4:2 but his disciples. These disciples had formerly been John’s disciples, and in effect were continuing John’s ministry, now under Jesus with greater meaning.
4:5 Sychar. Sychar was near ancient Shechem, where Jacob had bought land from Hamor, Shechem’s father. Later, Joseph had been buried there (Genesis 33:19; Joshua 24:32). It was not far from the capital of the province of Samaria and also near Mount Gerizim, the worship center of the Samaritans (John 4:20). Samaria, Judaea and Galilee were all Roman provinces at this time, but Jerusalem and Samaria had formerly (before the exile) been the capitals of Judah and Israel, the southern and northern kingdoms, respectively.
4:6 Jacob’s well. There is no specific well mentioned in Genesis in connection with the times of Jacob. The well which is today exhibited to tourists as Jacob’s well, however, is probably the same as the one which the woman of Samaria called his well. This area, which is near Samaria, was originally bought by Jacob (Genesis 33:18-19).
4:7 woman of Samaria. Apparently in order to talk to this woman, Jesus deliberately took this route through Samaria to get to Galilee, even though, normally, “the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans” (John 4:9). He knew her need and that of the other people of the region (John 4:18,39), and “must needs go through Samaria” (John 4:4). In so doing, He was “leaving us an example, that (we) should follow His steps” (I Peter 2:21), both of personal soul-winning and of rejecting ethnic prejudice.
4:14 shall never thirst. The “living water” (John 4:10) of which Christ spoke was, of course, symbolic of the salvation He would provide. The waters of Eden (Genesis 2:10) and the New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:1) also speak of this.
4:22 of the Jews. The religion of the Samaritans was a corrupt offshoot of the Jews’ religion, but it had no saving efficacy. The Jews had the temple of God, where the atoning sacrifices were offered, as well as the “oracles of God” (Romans 3:2). Most importantly, it was of them “as concerning the flesh Christ came” (Romans 9:5).
4:23 in truth. True worship and saving faith no longer are mediated through types or require physical aids, now that Christ has come to bring full and free salvation. The truth in Christ, received through the Spirit by faith, is the worship the Father seeks (compare II Chronicles 16:9).
4:23 seeketh such to worship him. How could the omniscient God ever have to seek anything?! Yet the Lord Jesus affirmed that He does. Furthermore, Christ said that He Himself had “come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). In some inscrutable way, bound up in the humanly impenetrable balance between divine election and human responsibility, it satisfies the infinite heart of God when we respond to His sacrificial love in gratitude and worship.
4:26 I that speak unto thee. Even though the Samaritan religion was very deficient in many areas, they did believe in the Messianic promises, and it is significant that Jesus used His contact with this woman to convey the news of their fulfillment to these people. It is a common opinion that the Samaritans only used the Pentateuch, but they were obviously familiar with the doctrine of the coming Messiah, which is developed mostly in the books of Psalms and Prophets.
4:34 do the will. “Lo, I come to do thy will, O God” (Hebrews 10:9). The work He had been sent to do was finished on the cross, and He finally cried: “It is finished!” (John 19:30).
4:37 another reapeth. The spiritual fields are white unto harvest and will yield rich fruit to those who reap, but those who have sowed or watered will share with the reapers, and all will rejoice together. Compare I Corinthians 3:6-8. In the Lord’s service, all aspects of labor count the same.
4:48 signs and wonders. Obviously the Lord would not encourage the modern emphasis on signs and wonders as incentives to faith.
4:50 thy son liveth. Simply by a word, the Lord Jesus healed a young man who was near death. Not only did Jesus not even touch him, he was over ten miles away! This was a second miracle of creation, requiring nothing less than the power of the Creator Himself!
4:54 second miracle. Jesus actually had done many miracles in or near Jerusalem (John 2:23; 3:2) since the miracle of turning the water into wine. This is called the second miracle, either because it was the second done in Galilee or else because John was specifically counting only the seven great signs (all of these being miracles of creation) described in detail in order to win men to Christ (John 20:30,31).