Truth from John 4: The Pithy Essence of Profound Lessons

Lesson 1 – Concerning the Wall

It was by Jacob’s well, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to Joseph, the son of his love. Our minds leap to Jacob’s prophecy concerning Joseph, “Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall” (Genesis 49:22). In John 4 we see the branches going over the wall that had previously separated the Jews from the rest of the world. “He left Judea and departed again into Galilee!” The break with Israel was taking place; He had come unto His own things and His own people had not received Him (John 1:11, RV mg.). Lesson One tells us that the wall has been broken down, not by Joseph, but by another beloved Son, Who was indeed a fruitful bough by a well.

Lesson 2 – Concerning the Water

The weary Servant, sitting on Jacob’s well, had requested a drink from the well from the woman of Samaria. He introduced to her the truth of the Living Water of which He was the dispenser. Study carefully the tenses the Savior uses in 4:13-14. Jesus answered and said unto her, “Every one that drinketh of this water shall thirst again; but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up unto eternal life” (RV). The first “drinketh” is a present participle indicating an action that is habitual; the second “drinketh” is a definite aorist tense, expressing a single act – something done once for all. The first is a motion picture; the second is a snapshot! The Savior promised that one drink of that which He offered, in contrast to what she had come to the well to obtain, would forever satisfy her thirst!

Lesson 3 – Concerning Worship

“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth … God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (4:23-24 RV). Our text tells us of the priority of worship.”The Father seeketh such to worship Him.” Worship is the occupation of the heart with God, not an occupation with our needs or with our blessings.

Our text tells us also of the place of worship. It is no longer associated with Jerusalem! The ritual of the Old Covenant has been set aside. John 4 teaches us the principles of worship. The worship of this new covenant is not in the rituals of the old; it is instead in spirit and in truth. There is a power to worship and the worship is based on the precepts of the Word. Darby’s translation of Philippians 3:3 is, “For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God, and boast in Christ Jesus, and do not trust in flesh.” Worship is not connected with Jerusalem but it is connected with salvation, the Spirit of God, and the Scriptures!

Lesson 4 – Concerning God’s Will

Jesus told them, “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me and to finish His work” (4:34). We have just learned of that which would forever satisfy the thirst of the Samaritan woman. Our text tells us of that which sustained and satisfied the Savior of the World. Later He said, “I seek not Mine own will but the will of the Father Which hath sent Me” (5:30). Again, He said, “I do always those things that please Him.” We found Him in the beginning of our chapter wearied with His journey and sitting on the well. Do we know what it is to labor to the point of weariness in the will of the Father? Are we, like the woman, satisfied by water? Are we, like Him, satisfied by the Father’s will?

Lesson 5 – Concerning the World

“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 harvest” (4:35). In the upper room the Lord Jesus said, “Because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (15:19). The world is there seen as a foe.

James warns that the world can be seen as a friend and says, “Ye adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?” (James 4:4 RV). But, by contrast, in our text, the world is looked upon not as a foe or as a friend but as a field. The Lord had just shown His disciples the value that He placed on the soul of the Samaritan woman. He went out of His way to reach her. Earlier He had instructed His disciples that because the harvest truly is plenteous, they were to pray that the Lord of the Harvest would send forth laborers into the harvest. What is your view of the world?

Lesson 6 – Concerning Wages

Consider the words of the Savior of the World: “He that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto eternal life: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.” There is always reward for service in work for the Master.

In the parable of the talents, all were rewarded except for the one who took his one talent and hid his lord’s money. The psalmist knew the reality of this when he wrote, “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:5-6).We need to ask if we are truly living with a view to the eternal reward.