Gospel of John Bible Study – John 4:1-42

Missing the Point

Read: John 4:1-42

Focus: Have you ever misunderstood something someone said or did and you missed on something as a result?


v.3 Galilee was north of Judea with Samaria in between.

v.4 Actually, it was not necessary for Jesus to go through Samaria.  Jews usually travelled on the road on the east side of the Jordan.  It was necessary from God’s perspective for Jesus to carry out this part of his mission.

v.9 The woman is surprised that Jesus is talking to her because a) he is a man & she is a woman and b) He is a Jew & she is a Samaritan.  Some ancient Jewish literature warns men against talking with woman in public.  The Samaritans were descendants of 2 groups: (1) The remnant of native Israelites who were not deported after the fall of the Northern Kingdom in 722 b.c.; (2) Foreign colonists brought in from Babylonia and Media by the Assyrian conquerors to settle the land with inhabitants who would be loyal to Assyria. There was theological opposition between the Samaritans and the Jews because the former refused to worship in Jerusalem. After the exile the Samaritans put obstacles in the way of the Jewish restoration of Jerusalem, and in the 2nd century b.c. the Samaritans helped the Syrians in their wars against the Jews. In 128 b.c. the Jewish high priest retaliated and burned the Samaritan temple on Mount Gerizim.  Greek – Use nothing in common.   Jews thought that Samaritans were unclean, so if a Jew drank from a container after a Samaritan had used it, the Jew would become unclean.

v. 14 Jesus uses a term which refers to something like an artesian well, literally “a well of water leaping up to eternal life.” By this he is referring to the Holy Spirit. Cf. John 7:38-39

vv.21-24 The Spirit of God is not centered in the Samaritan temple on Mount Gerazim nor in the Jewish temple in Jerusalem.  It is centered in the Word made flesh before Easter and in the community of Jesus after Easter.  True worship only takes place in the realm of the Spirit and is accessible only to those who know where the Spirit is and have been born from above by God’s grace.


  1. Who are the “Samaritans” of today?
  2. Do we sometimes misunderstand something that God says or does? What are some examples?
  3. Jesus says that we must worship in spirit and in truth (v. 24).  What is most important in worship? What is not important in worship?
  4. How does a spring of water welling up to eternal life (v. 14) and doing the will and the work of the One who sent Jesus (v. 34) provide life-giving nourishment to us?


  1. What does worshiping in spirit and in truth look like for you?
  2. What changes do you need to make to become more reliant on God’s water (the Holy Spirit) and God’s food (doing his work in this world)?


Next time: John 4: 43-54

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