joshua. Nevertheless, because they accepted Moses’ writings, the Samaritans looked forward to the coming of the Messiah, the prophet greater than Moses.—De 18:18, 19.

Messiah: The Greek word Mes·siʹas (a transliteration of the Hebrew word ma·shiʹach) occurs only twice in the Christian Greek Scriptures (here and at Joh 1:41). The Hebrew verb, from which the title ma·shiʹach is derived, is ma·shachʹ, meaning “to smear or spread (with liquid)” and “to anoint.” (Ex 29:2, 7) In Bible times, priests, rulers, and prophets were ceremonially anointed with oil. (Le 4:3; 1Sa 16:3, 12, 13; 1Ki 19:16) The corresponding title Christ (Greek, Khri·stosʹ) occurs more than 500 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures and is equivalent to the title “Messiah,” both meaning “Anointed One.”—See study note on Mt 1:1.

I am he: Lit., “I am.” Greek, e·goʹ ei·mi. Some consider this expression to be an allusion to the Septuagint reading of Ex 3:14 and use it to identify Jesus with God. However, Ex 3:14 uses different wording (e·goʹ ei·mi ho on, “I am The Being; I am The Existing One”) from that used at Joh 4:26. Moreover, the expression e·goʹ ei·mi is used in the Septuagint to render words spoken by Abraham, Eleazar, Jacob, David, and others. (Ge 23:4; 24:34; 30:2; 1Ch 21:17) In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the phrase e·goʹ ei·mi is not limited to the rendering of words expressed by Jesus. The same Greek words are used at Joh 9:9 in recording a reply by a man whom Jesus had cured. They simply convey the message: “It is I.” These words are also used by the angel Gabriel as well as by Peter, Paul, and others. (Lu 1:19; Ac 10:21; 22:3) Obviously, these statements are not references to Ex 3:14. A comparison of the parallel accounts in the synoptic Gospels shows that the phrase e·goʹ ei·mi found at Mr 13:6 and Lu 21:8 (“I am he”) is a shorter way of expressing the more complete thought found at Mt 24:5, which is rendered “I am the Christ.”

I am he, the one speaking to you: This is apparently the first time that Jesus openly identifies himself as the Messiah, or the Christ. He does so to a woman who is not even a Jew but a Samaritan. (Joh 4:9, 25) Most Jews had disdain for and refused to greet Samaritans, and many Jewish men looked down on women. Jesus later dignified other women in a similar way, granting them the privilege of being the first witnesses of his resurrection.—Mt 28:9, 10.

speaking with a woman: Contrary to the spirit of the Mosaic Law, Jewish tradition discouraged men from speaking to women in public. It appears that this view was widespread in Jesus’ day. That would explain why even his disciples “were surprised” when they saw Jesus speaking with the Samaritan woman. According to the Talmud, ancient rabbis advised that a scholar “should not converse with a woman in the street.” And according to the Mishnah, one rabbi said: “Talk not much with womankind. . . . He that talks much with womankind brings evil upon himself and neglects the study of the Law and at the last will inherit Gehenna.”—Aboth 1:5.

there are yet four months before the harvest comes: The barley harvest begins in the Jewish month Nisan (March/April), about Passover time. (See App. B15.) Counting back four months would indicate that Jesus spoke these words in the month of Chislev (November/December). That was the time when rains were becoming heavier and colder weather was ahead. So Jesus’ words about a harvesting that was already taking place apparently refer to a figurative harvest, or ingathering of people, rather than to a literal harvest.—Joh 4:36.

white: That is, ripe. The Greek word leu·kosʹ denotes white and different shades of light color, such as light yellow, indicating that the crop was ripe and was ready to be harvested. Since Jesus here states that there are “four months before the harvest comes,” the surrounding fields were likely green—the color of recently sprouted barley. So when Jesus spoke about the fields’ being ripe for harvesting, he no doubt had a spiritual harvest in mind, not a literal one. Some scholars have suggested that when Jesus encouraged his listeners to view the fields, he may have been referring to a crowd of Samaritans approaching and that his remark about the fields’ being “white” could have been an allusion to the white robes that they may have worn. Or the remark may have been a figure of speech indicating that they were ready to accept the message.—Joh 4:28-30.

the world: The Greek word koʹsmos is closely linked with mankind in secular Greek literature and particularly so in the Bible. In this context as well as at Joh 3:16, koʹsmos refers to the entire world of mankind who are here described as being guilty of sin, that is, sin inherited from Adam.

the Lamb of God: After Jesus got baptized and returned from being tempted by the Devil, John the Baptist introduced him as “the Lamb of God.” This expression occurs only here and at Joh 1:36. (See App. A7.) Comparing Jesus to a lamb is fitting. Throughout the Bible, sheep were offered in recognition of sin and to gain approach to God. This foreshadowed the sacrifice that Jesus would make when he surrendered his perfect human life in behalf of mankind. The expression “the Lamb of God” could reflect a number of passages in the inspired Scriptures. In view of John the Baptist’s familiarity with the Hebrew Scriptures, his words may have alluded to one or more of the following: the male sheep that Abraham offered up instead of his own son Isaac (Ge 22:13), the Passover lamb that was slaughtered in Egypt for the deliverance of the enslaved Israelites (Ex 12:1-13), or the male lamb that was offered up on God’s altar in Jerusalem each morning and evening (Ex 29:38-42). John may also have had in mind Isaiah’s prophecy, where the one whom Jehovah calls “my servant” is said to be “brought like a sheep to the slaughter.” (Isa 52:13; 53:5, 7, 11) When the apostle Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians, he referred to Jesus as “our Passover lamb.” (1Co 5:7) The apostle Peter spoke of Christ’s “precious blood, like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb.” (1Pe 1:19) And more than 25 times in the book of Revelation, the glorified Jesus is spoken of figuratively as “the Lamb.”—Some examples are: Re 5:8; 6:1; 7:9; 12:11; 13:8; 14:1; 15:3; 17:14; 19:7; 21:9; 22:1.

judge: Or “condemn.” Jehovah did not send his Son to judge adversely, or condemn, the world of mankind, but he sent Jesus on a loving mission to save those who showed faith.—Joh 3:16; 2Pe 3:9.

savior of the world: This expression, appearing only here and at 1Jo 4:14, indicates that Jesus would save from sin those from “the world” of mankind who demonstrate faith.—See study notes on Joh 1:29; 3:17.

his own homeland: Lit., “his father’s place.” The Greek word rendered “homeland” is translated “home territory” at Mt 13:54; Mr 6:1; and Lu 4:24, where it refers to Jesus’ hometown, Nazareth. In this context, however, it seems to refer to all of Galilee.—Joh 4:43.

Cana: Probably from the Hebrew word qa·nehʹ, “reed”; hence, “Place of Reeds.” John alone mentions this town, always calling it Cana of Galilee (Joh 2:11; 4:46; 21:2), probably to distinguish it from Kanah (Hebrew, Qa·nahʹ) in Asher’s tribal territory (Jos 19:24, 28). The location favored by many scholars is Khirbet Qana, where there are ruins of an ancient village on a hill at the N edge of the Bet Netofa Valley (Plain of el-Battuf), about 13 km (8 mi) N of Nazareth. In Arabic, the place is still known as Qana el-Jelil, the equivalent of Cana of Galilee. Reeds are abundant in a nearby marshy plain, making the name Cana very fitting. There are remains of ancient cisterns and what are thought to be the ruins of a synagogue (dated to the late first century or to the second century C.E.). Potsherds (fragments of earthen vessels) and coins believed to date from the first century C.E. have also been found there. Church tradition favors an identification with Kafr Kanna, located 6.5 km (4 mi) NE of Nazareth, possibly because it is easily accessible to pilgrims from Nazareth. However, the name of this location seems to have no linguistic connection with the Cana of Galilee mentioned in the Bible.

the king: Herod Antipas’ official Roman title was “tetrarch,” as seen from study note on Mt 14:1. However, he was popularly referred to as “king.”

King Herod: That is, Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great. (See Glossary, “Herod.”) Matthew and Luke use Antipas’ official Roman title of “tetrarch,” or “district ruler.” (See study notes on Mt 14:1; Lu 3:1.) His tetrarchy consisted of Galilee and Perea. However, he was popularly referred to as “the king,” the title used once by Matthew (Mt 14:9) and the only title Mark uses with reference to Herod.​—Mr 6:​22, 25, 26, 27.

Cana of Galilee . . . Capernaum: The distance by road between Cana (Khirbet Qana) and Capernaum is about 40 km (25 mi).—See study note on Joh 2:1.

a royal official: Or “a certain attendant of the king.” The Greek term ba·si·li·kosʹ refers to one connected with the king (ba·si·leusʹ), whether by blood or by office. Here it seems to refer to a royal attendant, or member of the royal court, of Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee. He was popularly referred to as “king.”—See study notes on Mt 14:9; Mr 6:14.

Cana: Probably from the Hebrew word qa·nehʹ, “reed”; hence, “Place of Reeds.” John alone mentions this town, always calling it Cana of Galilee (Joh 2:11; 4:46; 21:2), probably to distinguish it from Kanah (Hebrew, Qa·nahʹ) in Asher’s tribal territory (Jos 19:24, 28). The location favored by many scholars is Khirbet Qana, where there are ruins of an ancient village on a hill at the N edge of the Bet Netofa Valley (Plain of el-Battuf), about 13 km (8 mi) N of Nazareth. In Arabic, the place is still known as Qana el-Jelil, the equivalent of Cana of Galilee. Reeds are abundant in a nearby marshy plain, making the name Cana very fitting. There are remains of ancient cisterns and what are thought to be the ruins of a synagogue (dated to the late first century or to the second century C.E.). Potsherds (fragments of earthen vessels) and coins believed to date from the first century C.E. have also been found there. Church tradition favors an identification with Kafr Kanna, located 6.5 km (4 mi) NE of Nazareth, possibly because it is easily accessible to pilgrims from Nazareth. However, the name of this location seems to have no linguistic connection with the Cana of Galilee mentioned in the Bible.

come down: That is, to Capernaum. In ancient times, a road led past Khirbet Qana (most likely the Biblical Cana; see study note on Joh 2:1) down to the shores of the Sea of Galilee and along the shoreline to Capernaum, which lay over 200 m (650 ft) below sea level; hence, the expression “come down” to Capernaum.

about the third hour: That is, about 9:00 a.m. In the first century C.E., the Jews used the count of 12 hours to the day, starting with sunrise at about 6:00 a.m. (Joh 11:9) Therefore, the third hour would be about 9:00 a.m., the sixth hour about noon, and the ninth hour about 3:00 p.m. Since people did not have precise timepieces, only the approximate time of an event was usually given.​—Joh 1:39; 4:6; 19:14; Ac 10:3, 9.

the seventh hour: That is, about 1:00 p.m.—See study note on Mt 20:3.

the second sign: The reference here is to the second of two miracles that Jesus performed in Galilee on returning from Judea. The first sign, or miracle, is referred to at Joh 2:11. Jesus did other powerful works in Jerusalem before he performed this second sign in Galilee.—Joh 2:23.

Media

Mount Gerizim
Mount Gerizim

This video shows Mount Gerizim (1) near the traditional location of Jacob’s well (2), where Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman (Joh 4:​6, 7), and Mount Ebal (3). Mount Gerizim is situated in the heart of the district of Samaria. Its summit rises over 850 m (2,800 ft) above the Mediterranean Sea. The present-day city of Nablus is situated between the mountains in the fertile valley of Shechem. A Samaritan temple was constructed on Mount Gerizim, perhaps in the fourth century B.C.E., but it was destroyed in 128 B.C.E. It was evidently with reference to Mount Gerizim that the Samaritan woman told Jesus Christ: “Our forefathers worshipped on this mountain, but you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where people must worship.” To show her that true worship was not to be dependent on a physical location, Jesus replied: “The hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.”—Joh 4:20, 21.

Reapers
Reapers

In Bible times, reapers sometimes simply pulled the stalks of grain from the ground. Typically, however, they would harvest the grain by cutting the stalks with a sickle. (De 16:9; Mr 4:29) Harvesting was usually a communal work, with groups of reapers collecting ripe grain from a field. (Ru 2:3; 2Ki 4:18) A number of Bible writers, such as King Solomon, the prophet Hosea, and the apostle Paul, used the work of reaping to illustrate important truths. (Pr 22:8; Ho 8:7; Ga 6:7-9) Jesus also used this familiar occupation to illustrate the role that the angels and his disciples would play in the disciple-making work.—Mt 13:24-30, 39; Joh 4:35-38.