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heard. And whoever receives his testimony, thereby acknowledges the truth of God's word; for that, which Christ publishes, is the word of God. When John says, “ God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him ;" it is as if he had said, “ God giveth him the Holy Spirit without measure,” that is, copiously and without reserve; in the same sense as, at another time, Christ is said to be “ full of the Holy Ghost.”
Ver. 36. The chapter concludes with a solemn repetition of the necessity of faith. “ He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not on the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him."
Ver. 1. JESUS quitted Judea to avoid the malice of the pharisees, because “ his time was not yet come;" he had not yet fulfilled the object of his ministry by preaching righteousness and salvation to the people, and confirming the faith of those chosen disciples, who were to be the witnesses
and teachers of his truth to the ends of the world. This remained to be done before he committed himself to the pharisees, and ratified the covenant of grace by the sacrifice of his own body on the
Therefore he left Judea at this time, and returned again into Galilee; between which province and Judea lay the country of Samaria. Samaria had formerly been the seat of the kingdom of Israel; but subsequently was inhabited by a mixed multitude of heathens and refugees, objects of peculiar hatred to the Jews*. Hence arose the woman's surprise, that any Jew should ask her even for a draught of water; and from the same cause his own disciples are said to have “ velled that he talked with the woman t.” Jesus, as was his custom, engrafted his instructions upon the circumstances which presented themselves; therefore sitting at this time upon Jacob's well, he introduced the doctrine of salvation under the denomination of “living water I; of which “whosoever drinketh, shall never thirst; but it shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlast
* See chap. viii. 48.
† Ver. 27. I So Isaiah xii. 3. “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” And Jeremiah (xvii. 13.) calls the Lord,“ the fountain of living waters.”
ing life.” We see how naturally the discourse is afterwards led to the mention of the woman's husband, and of those particulars, which convinced her that Jesus was indeed a prophet. From the histories of Rebekah, and of Rachel, we learn that it was usual for women “ to come at the time of evening with their pitcher upon their shoulder to draw water * The apparent candor and goodness of this Samaritan woman should make us slow to admit any unfavorable interpretation of that expression," he, whom thou now hast, is not thy husband.” It is probable she may have been betrothed to a fifth husband, but not yet married; in the same manner as the mother of Jesus is sometimes called the wife of Joseph †, and at another time is more accurately described as only betrothed to him . The number of her husbands is less striking to one who is aware of the
* Gen. xxiv. 11. The same custom is alluded to by Homer, where Hector is anticipating the consequences of his own death, and the dread of having his wife made to submit to the drudgery of a slave. Kai kEv üdwp popeois, &c. Il. vi. 457. In Herodotus we likewise read, φοιταν γαρ αιει τας σφετερας θυγατερας τε και παιδας επ’ υδωρ επι την Εννεακρουνον. Lib. vi. p. 502. He speaks of it only as an ancient custom before the use of domestic servants in Greece. † Matt. i. 19.
1 Ibid. i. 27.
frequency of divorces, not among the Jews only *, but among the Romans, and probably other nations also, at the time of these transactions.
Ver. 20. The woman avails herself of the authority of him, whom she acknowledged as a prophet, to settle a dispute of long standing between the Jews and Samaritans, respecting the proper place of worship t. For it is said that one Manasseh, a levite, having been banished from Jerusalem, more than 400 years before, upon refusing to give up his heathenish wife #, the daughter of Sanballat, governor of Samaria, got his father-in-law to build upon Mount Gerizim a temple similar to that at Jerusalem, and to make him the high priest; whereupon he restored the law of Moses, and the worship of the true God, and Samaria became the refuge of the refractory Jews g. It is observable how Jesus by his reply makes every circumstance a fresh source of edification, gradually withdrawing the woman's view from local
• Matt. v. 31. and xix. 3.
+ Των μεν Ιεροσολυμιτων το παρ' αυτοις ιερον άγιον ειναι λεγοντων, και τας θυσιας εκει πεμπειν αξιουντων των δε ΣαμαριTWV ELS TO Yapıselv opos KENEVOvTwv. Josephus Ant. xii. 1. and again, xiii. 3, 4. I See Ezra, chap. x.
s Prideaux, Conn. P. 1. B. 6.
to spiritual worship, and opening to her the prospect of salvation ; till at length, in all the brightness of truth, he declares himself to be the expected Messiah.
Ver. 31. As Jesus had before conveyed instruction under the figure of water, so did he now under that of food. For his mind was full of the great purpose of his ministry, and he made every incident subservient“ to do the will of him who sent him, and to finish his work.” Presently we find him again drawing from the corn fields other similitudes applicable to the state of the Samaritans, a company of whom may be supposed to be then in sight, ripe for the reception of the Gospel; so that the apostles might gather a harvest of converts among a people, on whom they had bestowed no labor, in whom they had sowed no previous seeds of instruction.
Ver. 44. When we consider Galilee to have been the country of Jesus, it may seem extraordinary that it should be alleged as a reason for his going thither, that “a prophet had no honor in his own country.” The obscurity arises from hence, that the words apply not to the country of Galilee generally ; for we are told that “the Galileans received him ;" but they explain the reason of his