Studies in the Gospel According to John* By R. A. TORREY (These Studies are for careful study, not rapid and heedless reading)
II. The Public Ministry of Jesus Leading Those Who Were of the Truth to Believe in Him as the Christ, the Son of God. Ch. 1:19— 12:50 (continued).
9. The Lord Jesus’ testimony to the Woman of Samaria that He was the Christ, and the W o man’s testimony, He “ told me all things that ever I did,” (ch. 4:1-39, continued). V. 9. “ Then saith the woman of Samaria (rather, So the woman, the Samaritan, saith) unto Him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria (rather, who am a woman, a Samari tan) ? for the (omit, the) Jews have no dealings with the (omit, the) Samaritans This woman displayed a mean spirit. If she had had any generosity of spirit at all, she would have given a thirsty stranger a drink without inquiring how he being a Jew could ask drink of her, a »Samaritan. However, it was natural that she should be startled by the request, for the Jews of the day considered any contact with the Samaritans defiling. Two things sur prised her: First, that this Jew should ask drink of a woman (cf. v. 27 R. V .), and still more that He should ask of a Samaritan woman. The form of words translated in this verse in the Authorized Version, “ the woman o f Samaria” is entirely different from that so translated in verse 7. The form here used emphasizes her character as implied by her national descent and not merely by her local habitation. Re sentment on her part toward any Jew was quite natural, as the Samaritans were annually anathematized in all the Jewish synagogues, their testimony not taken in Jewish courts, the Jews
prayed that Samaritans might have no share in the resurrection and it was taught that entertaining Samaritans- was laying up judgment for one’s chil dren. It is said “ that the Samaritan who touched a Jew washed off the pollution with all speed.” So there may have been even a touch of com tempt in the woman’s reply. Tristram tells how in modern days, “ On asking a drink from a woman (near this very place) who was filling her pitcher, we were angrily and churlishly refused: ‘The Christian dogs might get it for themselves’.” The last clause of the verse is John’s explanation of the woman’s remark. V. 10. “Jesus answered and said unto her, I f thou knewest (rather, hadst known) the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou zvoulds't have asked of him, and h e , would have given thee living water.” There is wonderful grace and won derful tact in this answer of our Lord Jesus. It is not a direct answer to the woman’s question; it went far deeper. The woman had sought an explanation of thè marvel that a Jew should ask a favor of a Samaritan woman, but probably she herself had dimly guessed that there was some deeper meaning lying back of it all. This deeper mean ing our Lord begins to unfold. If she had known the gift of God and who the One really was who had asked her to give Him a drink, all controversies between Samaritah and Jew would have lost interest for her, and she would have sought the gift of gifts
♦Copyright, by R. A. Torrey, 1914.
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