Jesus offers life

Jesus offers life


John 4:7-26

A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, 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, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.” 


If you know who Jesus is, then you would ask Him for living water.

Go call your husband.

True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.



Worship is the awed response to the saving acts and praiseworthy character of God.

Concept SummaryWorship is the reverential response of creation to the all-encompassing magnificence of God (Isa 6:1–6; Exod 15:11; Psa 148:1–14). In the OT, worship encompassed a variety of activities. Bringing forward an offering to God was an act of worship (קָרַב, qārab). Bowing down in the presence of God was an outward display of an inner attitude of reverence before the Creator (חָוָה, ḥāwâ). The verb רוּם (rûm) could indicate that a person was “lifting up” or “exalting” God with praise. Together, these last two terms provide a rich image of worship: People both bow before God and lift him up in praise and wonder. The verb הָלַל (hālal) could be used to designate the act of celebrating God. The word “hallelujah” is derived from the Hebrew phrase הַלְלוּ־יָהּ (halĕlû-yāh), meaning “praise Yahweh.” This praise could involve זָמַר (zāmar, “singing”). Worship could also be described as “serving” (עָבַד, ʿābad) God. The ritual life of devotion was emblematic of a whole life given over to God.The NT carries over many of the actions described as worship in the ot. The verb προσκυνέω (proskyneō) means to bow down as an act of worship, while κάμπτω (kamptō) signifies bending the knee or bowing in reverence to God. Other words for praising God include δοξάζω (doxazō), for the act of giving God glory, and εὐλογέω (eulogeō), for praising or blessing God.

McCaulley, E. (2014). Worship. D. Mangum, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, & R. Hurst (Eds.), Lexham Theological Wordbook. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

The obvious background [for John 4:10], however, is the Old Testament. There God declares: ‘My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water’ (Je. 2:13)—that is, they have rejected the fresh, ‘running’ supply of God and his faithful goodness, choosing instead the stagnant waters of cisterns they themselves prepared, discovering even then that their cisterns were cracked, and leaving them with nothing to sustain life and blessing. But the prophets look forward to a time when ‘living water will flow out from Jerusalem’ (Zc. 14:8; cf. Ezk. 47:9). The metaphor speaks of God and his grace, knowledge of God, life, the transforming power of the Holy Spirit; in Isaiah 1:16–18; Ezekiel 36:25–27 water promises cleansing. All of these themes are picked up in John’s use of ‘water’ or ‘living water’ in this gospel (cf. notes on 3:5; 4:10–15; 7:38; 19:34). In John’s Gospel there are passages where Jesus is the living water as he is the bread from heaven (6:35), and other passages where he gives the living water to believers. In this chapter, the water is the satisfying eternal life mediated by the Spirit that only Jesus, the Messiah and Saviour of the world, can provide 

Carson, D. A. (1991). The Gospel according to John (pp. 218–219). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans.

You worship what you know not, we worship what we know. This is a sentence worthy of being remembered, and teaches us that we ought not to attempt any thing in religion rashly or at random; because, unless there be knowledge, it is not God that we worship, but a phantom or idol. All good intentions, as they are called, are struck by this sentence, as by a thunderbolt; for we learn from it, that men can do nothing but err, when they are guided by their own opinion without the word or command of God. For Christ, defending the person and cause of his nation, shows that the Jews are widely different from the Samaritans. And why?Because salvation is from the Jews. By these words he means that they have the superiority in this respect, that God had made with them a covenant of eternal salvation. Some restrict it to Christ, who was descended from the Jews; and, indeed, since all the promises of God were confirmed and ratified in him, (2 Cor. 1:20,) there is no salvation but in him. But as there can be no doubt that Christ gives the preference to the Jews on this ground, that they do not worship some unknown deity, but God alone, who revealed himself to them, and by whom they were adopted as his people; by the word salvation we ought to understand that saving manifestation which had been made to them concerning the heavenly doctrine.

Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on the Gospel according to John (Vol. 1, pp. 159–160). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

You Samaritans (the Greek employs the plural pronoun; niv makes this clear by adding ‘Samaritans’), Jesus insists, worship what you do not know. Jesus is not saying that the Samaritans hold to a view of God that makes him utterly unknowable, still less that they worship what they do not believe—as if he were attacking their sincerity. Rather, he is saying that the object of their worship is in fact unknown to them. They stand outside the stream of God’s revelation, so that what they worship cannot possibly be characterized by truth and knowledge. By contrast, Jesus says, we [Jews] worship what we do know: i.e. whatever else was wrong with Jewish worship, at least it could be said that the object of their worship was known to them. The Jews stand within the stream of God’s saving revelation; they know the one they worship, for salvation (cf. notes on 3:17) is from the Jews

Carson, D. A. (1991). The Gospel according to John (p. 223). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans.

Yet a time is coming and has now come (lit. ‘the hour is coming and now is’: cf. notes on 2:4; 4:21) when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.’ There is an advance on v. 21: not only is the time coming, but it has come. This oxymoron is a powerful way of asserting not only that the period of worship ‘in spirit and truth’ is about to come and awaits only the dawning of the ‘hour’, i.e. Jesus’ death, resurrection and exaltation, but also that this period of true worship is already proleptically present in the person and ministry of Jesus before the cross. This worship can take place only in and through him: he is the true temple (2:19–22), he is the resurrection and the life (11:25). The passion and exaltation of Jesus constitute the turning point upon which the gift of the Holy Spirit depends (7:38–39; 16:7); but that salvation-historical turning point is possible only because of who Jesus is. Precisely for that reason, the hour is not only ‘coming’ but also ‘has now come’. 

Carson, D. A. (1991). The Gospel according to John (p. 224). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans.

The expression the true worshippers does not make a distinction between worshippers after the ministry of Jesus (the true worshippers) and those before the ministry of Jesus (presumably the false worshippers). Both true and false worshipper could be found under the terms of the old covenant, and both can be found appealing to the new covenant as well. Rather, the point is that with the coming of the ‘hour’ the distinction between true worshippers and all others turns on factors that make the ancient dispute between the conflicting claims of the Jerusalem temple and Mount Gerizim obsolete. Under the eschatological conditions of the dawning hour, the true worshippers cannot be identified by their attachment to a particular shrine, but by their worship of the Father in spirit and truth

Carson, D. A. (1991). The Gospel according to John (pp. 224–225). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans.

In the same way, ‘God is spirit’ means that God is invisible, divine as opposed to human (cf. 3:6), life-giving and unknowable to human beings unless he chooses to reveal himself (cf. 1:18). As ‘God is light’ and ‘God is love’ (1 Jn. 1:5; 4:8), so ‘God is spirit’: these are elements in the way God presents himself to human beings, in his gracious self-disclosure in his Son (cf. Porsch, p. 49; cf. Ibuki, pp. 311–313). And he has chosen to reveal himself: he has uttered his Word, his own Self-Expression. In that Word, now become flesh, he may be known as truly as it is possible for human beings to know him (1:1–18). That incarnate Word is the one who baptizes his people in Holy Spirit (1:33), for unless they are born from above, unless they are born of the Spirit, they cannot see the kingdom of God, they cannot worship God truly. This provision of the Spirit is made possible by the work of him who is the truth (14:6), and who by his glorification by way of the cross pours out the Spirit, who is called the Spirit of truth (14:17; 15:26; 16:13).

 Carson, D. A. (1991). The Gospel according to John (p. 225). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans.

This God who is spirit can be worshipped only in spirit and truth. Both in v. 23 and in v. 24, the one preposition ‘in’ governs both nouns (a point obscured by the niv of v. 24). There are not two separable characteristics of the worship that must be offered: it must be ‘in spirit and truth’, i.e. essentially God-centred, made possible by the gift of the Holy Spirit, and in personal knowledge of and conformity to God’s Word-made-flesh, the one who is God’s ‘truth’, the faithful exposition and fulfillment of God and his saving purposes (cf. esp. de la Potterie, 2. 673ff.). The worshippers whom God seeks worship him out of the fullness of the supernatural life they enjoy (‘in spirit’), and on the basis of God’s incarnate Self-Expression, Christ Jesus himself, through whom God’s person and will are finally and ultimately disclosed (‘in truth’); and these two characteristics form one matrix, indivisible. Indeed, the association of ‘word’ and ‘Spirit’ is strong in the Old Testament (e.g. Ne. 9:20, 30; Ps. 33:6; 147:18; Is. 59:21), and it is just possible that this connection is in the Evangelist’s mind, since Jesus the ‘Word made flesh’ (1:14) and ‘the truth’ (14:6) is also the one to whom God gives the Spirit without limit (3:34). 

Carson, D. A. (1991). The Gospel according to John (pp. 225–226). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans.

Third (23–24), the time of true worship is now at hand (because by implication Jesus, the Son and Messiah, is now at hand). This is a worship in spirit and truth. He is the truth. He receives and dispenses the Spirit to all who believe in him, a dispensing experienced as a second birth. True worship is accordingly the worship offered through the Son and in living faith-union with him by means of the Holy Spirit.

 Milne, B. (1993). The message of John: here is your king!: with study guide (p. 88). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Frequently, too, we err in this respect, that by the actions of the Fathers we rashly lay down a common law; for the multitude do not imagine that they confer sufficient honour on the Fathers, if they do not exclude them from the ordinary rank of men. Thus, when we do not remember that they were fallible men, we indiscriminately mingle their vices with their virtues. Hence arises the worst confusion in the conduct of life; for while all the actions of men ought to be tried by the rule of the Law, we subject the balance to those things which ought to be weighed by it; and, in short, where so much importance is attached to the imitation of the Fathers, the world thinks that there can be no danger in sinning after their example. 

Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on the Gospel according to John (Vol. 1, p. 156). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

That we may not fall into this error, we ought always to be attentive to the present rule. Formerly incense, candles, holy garments, an altar, vessels, and ceremonies of this nature, pleased God; and the reason was, that nothing is more precious or acceptable to Him than obedience. Now, since the coming of Christ, matters are entirely changed. We ought, therefore, to consider what he enjoins on us under the Gospel, that we may not follow at random what the Fathers observed under the Law; for what was at that time a holy observation of the worship of God would now be a shocking sacrilege. 

Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on the Gospel according to John (Vol. 1, p. 157). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

The Samaritans were led astray by not considering, in the example of Jacob, how widely it differed from the condition of their own time. The Patriarchs were permitted to erect altars everywhere, because the place had not yet been fixed which the Lord afterwards selected; but from the time that God ordered the temple to be built on mount Zion, the freedom which they formerly enjoyed ceased. For this reason Moses said, Hereafter you shall not do every one what appears right in his own eyes, but only what I command you, (Deut. 12:8, 14;) for, from the time that the Lord gave the Law, he restricted the true worship of himself to the requirements of that Law, though formerly a greater degree of liberty was enjoyed. A similar pretence was offered by those who worshipped in Bethel; for there Jacob had offered a solemn sacrifice to God, but after that the Lord had fixed the place of sacrifice at Jerusalem, it was no longer Bethel, the house of God, but Bethaven, the house of wickedness.We now see what was the state of the question. The Samaritans had the example of the Fathers for their rule: the Jews rested on the commandment of God. This woman, though hitherto she had followed the custom of her nation, was not altogether satisfied with it. By worship we are to understand here not any kind of worship, (for daily prayers might be offered in any place,) but that which was joined with sacrifices, and which constituted a public and solemn profession of religion.

 Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on the Gospel according to John (Vol. 1, pp. 157–158). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

When we study God’s Word, it should lead us to both rejoicing and repenting. 

  • What stands out to you from the text?
  • What questions or comments do you have about it?
  • In what ways did you find yourself encouraged and/or rejoicing when you heard the message?
  • In what ways were you challenged to repent or change when you heard the message?
  • How did the teacher connect this passage to Christ? What other connections do you see between this message and the redemptive work of Christ?


  • What is one thing that you want to remember from this sermon?  
  • Why is that important to you?