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The Gospel of John: Manifesting God’s Glory Book 1

Jesus manifested God's glory through 8 miraculous signs in the gospel of John. These are a revelation of the feast of tabernacles.

Category - Bible Commentaries

Chapter 19

The Samaritan Woman

We come now to the story of the Samaritan woman that Jesus met at the well of Sychar. This is the final story supporting Jesus’ first sign at the wedding feast of Cana. This time, instead of turning water to wine, Jesus teaches the woman and her friends about the well of living water. It is still another view of the transformation that occurs when we drink of the Spirit.

Notice especially the contrast between Nicodemus, the prominent Sanhedrin member, and the lowly Samarian woman, a nobody.

Nicodemus had been the consummate insider in the ruling class of the Jews, commanding respect and enjoying an impeccable reputation; the Samaritan woman was the consummate outsider. As a Samaritan—and a woman at that—she was despised by the Jews. But it is likely that she was also looked down upon by her own people, because of her multiple marriages and her current live-in husband.

John 4:1-3 begins the story this way:

1 Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were), 3 He left Judea and departed again into Galilee.

Apparently, the large number of people that John himself had been baptizing brought a delegation of Pharisees to investigate him (John 1:19, 24). But later, when word got out that Jesus was baptizing even more disciples than John, the same Pharisees became alarmed. After all, John never claimed to be the Messiah, but he had borne witness of Jesus, so the temple priests knew that Jesus was the real threat.

Hence, Jesus traveled north from Judea to the relatively safer region of Galilee. As we will see later, the time came when it was dangerous for Jesus to minister in Judea. John 7:1 says,

1 After these things, Jesus was walking in Galilee; for He was unwilling to walk in Judea, because the Jews [Judeans] were seeking to kill Him.

The Well of Jacob

Jesus could have crossed the Jordan and traveled north through Decapolis (10 Greek cities on the east side of the river). But the Spirit led Him through Samaria for a very important mission along the way. John 4:4, 5, 6 says,

4 And He had to pass through Samaria. 5 So He came to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave his son Joseph; 6 and Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

Sychar, or Sychem, was the ancient town of Shechem. It was located on the slope of Mount Ebal a few miles southeast of the city of Samaria, Israel’s ancient capital that had been destroyed by the Assyrians in 721 B.C. It was also fairly close to Mount Gerazim, where the Samaritan temple stood as a rival to the temple in Jerusalem.

Sychar was just north of Jacob’s well, which was on the parcel of land that Jacob had purchased after his return from Laban’s house (Joshua 24:32). The well was located between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerazim, the two mountains where the tribes of Israel had stood, representing the blessings of obedience (Gerazim) and the curses for disobedience (Ebal) in Deut. 27:12, 13.

Genesis 33:18, 19 says,

18 Now Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Paddan-aram, and camped before the city. 19 He bought the piece of land where he had pitched his tent from the hand of the sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for one hundred pieces of money.

Jacob’s move to Shechem was the setup to the story of his daughter Dinah in Genesis 34. Shechem, the son of Hamor, wanted to marry Dinah, but Jacob’s sons destroyed the whole town. In doing so, they dishonored their father, Jacob (Gen. 34:30).

Hence, Shechem was historically a place of conflict between the sons of Jacob and others whom they considered to be unclean and unredeemable. Jacob himself had already come through his own spiritual crisis when he had wrestled with the angel. His name had already been changed to Israel to reflect this new revelation. The problem was that his sons were yet carnal and religious, which can be a dangerous combination.

Hamor means “an ass,” which is an unclean creature. Jacob’s sons looked upon Hamor as being unclean, not understanding that in the law, the firstborn of an ass was supposed to be redeemed by a lamb (Exodus 13:13). In other words, asses were to be redeemed, not killed. When redeemed, they were lambs in the eyes of the law.

Shechem means “shoulder” and represents the seat of government (Isaiah 9:6), even as the head sits upon the shoulders. Hence, by viewing Hamor and Shechem together as a deeper prophecy, we see that the sons of Jacob represented those who would destroy the ungodly (or unclean) governments of the world.

But there are two ways to accomplish this. The first is by violence; the other is by converting them to the Kingdom of God. The religious spirit opted for violence as its first choice; Jesus chose the second.

The way Jesus dealt with the Samaritan woman of Sychar should have been the way in which Jacob’s sons treated Hamor and the town itself. Where the sons of Jacob did wrong, Jesus did what was right. Note the contrast. By comparing the two stories, we see the contrast between the carnality of a religious spirit and the lawful manner in which the Holy Spirit carries out the mind and will of Christ.

In the overall context of Jesus’ first sign, we see that when He transformed water to wine, He established the principle of the law of redemption wherein asses were transformed into lambs. So also the Samaritans were to be transformed by the Holy Spirit from carnal asses to spiritual lambs. Hatred between Jews and Samaritans was not pleasing to God. Jesus showed the love of God to Samaritans, and this changed their hearts and transformed them into new wine.

Sychar means “drunken.” It is actually a Hebrew word derived from shekar, translated “strong drink” in Num. 28:7. Some believe that Sychar was not the actual name of the town but was a Jewish nickname showing contempt for the Samaritans living there. If so, they may have linked the name with two words: shikkor, “drunken” and sheqer, “falsehood.”

Whatever the origin of the name, it played into the prophetic significance of the story. Jacob’s well produced water, and Jesus told the woman about “living water” that would be a never-ending source of life bubbling up from within.

The woman had come to the well to fill her vessel with water, intending to bring it to Sychar, “drunken,” thus suggesting a carnal attempt to transform from water to wine. Jesus told her that her real need would be met if she would draw from the wellspring of living water—the Messiah Himself.

The Encounter

It was noon, and the sun was hot. Jesus was weary from his journey. John 4:7-9 says,

7 There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” 8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. 9 The Samaritan woman therefore said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)

Jewish protocol had forbidden Jews to have any interaction with Samaritans, lest they be contaminated. His disciples had gone into the city to buy food, which was probably something that made them quite nervous. It was likely that they would be met with some hostility and that they would pay dearly for their food.

On the way into the city, they probably met the Samaritan woman as she was making her way toward the well. It is likely that they did not greet her or acknowledge her existence. Neither was a Jewish man to speak to any woman in public.

According to Dr. Bullinger’s notes on this verse, there were six things forbidden in the Talmud for a rabbi to do. One of these was to talk to a woman. Jesus was a recognized rabbi (John 1:49; 3:2), probably discipled by his great uncle, Joseph of Arimathea, and later confirmed by John the Baptist. So it is certain that Jesus knew the Talmudic rules. Yet He obviously disagreed with these rules, knowing that the law of God nowhere prescribes such restrictions.

Hence, for Jesus to ask a Samaritan woman for a drink was perhaps the ultimate breach of protocol. Asking a favor from her not only recognized her worth but it showed His humility.

John 4:10 continues,

10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the 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.”

The Hebrew term mayim chayim, “running water” literally means living water. This phrase is used in Lev. 14:5 and 6 in relation to the law of cleansing lepers. The first bird was to be killed in an earthen vessel “over running water.” In biblical types and shadows, in order for water to be “living,” it must flow, rather than being pooled.

The water from the well of Sychar flowed from an underground spring, but insofar as the people were concerned, it was drawn up as regular water in a container. Hence, Jesus offered her living water as a contrast to the dead water that she was about to draw from the well of Jacob. The dead water needed to be drawn day after day, whereas the living water was to come from within one’s innermost being and never run dry.

In other words, John meant for us to see that turning water to wine was the equivalent of turning dead water into living water. This was just another way of expressing the same principle of aionian life.

John 4:11, 12 gives the woman’s response,

11 She said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? 12 You are not greater than our father Jacob, are you, who gave us the well and drank of it himself, and his sons, and his cattle?”

The simple answer is Yes, Jesus was indeed greater than Jacob and his sons, for they all drank dead water. Jacob’s sons murdered the whole town, for they had not drunk any living water. But Jesus did not immediately answer her question. Instead, He corrected her misunderstanding of the term “living water.”

John 4:13, 14 says,

13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal [aionian] life.”

We see here that the contrast between dead water and living water has to do with the contrast between the Old and New Covenants. The Old Covenant, based upon man’s vows and good intentions, could never succeed, because no man was capable of fulfilling the vow of obedience required to obtain aionian life.  Only the New Covenant, based upon God’s vow (or promise) could ensure success, because it is based on God’s ability to turn the hearts of the people.

Jesus was the One who had turned the water to wine. And Jesus was the One who could offer the Samaritan woman living water from a well that would never run dry.

This caught her interest, and John 4:15 gives her response,

15 The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty, nor come all the way here to draw.”

She still did not fully understand what He meant, for she still thought that He might offer her some magic water. Nonetheless, He had induced her to ask Him for this water, which was a big step from verse 10.

But before giving her this water, she needed to do something else. Jesus discerned that others were to be included. John 4:16-18 says,

16 He said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.”

Jesus was a Prophet who knew and discerned things beyond natural knowledge. In this case He knew that she had five husbands, all of whom were prophetic types and signs of something bigger.

The Five Samaritan Husbands

The origin of the Samaritans was well known to both Samaritans and Jews in Jesus’ day. When the northern House of Israel was exiled to Assyria (745-721 B.C.), the king of Assyria replaced them with people from five different cities. These five, then, represent the five husbands of the woman at the well.

2 Kings 17:22, 23, 24 tells us,

22 The sons of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they did not depart from them, 23 until the Lord removed Israel from His sight, as He spoke through all His servants the prophets. So Israel was carried away into exile from their own land to Assyria until this day. 24 And the king of Assyria brought men from (1) Babylon and from (2) Cuthah and from (3) Avva and from (4) Hamath and (5) Sephar-vaim and settled them in place of the sons of Israel. So they possessed Samaria and lived in its cities.

The meanings of their names are as follows:

1. Babylon means “confusion.”

2. Cuthah means “crushing.”

3. Avva means “ruin.”

4. Hamath means “a fortress” (from khoma, “a wall”).

5. Sephar-vaim means “double enumeration.” (Sephar is also to cipher, “to compute; to use figures in a mathematical process.”)

The people from these cities replaced Israel, suggesting that Israel’s idolatry in worshiping the golden calves had caused Israel to degenerate first into “confusion,” then into a time of “crushing,” until the nation had come into total “ruin.” In their exile, God built a wall so that they were unable to return, for Hosea 2:6 says,

6 Therefore, behold, I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her so that she cannot find her paths.

God built this wall so that she could not find the path to return to the old land. The theme in Hosea shows that God had divorced the House of Israel and had sent her out of His house, according to the instructions in the law (Deut. 24:1. KJV). Once divorced, He could not allow her to return (Deut. 24:4, KJV), unless certain provisions in the law were met. Briefly, she had to become a new creature, so that the law would no longer recognize her as being her old self. As a new “woman,” she could remarry Him.

When God divorced Israel, she was lowered to the status equal to that of the other nations. In other words, none of the nations were married to God, including Israel. This leveled the playing field, making all nations equal. The New Covenant was the basis for the great remarriage, and as it turned out, this would benefit all the nations. Isaiah 56:8 says,

8 The Lord God, who gathers the dispersed of Israel, declares, “Yet others I will gather to them, to those already gathered.”

The regathering of Israel back to God (to Jesus Christ) would include all other nations. So John included the story of the Samaritan woman at the well to show that they were not excluded from the promises of God. They too could believe in Him. They too could be transformed by the power of living water. They too could be changed from water to wine.

It takes little imagination to see the progression in these names. After building the “wall” to prevent the natural Israelites from returning to the old land, the dead water of the Old Covenant could not provide the solution to their problem. A New Covenant was the only way for Israel—and all nations—to be gathered to Him under the “one Leader” (Hosea 1:11), Jesus Christ.

The fifth husband, then, represented the Sepharvaim who had been sent to Samaria. Perhaps her fifth husband was one of the “men” (John 4:28) who came to believe in Jesus and was counted among the stars of heaven. In coming to Christ, his actions would prophesy of the ultimate return of Israel from confusion, crushing, ruin, and the great wall separating them from God.

In Gen. 15:5, 6 God gave a promise to Abraham, saying,

5 And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count [sephar] the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So will your descendants be. 6 Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.”

The fifth husband actually represents those who are counted (sephar) as the seed of Abraham by faith in Christ. Gal. 3:7-9 and verse 29, which reads,

7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles [ethnos, “nations”] by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations shall be blessed in you.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer…. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

Hence, the Samaritans, who originally pictured the degeneration of Israel into their state of absolute ruin, also became a prophetic picture of hope—not only for Israel but for themselves as well. The story of the woman at the well shows that Jesus Christ brought salvation to the Samaritans as well.

The “Not Your Husband”

The Samaritan woman was currently living with a sixth man who was not her husband. What role did he play in the prophecy?

It appears that this unnamed man was prophetic of the Jews with whom the people of Samaria were living. The Samaritans themselves had replaced the Israelites in the old land, and when the Jews returned from Babylon, they did not “marry” the Samaritans.

The two nations thus lived together but there was no unity between them. Instead, the Jews rejected the Samaritan manner of worship, and each worshiped on a different mountain (Jerusalem and Gerazim).

The Spirit of Denominationalism

John 4:19, 20 says,

19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped in this mountain [Gerazim], and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”

This was the classic dispute of the day between Jews and Samaritans. Each had a holy mountain where they worshiped in a temple. Each had its own denomination. Once she discovered that Jesus was a prophet, she wanted to know which was the true mountain.

Notice that she contrasted “this mountain” with “Jerusalem.” The temple on Mount Gerazim had been destroyed by John Hyrcanus a century earlier (130 B.C.) in the time of the Maccabees. The ruins of the temple could be seen from the well of Sychar, and perhaps the woman gestured in its direction when mentioning how her fathers worshiped in this mountain. Hence, the contrast was not between two temples as such, but between a city and a mountain.

John 4:21 says,

21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, will you worship the Father.”

Under the Old Covenant, men were required to worship in temples made of wood and stone located in specific “holy places” where God had put His name. But under the New Covenant, of which Jesus was the Mediator, the glory and presence of God was to reside in temples made of living stones (1 Peter 2:5). So Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 3:16,

16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

John says also in Rev. 22:4, “His name will be on their foreheads.” Hence, this new living temple is the only lawful place where we may now worship God. It is peculiar, then, that so many Christians now believe that Jesus’ words will soon be reversed, that men will build another temple in Jerusalem, where men will again worship God as in days gone by.

Was the change that Jesus revealed only to be temporary? If that were the case, then “Ichabod” would have to be pronounced a third time—this time upon the Church itself. The first time “Ichabod” was pronounced on Shiloh (1 Sam. 4:21). The second time “Ichabod” was pronounced on Jerusalem (Jer. 7:14), and shortly thereafter the glory of God left that city (Ezekiel 10:18; 11:23).

From there, the presence of God came into the church on the day of Pentecost, and God began to build a new temple with Jesus Christ as the Foundation (Eph. 2:20, 21). Thus, His name is now in our foreheads.

The strange new Christian belief is that God will declare “Ichabod” upon the church and move one more time back to a carnal temple in Jerusalem. Such Old Covenant views misinterpret prophecy and reject Jesus’ own words to the woman of Samaria.

Jesus further explains Himself in John 4:22,

22 You worship that which you do not know; we worship that which we know, for salvation is from the Jews [Ioudeos, “Judeans”] .

In other words, the Samaritans did not really know the God that they worshiped. The reason given is that “salvation is from the Jews.” Jesus’ Hebrew name, Yeshua, literally means “salvation,” so He was telling her that Yeshua is from Judah. This was a setup for the forthcoming revelation in John 4:26 that He was the Messiah.

John 4:23, 24 continues,

23 But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

To worship God in spirit and in truth stands in contrast to the requirement that men had to worship God in a particular mountain or denomination. God is spirit, not material, and so God’s requirement is that men worship Him in spirit, rather than in a material temple. Those who think they must go to a particular location or building, built on “holy ground,” are in need of truth.

The building is not the church. We are the church. We are the temple of God. Only those who do not truly see themselves as the temple of God will see the building or organization as the true church. Such people have not understood the story of the woman of Samaria.

The Revelation of the Messiah

Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well that the day would come when they would all worship God in spirit and in truth. They would no longer follow the denominational spirit where they had to go to the “right” location to meet God. Contrary to popular opinion, God shows up in some very odd places when someone truly seeks Him.

Perhaps more was actually said, because the woman understood Jesus to say that the Messiah would resolve this dispute between Jerusalem and Mount Gerazim and even clarify all things.

John 4:25, 26 says,

25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”

It appears that this was the first time that Jesus had revealed to anyone apart from His disciples that He was the Messiah.

It was dangerous to reveal this to the public at large, for this would have caused undue controversy and would have also aroused the suspicions of both the Jewish priests and the Roman government. Others had already made this claim and had led revolts, thinking that it was their messianic responsibility to cast off the Roman yoke. Jesus obviously was not of that mindset, but such a claim would have caused the Romans to investigate Him and watch Him closely.

His messianic identity, however, must have been a great revelation to the woman, for she ran back to her village to tell others the exciting message that the Messiah had come to visit them. But the disciples returning from the mission to buy food, had seen her even at a distance talking with Jesus at the well.

John 4:27 says,

27 And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He had been speaking with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or “Why do You speak with her?”

The NASB and the KJV suggest that both of these questions were directed toward Jesus, but it seems to me that we should read the questions: “yet no one said to the woman, ‘What do you want?’ or to Jesus, ‘Why do you speak with her?’” It seems odd to me that the disciples would have asked Jesus, “What do You seek?” This question more logically would have been directed at the Samaritan woman.

The First Samaritan Evangelist

The woman was the first Samaritan evangelist. John 4:28-30 says,

28 So the woman left her waterpot and went into the city and said to the men, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?” 30 They went out of the city and were coming to Him.

She left her waterpot at the well, for she did not want to be burdened by carrying a full waterpot all the way home. She intended to return as Jesus had instructed.

Recall from verse 16 that Jesus had told her to go get her husband. As it turned out, she brought many more with her to hear what Jesus had to say. Obviously, they all had messianic expectations.

Real Food

John 4:31-34 says,

31 In the meanwhile the disciples were requesting Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But He said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 The disciples therefore were saying 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 accomplish His work.”

Here again the disciples referred to Jesus as a rabbi, “my master,” an official title of honor. Jesus did not reject the food that the disciples had purchased from the villagers, but it seems that He refused to eat, knowing that He would be invited shortly to the village and that He would be constrained to accept their hospitality. To eat with these villagers would have been an important lesson to His disciples, as this was an act of fellowship that would break down the dividing wall between Jews and Samaritans.

While waiting for her return, Jesus used the occasion to teach them about real food that energized Him spiritually. His “food” was to do the work of His heavenly Father “and to accomplish His work.”

In this case, it was to reveal the truth to those who sat in darkness. His food was not for His own consumption but to feed those who were spiritually hungry to know the truth. Soon He would see the Samaritans coming in the distance, so He prepared His disciples to accept their hospitality and to treat them with love and respect.

John 4:35 says,

35 “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.”

Harvest time is whenever there are people whose hearts are ready to hear the truth. There is also a seasonal time of harvest, such as when the Spirit of God is poured out in special ways. Yet in between those seasons, there is also much opportunity to reach those hungry to know the word. In this case, the “field” was the city of Sychar, and the harvest was the crowd that was coming to the well to hear the gospel.

John 4:36, 37 continues,

36 “Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. 37 For in this case the saying is true, ‘One sows, and another reaps’.”

The “food” in question is to do the work of the One who sent you, whether it is sowing or reaping. Those who sow are not always the same ones who reap. There is a division of labor, yet all receive “wages” for their labor.

In the case of the Samaritan village, the word was being sown at the same time that the reapers were harvesting. The word had been sown in the woman, and now she was bringing the field to the disciples at harvest time. It is clear that Jesus was preparing His disciples to help with the harvest.

John 4:38 says,

38 I have sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

To enter into another man’s labor means that we build upon what others have done in the past. Without their prior labor, it would not be possible to do our own labor.

This teaching comes to us within the context of the denominational differences between Jerusalem and Gerazim. No doubt the teachings at the temple on Mount Gerazim were faulty in many ways; yet it had already sown seeds of messianic expectations, which, when the Messiah revealed Himself, could now be harvested by the disciples.

We today ought to recognize the same lesson, so that we may enter into the labors of those who have sown seeds of truth in other denominations. Like the teachings of Gerazim, modern denominations may possess truth, however faulty, but nonetheless, they have enough truth for us to enter into their labor and receive the same wages.

Fellowship with Samaritans

John 4:39 says,

39 And from that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.”

We should remember from verse 9 that “Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.” Most Jews traveling between Galilee and Jerusalem would not pass through Samaria, because of the hostility between them. Jesus was led to go through Samaria in order to share the word with them. Unlike most of the earlier men claiming to be messiahs, Jesus did not consider the Samaritans to be enemies.

John 4:40-42 concludes,

40 So when the Samaritans came to Him, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of His word; 42 and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.”

The spirit of denominationalism tends to consider outsiders to be enemies or competitors. Another major problem is that which is seen in the story of Saul’s coronation. The people want to be ruled by a man, rather than by God directly (1 Sam. 8:5-7). The Samaritans’ confession was thus significant in that they no longer believed on account of the woman’s testimony but now had heard directly from Jesus Christ Himself. Their faith shifted from an indirect faith to a direct faith in Christ.

Concluding Jesus’ First Sign

The Samaritan woman (and her village) came to the conclusion that “this One is indeed the Savior of the world.” This is the final lesson in the section dealing with Jesus’ first miracle-sign, where He turned the water into wine.

The lesson shows that when Jesus transforms us into “new wine,” He does not limit this work to a few who are genealogical descendants of Abraham (as many of the Jews believed). John included this story to show us the scope of Jesus’ ministry. In other words, we are to understand that turning water to wine applied to the whole world.

We also read in 1 John 4:14,

14 And we have beheld and bear witness that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.

No doubt he was referring to the lesson of the Samaritan woman. The narrow nationalism seen in Judaism and the competition between Jerusalem and Gerazim were both abolished in Christ. Salvation was universal, and the hope of glory applied equally to all men.

Hence, the new wine in John 2 is linked to the real food (or bread) in John 4, suggesting a picture of communion between the saints of all ethnic groups.

In this way, the first sign in John “manifested his glory” (John 2:11).