Page images

he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.

19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.

20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.

21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.

22 Ye worship ye know not what we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

23 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.

24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in


25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.

26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

27 And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?

28 The woman then left her water pot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men,

29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?

30 Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.

31 In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.

32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.

33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to


34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to har


36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that |

* Deut. 12. 5. 32 Cor. 3. 17.

both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.

37 And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.

38 I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.

39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.

40 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.

41 And many more believed because of his own word;

42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world. 43 Now after two days he departed thence, and went into Galilee. 44 For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country.

45 Then when he was come into Galilee, the Galilæans received him, having seen all the things that he did at Jerusalem at the feast: for they also went unto the


46 So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum.

47 When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judæa into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death.

48 Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. 49 The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die.

50 Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.

51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth.

52 Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.

53 So the father knew that it was at the Matt. 9. 37. 5 Matt. 13. 57. 6 Chap. 2. 1. 7 Or, courtier, or, ruler.

same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house.

54 This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judæa into Galilee.

Verse 4. “He must needs go through Samaria.”—Because the country of Samaria was interposed between Galilee and Judea. It appears from Josephus, that those whose time was precious, or occasions urgent, went through Samaria; but as this was often unsafe, and generally unpleasant, the Jews often went much out of their way, by passing over the Jordan and through Gilead, to avoid the Samaritans and their country altogether.

5. “Sychar.”—The same as Sichem or Shechem, afterwards Neapolis, and now Nablons. It is not agreed whether the name "Sychar" for "Sichem" is merely obtained by changing the final m for r, according to the different dialects of the Jews and Samaritans; or that the Jews, as they were prone to do, gave it the name of Sychar to express reproach and contempt, as the word would in Hebrew mean "drunken"-that is, "the drunken city."

6. "Jacob's well."-This well is not mentioned elsewhere. We may suppose that it took its name from the fact or notion, that it was dug by Jacob, or that his family drank of its water, while sojourning in this part of the country. The circumstances recorded in this chapter, as having occurred at this well, have greatly enhanced the interest of this spot to Christians, and it has hence been a favourite resort of pilgrims in all subsequent ages. The empress Helena built a church over it: but this has long been destroyed by time and the Turks, so that the foundations only are now discoverable. The well stands about a mile from the present town; but this distance affords no objection, as the town seems to have extended further in this direction in former times, besides which, it often occurred that wells were at some distance from the town to which they belonged. This was the case in the present instance; as the disciples had gone into the city to buy food." The well stands at the commencement of a round vale, which is thought to have been the parcel of ground." bought by Jacob for a hundred pieces of silver. The mouth of the well itself, has over it an arched or vaulted building, and the only passage down to it, is by means of a small hole in the roof, scarcely large enough for a moderate-sized person to work his way through. "Landing," says Buckingham, "on a heap of dirt and rubbish, we saw a large, flat, oblong stone, which lay almost on its edge, across the mouth of the well, and left barely space enough to see that there was an opening below. We could not ascertain its diameter; but, by the time of a stone's descent, it was evident that it was of considerable depth, as well as that it was perfectly dry at this season, the fall of the stones giving forth a dead and hard sound." Maundrell says that its depth is thirty-five feet; and that, when he was there, it contained five feet of water. We know of no traveller who has disputed that this was the identical well at which our Lord conversed with the woman of Samaria. The only reasonable objection, the distance between the well and the town, is obviated by the knowledge, which every traveller in the East acquires, that the inhabitants of towns are often obliged to procure water from far greater distances than this. Dr. Clarke, indeed, thinks that the spot is so distinctly marked by the evangelist, and so little liable to uncertainty. from the circumstance of the well itself and the features of the country, that, if no tradition existed for its identity, the site could hardly have been mistaken. This learned traveller's further remarks are so valuable that we cannot withhold them. "Perhaps no Christian scholar ever read the fourth chapter of St. John without being struck with the numerous evidences of truth which crowd upon the mind in its perusal; within so small a compass it is impossible to find in other writings so many sources of reflection and of interest. Independently of its importance as a theological document, it concentrates so much information, that a volume might be filled with the illustration it reflects on the history of the Jews, and on the geography of their country. All that can be gathered on these subjects from Josephus, seems but a comment to illustrate this chapter. The journey of our Lord from Judæa into Galilee; the cause of it; his approach to the metropolis of this country; its name; his arrival at the Amorite field, which terminates the narrow valley of Sichem; the ancient custom of halting at a well; the female employment of drawing water; the disciples sent into the city for food, by which its situation out of the town is obviously implied; the question of the woman referring to existing prejudices which separated the Jews from the Samaritans; the depth of the well; the Oriental allusion contained in the expression living water; the history of the well, and the customs thereby illustrated; the worship upon mount Gerizim; all these occur within the space of twenty verses: and if to these be added what has already been referred to in the remainder of the same chapter, we shall, perhaps, consider it as a record, which, in the words of him who sent it, we may lift up our eyes, and look upon, for it is white already to harvest."

9. ". The Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans."-By this we should understand that they had no friendly intercourse; for that they had the intercourse of traffic and common communication, seems clear enough. Indeed, we observe in the present instance, that, while our Lord conversed with the woman of Samaria, the disciples had proceeded to the Samaritan town of Sychar to buy meat. The prevalent doctrines of the Pharisees, and the claims to superior purity and holiness which they encouraged individuals to cherish, had much tendency to aggravate the difference between the Samaritans and Jews. The Pharisees indeed taught that no Jew ought to borrow any thing of the Samaritans, or receive any kindness with them, nor drink of their water or eat of their bread. Hence the surprise of the woman that Jesus asked drink of her; but we see presently that he did more still in opposition to the narrow restrictions of the Pharisees, in going to the city and eating with its inhabitants.

The sources of enmity between the Jews and Samaritans were many. The original occasion of the settlement of the Samaritans in Palestine, would in itself have been sufficient to set the Jews against them. We have touched on this subject under 2 Kings xvii.; and shall not here resume it. But besides this, when from fear they deemed it prudent to worship God, they did so without relinquishing the worship of their own idols-and this circumstance was not forgotten by the Jews, even when they ceased to be idolaters. Their rejection of all the books of Scripture, except the Law, of which alone they acknowledged the Divine authority; their bitter opposition to the rebuilding of the temple of Jerusalem, by the captives returned from Babylon, after their own assistance and participation had been declined; and, still more, their afterwards building an opposition temple on Mount Gerizim, where alone and not at Jerusalem, they contended that the Law (Deut. xxvii. 11-13) directed the Lord's temple to be built, and, consequently, that their own was the true and lawful temple, where alone sacrifices should be offered:-All these, and other causes, rendered the Samaritans abhorred by the Jews, even more perhaps than idolaters themselves. Hence, the son of Sirach says, "There be two manner of nations which my heart abhorreth, and the third is no nation: They that sit upon the mountain of Samaria, and they that dwell among the Philistines, and that foolish people which dwell in Sichem." (Ecclus. 1. 25, 26.) All intercourse of kindness was refused; and the Jews thought they could not more strongly express their contempt and detestation of any man than by calling him a Samaritan; hence, on one occasion, they said to Christ, "Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil.”

Nevertheless, by this time the Samaritans had relinquished many of the corruptions which they had associated with the worship of God, and did not adopt the superstitious practices and absurd notions which the Jews in the time of our Saviour entertained. Indeed, the difference between the two was not greater, if so great, as subsists between some Christian sects: but all human experience explains the hatred between them, by teaching that, in all cases, the strongest dislikes to each other are exhibited not by people whose religion differ the most, but by those who in religious practice and opinion approach each other the most nearly. The circumstance which had much operated in purifying the Samaritan system from its original taint of idolatry, and in bringing it into nearer conformity with Judaism, occurred in the time of Nehemiah. That zealous governor ordered that all those who had married strange wives should put them away (Neh. xiii. 23—30). Rather than do this, many who had taken Samaritan women for their wives, chose to withdraw and join the Samaritans. Among these was Manasseh, one of the sons of Jehoiada, the high-priest, who had married the daughter of Sanballat the Horonite. They were well received by the governor of Samaria; and their instructions and influence operated in producing a favourable change in the religious practice and opinions of the Samaritans.

It has ever been one of the chief boasts of the Samaritans that they possess the books of the Law in the original Hebrew or Phoenician characters; whereas the Jews employ the Chaldee characters, which they learnt during their captivity at Babylon. Therefore, instead of looking upon Ezra as the restorer of the Law, they curse him as an impostor, as having laid aside the old characters to use new ones in their room. The vowel-points, which were ultimately introduced, have also been regarded by the Samaritans with abhorrence. We observe, from verses 20 and 21, that the Samaritans of our Saviour's time, in common with the Jews, expected the advent of the Messiah; and many of them ultimately became the followers of Jesus Christ, and embraced the doctrines of his religion (Acts viii. 1 ; ix. 31 ; xv. 31. The existing Samaritans, like the Jews, still retain their expectation of the Messiah's coming. Prideaux considers that their ideas concerning the resurrection were much clearer than those which the Jews themselves entertained. And with respect to idolatry, it is certain, that, in the time of our Saviour, and ever since, they abhorred it as much as the Jews themselves.

Of the present opinions of the Samaritans, the reader may find a full account in the Origines Hebrææ' of Lewis (b. v., c. 12), who gives a copy of a confession of their faith, which was sent by Eleazar, their high-priest, in the name of the synagogue of Sichem, to Scaliger, who applied to him for that purpose; and also (ch. xiii.) a long letter, explanatory of their opinions, from the Samaritans of Sichem to their brethren in England; transmitted by the hands of Dr. Huntington, at one time chaplain to the Factory at Aleppo, and afterwards Bishop of Raphoe, in Ireland. The former document has been given by Horne, in his Introduction;' and the latter we would willingly transcribe, but for its length. The following is from Mr. Horne:

"Towards the close of the Jewish polity, the Samaritans suffered much from the Romans; and although they received a little favourable treatment from one or two of the Pagan emperors, yet they suffered considerably under one or two of the professing Christian emperors, particularly Valentinian and Justinian. At present the Samaritans are very much reduced in point of numbers. Their principal residence is at Sichem, or Shechem, now called Napolose, or Nablous. In 1823 there were between twenty and thirty houses, and about sixty males paid the capitation-tax to the Mohammedan government. They celebrate divine service every Saturday. Formerly, they went out four times a year to the old synagogue on Mount Gerizim; and on these occasions they ascended before sunrise, and read the Law till noon: but of late years they have not been allowed to do this. The Samaritans have one school at Napolose, where their language is taught."

Lewis says, "Several attempts have been made to convert these Samaritans, but they have been oppressed instead of being made Christians; and they are reduced to a small number rather by misery than by the multitude of those who have been converted. Nay, they seem more stubbornly wedded to their sect than the Jews, though these adhere very stiffly to the Law of Moses. At least, Nicon, who lived after the twelfth century, setting down the formalities used at the reception of heretics, observes, that if a Jew had a mind to be converted, in order to avoid punishment or the payment of what he owed, he was to purify himself, and to satisfy his creditors, before he was admitted. But, as for the Samaritans, they were not received before they had been instructed two years, and were required to fast fourteen or fifteen days, before they professed the Christian religion, and to be morning and evening at prayers, and to learn some psalms. Others were not used with so much rigour. The term of two years that was enjoined to the Samaritan proselytes, is an argument that they were suspected, and the reason why they were so was that they had often deceived the Christians by their pretended conversion."

20. "Our fathers worshipped in this mountain.”—That is, on Mount Gerizim, as in the preceding note. The temple on this mountain was built by Sanballat, the governor, for his son-in law Manasseh, who has already been mentioned. This temple was destroyed by John Hyrcanus, prince and high-priest of the Jews; and whether it was afterwards rebuilt, cannot be ascertained. It is however certain that the Samaritans continued to worship on the mountain, and regarded it as the only place on which sacrifices could legally be offered.

27. "Marvelled that he talked with the woman."―They probably marvelled that he talked with a woman at all; and still more with a Samaritan woman; and, above all, that he should speak to her on the present deep subject of discourse. Although women, even at this late time, appear to have moved about in society with far more freedom than they at present do in Western Asia, and a woman might be accosted and asked, or answered, any necessary question by a man, in public; yet it appears that talking with them, or attention to them, was generally discouraged. This was, doubtless, in part owing to a measure of that feeling which now operates in the entire seclusion of women from the society of men; and, still more, apparently, to the very low opinion of the female understanding which was then generally entertained, and which was forcibly and broadly expressed in the well-known saying of Rabbi Eleazer, that “A woman ought not to be wise above her distaff." A few more Rabbinical sayings will further illustrate this matter: "R. Jose the Galilean, being upon a journey, found Berurea on the way, and he said to her, Which way must we go to Lydda ?” She answered, 'O foolish Galilean, have not the wise men taught, Do not multiply discourse with a woman?" Thou oughtest only to have said, Which way to Lydda?" They were averse to instructing women in the Law-"Let the words of the Law be burned rather than committed to a woman.' And how much any kind of communication was discouraged appears from-"Let no one talk with a woman in the streets, no, not with his own wife." This was indeed considered particularly unbecoming in a religious or learned man, whether a teacher or disciple.

[ocr errors]



1 Jesus on the sabbath day cureth him that was diseased eight and thirty years. 10 The Jews therefore cavil, and persecute him for it. 17 He ansuereth for himself, and reproveth them, shewing by the testimony of his Father, 32 of John, 36 of his works, 39 and of the Scriptures, who he is. AFTER 'this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep 'market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.

4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.

5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.

6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?

1 Levit. 23. 2. Deut. 16.:

$ Or, gate.

7 The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. 8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.

9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked : and on the same day was the sabbath.

10 The Jews therefore said unto him. that was cured, It is the sabbath day: 'it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.

11 He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.

12 Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?

13 And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.

14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

15 The man departed, and told the Jews

* Jer. 17. 22. 4 Or, from the multitude that was,

that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.

16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. 17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.

18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. 20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.

21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.

22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: 23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;

27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of


[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

31 'If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.

32 There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true.

33 Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth.

34 But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved.

35 He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.


36 But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.

37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, "nor seen his shape.

38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.

39 Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

have not the

41 I receive not honour from men. 42 But I know you, that ye love of God in you.

43 I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.

44 "How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?

45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you. even Moses, in whom ye trust.

46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. 47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

9 Matt. 3. 17, and 17.5. 10 Deut. 4. 12. Deut. 18. 15.

11 Chap. 12. 43.

Verse 2." The sheep market."-The word "market" is not in the original, nor is a sheep market mentioned in the Scripture or any of the Jewish writings. Probably the word supplied, to complete the sense, might be "gate," instead of "market;" as a “sheep gate” is mentioned repeatedly in Nehemiah, being that through which sheep and oxen were brought into the city. The Vulgate and Ethiopic versions, however, have, "sheep pool," not supposing there is any omission to be supplied. The Arabic explains in the same manner; and it is called the "cattle pool" by Jerome.

« PreviousContinue »