Jesus speaks about the waters of eternal life (Jn 4:14-4:14)

“But those who drink

Of the water

That I will give them

Will never be thirsty.

The water

That I will give

Will become in them

Like a spring of water

Gushing up

To eternal life.”

ὃς δ’ ἂν πίῃ ἐκ τοῦ ὕδατος οὗ ἐγὼ δώσω αὐτῷ, οὐ μὴ διψήσει εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, ἀλλὰ τὸ ὕδωρ ὃ δώσω αὐτῷ γενήσεται ἐν αὐτῷ πηγὴ ὕδατος ἁλλομένου εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον.

John uniquely indicated that Jesus responded with a very difficult theological statement about living water, eternal life, and never being thirsty again.  Jesus said that those who drank (ὃς δ’ ἂν πίῃ) from the water (ἐκ τοῦ ὕδατος) that he was giving them (οὗ ἐγὼ δώσω αὐτῷ) would never thirst again (οὐ μὴ διψήσει) in this time or age (εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα).  However, the water that he was giving them (ἀλλὰ τὸ ὕδωρ ὃ δώσω αὐτῷ) would become in them (γενήσεται ἐν αὐτῷ) a spring of gushing water (πηγὴ ὕδατος ἁλλομένου) leading to abundant eternal life (εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον).  Jesus said that he was not talking about the water at hand, but the bubbly springs of eternal life.  This would have been difficult for this Samaritan woman to understand.  Do you understand the idea of living waters and eternal life?


Still thirsty (Jn 4:13-4:13)

“Jesus said to her.


Who drinks

Of this water

Will be thirsty


ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῇ Πᾶς ὁ πίνων ἐκ τοῦ ὕδατος τούτου διψήσει πάλιν·

John uniquely indicated that Jesus responded (ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς).  He told this Samaritan woman (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῇ) that all the people who drank (Πᾶς ὁ πίνων) from this well water (ἐκ τοῦ ὕδατος τούτου) would still be thirsty again (διψήσει πάλιν).  This might have been a very nice well, but people would still be thirsty after drinking from this Jacob’s well.  Continuous thirst was different than the eternal living waters that Jesus proposed.  Are you thirsty a lot?

Jacob’s well (Jn 4:12-4:12)

“Are you greater

Than our ancestor


He gave us

This well.

With his sons

And his livestock,

He drank from it.”

μὴ σὺ μείζων εἶ τοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν Ἰακώβ, ὃς ἔδωκεν ἡμῖν τὸ φρέαρ, καὶ αὐτὸς ἐξ αὐτοῦ ἔπιεν καὶ οἱ υἱοὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ τὰ θρέμματα αὐτοῦ;

John uniquely indicated that the Samaritan woman asked Jesus whether he was greater than their ancestor father Jacob (μὴ σὺ μείζων εἶ τοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν Ἰακώβ)?  Jacob had given them this well (ὃς ἔδωκεν ἡμῖν τὸ φρέαρ).  He, his sons (καὶ οἱ υἱοὶ αὐτοῦ), and his livestock (καὶ τὰ θρέμματα αὐτοῦ) have drunk from this well (καὶ αὐτὸς ἐξ αὐτοῦ ἔπιεν).  Thus, this well would have been over 1,500 years old, since it came from the time of Jacob, their great ancestor, the father of the 12 tribes and all Israel.  There was no specific mention of this well in Genesis, other than Genesis, chapter 48:22, where Jacob gave this land to Joseph and his sons, without any mention of a well.  Do you have an old artifact in your town?

You have no bucket! (Jn 4:11-4:11)

“The woman

Said to Jesus.


You have

No bucket!

You have

Nothing to draw water.

This well is deep.

Where do you have

This living water?’”

λέγει αὐτῷ [ἡ γυνή] Κύριε, οὔτε ἄντλημα ἔχεις καὶ τὸ φρέαρ ἐστὶν βαθύ· πόθεν οὖν ἔχεις τὸ ὕδωρ τὸ ζῶν;

John uniquely indicated that this Samaritan woman responded to Jesus (λέγει αὐτῷ [ἡ γυνή]).  She called him Lord (Κύριε).  This woman reminded him that he was not well prepared to drink from this well, because he had nothing to get water from the well (οὔτε ἄντλημα ἔχεις), like a bucket.  She reminded Jesus that this well was deep (καὶ τὸ φρέαρ ἐστὶν βαθύ).  Besides, where was he going to get or where did he have (πόθεν οὖν ἔχεις) this living water (τὸ ὕδωρ τὸ ζῶν)?  Like Nicodemus in the preceding chapter, she took Jesus literally and misunderstood about this living water.  Do you often misunderstand Jesus?

Jesus speaks about living water (Jn 4:10-4:10)

“Jesus answered her.

‘If you knew

the gift of God,

Who it is

That is saying to you.

‘Give me a drink,’

You would have asked him.

Then he would have

Given you

Living water.’”

ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῇ Εἰ ᾔδεις τὴν δωρεὰν τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ τίς ἐστιν ὁ λέγων σοι Δός μοι πεῖν, σὺ ἂν ᾔτησας αὐτὸν καὶ ἔδωκεν ἄν σοι ὕδωρ ζῶν.  

John uniquely indicated that Jesus answered (ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς) this Samaritan woman.  He said to her (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῇ) that she did know who he was.  If she knew (Εἰ ᾔδεις) the gift of God, (τὴν δωρεὰν τοῦ Θεοῦ), himself, who had spoken to her (καὶ τίς ἐστιν ὁ λέγων σοι) about the drink of water (Δός μοι πεῖν), there would have been a different response.  She would have asked him (σὺ ἂν ᾔτησας) to give her (καὶ ἔδωκεν ἄν σοι) living water (ὕδωρ ζῶν).  Water was and is the source of life.  Humans would die without something to drink.  There are many metaphors around this concept of water.  Living flowing moving water is a positive force, yet roaring water can be destructive also.  This living water was like wisdom that we never get too much of.  Prophetic texts often spoke about the Spirit coming through flowing water.  Here, Jesus was talking about a spiritual water that later became known as Christian baptism.  Yet there was a little sense of arrogance here since this woman did not recognize Jesus.  Would you recognize Jesus if you met him?

Jews do not share with Samaritans (Jn 4:9-4:9)

“The Samaritan woman

Said to Jesus.

‘How is it that you,

A Jew,

Ask a drink of me,

A woman of Samaria?

Jews do not share things

In common

With Samaritans.’”

λέγει οὖν αὐτῷ ἡ γυνὴ ἡ Σαμαρεῖτις Πῶς σὺ Ἰουδαῖος ὢν παρ’ ἐμοῦ πεῖν αἰτεῖς γυναικὸς Σαμαρείτιδος οὔσης; οὐ γὰρ συνχρῶνται Ἰουδαῖοι Σαμαρείταις.

John uniquely indicated that this unnamed Samaritan woman (ἡ γυνὴ ἡ Σαμαρεῖτις) asked Jesus (λέγει οὖν αὐτῷ) why was he, a Jew (Πῶς σὺ Ἰουδαῖος ὢν), asking for a drink (πεῖν αἰτεῖς) from her (παρ’ ἐμοῦ), a Samaritan woman (γυναικὸς Σαμαρείτιδος οὔσης).  Normally the Jews (Ἰουδαῖοι) did not share things (οὐ γὰρ συνχρῶνται) with Samaritans (Σαμαρείταις).  Jesus seemed to have overstepped Jewish tradition by conversing with a woman in public and sharing a drink with her, since Rabbis did not speak with women in public.  This Samaritan and the Jewish dispute had lasted for almost 1,000 years before this time.  After the death of King Solomon, the Jews of the north formed the Kingdom of Israel under King Jeroboam, while the Jews of the south formed the Kingdom of Judah under King Rehoboam.  This dislike for each other intensified with the Assyrian captivity in the eighth century BCE, when the remaining northern Jews integrated with the captors by marrying them and picking up some of their practices.  Thus, the Jews of southern Judea disliked and scorned the northern Samaritans.  Do you have a group of people that you do not like?

Jesus’ disciples went to buy food (Jn 4:8-4:8)

“Jesus’ disciples

Had gone away

To the city

To buy food.”

οἱ γὰρ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἀπεληλύθεισαν εἰς τὴν πόλιν, ἵνα τροφὰς ἀγοράσωσιν.

John uniquely said that Jesus’ disciples (οἱ γὰρ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ) had gone away (ἀπεληλύθεισαν) into the town or city (εἰς τὴν πόλιν) in order to buy (ἵνα…ἀγοράσωσιν) some food (τροφὰς).  Thus, Jesus was alone with this Samaritan woman.  This also indicated that these disciples had some money to buy food.  Have you ever been alone by yourself?