Book of John Bible Study Book 3 Week 8

The Word One to One Book 3 pages 3-13

John 4:1-18

Download book 3 here

March 1-7, 2020

Information on this study is here

It’s week 8, and we are moving to the next book!

This week Jesus puts the kibosh on cultural stigmas and prejudices in His life changing encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. (More next week!)

How has God spoken to you through these verses?

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Greetings to all!! I loved this chapter! I’d love to share and hear your thoughts!! I found that the contrast between Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman to be very encouraging and exciting. While Nicodemus was a religious man, full of his own righteousness, he nevertheless came to Jesus. Isn’t it beautiful that Jesus didn’t turn him away!! He offered the answer to this very religious person in a way that he could receive and understand. With the Samaritan Christ’s mission did not change. He called to her and offered her eternal life in a manner that spoke to her.

These two people remind me that God is no respecter of persons. He desires that all come to Him and be saved. It reminds me of when Paul said that he becomes all things to all people so that he might reach some. Jesus is our example. Are we able to speak to others in their voice? or do our prejudices get in the way? I’ve experienced those who “hate” the religious yet are kind and compassionate to those seeped in sin. And visa versa. But Jesus called to both. He told them what they needed to hear in order to draw them to repentance and salvation. This message tells me that He longs for the religious to know of their need and for the sinner to know of His value and love for them. What an awesome God!

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I liked the contrast discussion too! Jesus demonstrates His knowledge of the individual and His ability to meet the need of the individual. He informs the woman at the well that He knows everything about her, and then proceeds to offer her the choice of salvation and relationship in the Spirit.

In one sentence in John 4:10, He sums up the gospel.

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

  1. It is a gift (if you knew the gift of God)
  2. It is through Jesus (you would ask the one who is here for it)
  3. It is available for those who ask (you would have asked…)
  4. It is gladly given (he would give it to the requester)
  5. living water is the gift (His Spirit necessary for eternal life, unlike that temporary stuff that only satisfies for the moment.)

Just like any gift, it must be received. Like a beautifully wrapped present that comes in the door and is set on the table. The one offered the gift has the option to open it and benefit from it, or reject it. But rejecting the gift doesn’t make it less beautiful or real. The choice is on the part of the recipient.

There are many times when I encounter someone who may not know Him, and I don’t allow Him to work through me because I’m not giving Him the lead. His intimate knowledge of everyone in creation is beyond comprehensible, and yet He offers relationship through love. I should be excited to let Him speak through me as He knows the needs of the person I stand with!

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Hey you guys, please wait for me! Can I ask/say something as I see that you have already posted next week’s lesson, April? I just got back from out of town. I’ll try and ask.

I understand the spiritual connotation to the water being eternal. Yet, a question that I have is; Why do we often still feel thirsty? I understand if I would be engaged in a known sin but when I have Jesus inside, He tells us that we will never be thirsty again and I can often be dry and thirsty.

There is another question that I have. Jesus discerned her relational life. He gets this whole ball rolling by asking her to bring her husband. I’m asking this, almost sounding like a “How to?” book, but how do we hear more clearly from the Holy Spirit as to be discerning in engaging people to discuss right at the area that is meaningful to them? As Kelly says, Jesus speaks aptly to Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman. He doesn’t tell Nicodemus to come back with his wife! It wouldn’t be appropriate but how can we get our ears close to the ground as to hear the Holy Spirit when we have these spontaneous discussions?

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Hey Tim,
Feel free to keep the discussion going! Glad you’re back, and I pray your trip brought benefit.

I understand the spiritual connotation to the water being eternal. Yet, a question that I have is; Why do we often still feel thirsty?

How do we hear more clearly from the Holy Spirit as to be discerning in engaging people to discuss right at the area that is meaningful to them?

Great questions! I’d love to hear feedback from others!

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Anyone want to respond so I can wet my whistle? I’m parched more than I’d like to admit!

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So when you ask

Why do we often still feel thirsty?

What type of thirst do you think we deal with most?

As a Christian I want to have discernment given by the Spirit to identify my source of thirst.
Am I getting too caught up in worldly encouragements or remedies?

Is my trust in the Lord to provide for my inmost needs floundering because my eyes are on physical or emotional baggage?

He gives us so many opportunities to work out our faith muscles in times of trial which as Paul reminds us in Romans 5:1-5.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

The Living Water produces a profound contentment, but it doesn’t mean everything will be easy or we won’t need to always rely on that never ending flow. I’ve had 4 friends battle cancer in the last couple of years. Two have been terminal and two have seen healing. One of these sweet friends who is terminal expresses her contentment and trust of the Lord in her every encounter. (My other friend who was terminal has gone to be with the Lord, and she was amazing…)

Satisfaction in Jesus overwhelms everything going on around and inside these believers. It is a kind of satisfaction that cannot be taken away nor understood by someone who doesn’t know the Lord.

In your other question:

How do we hear more clearly from the Holy Spirit as to be discerning in engaging people to discuss right at the area that is meaningful to them?

I can only speak for myself. I’ve had some tough encounters of various kinds (believers, atheists, agnostics, etc.) And that’s when the trust comes in. And the best ways to engage always come from Him, and it will likely be different with each unique and individual person. I know the HS will grant me His counsel when I ask Him. So when I’m having a conversation I employ that trust in Him to give me words.

I also pray to the Lord and listen to the person at the same time (this is when I know it’s only God at work because this would be impossible for me in my own power!)

That trust also has to be present after the fact. That I believe I operated in the power of the Holy Spirit and even if it didn’t seem “productive” or extraordinary in some way (in my limited ability to measure those things) I know the Lord knows all, and I trust He accomplished what He intended through my act of obedience.

Conversely, I was just telling my 6th graders yesterday that some of my biggest failings often comes in my silence. Clamping my mouth and denying the HS opportunity. Silence is so easy when you’re relying on yourself.

Is this what you’re talking about, Tim? (Now that I’ve gone on for so long, I ask :roll_eyes:)

I hope others will share insights on your questions too!

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I’ve had a crazy couple of weeks so am running behind too, Tim, but you know, when I read your heartfelt question, immediately this verse from Paul’s letters to the Romans came to mind: Romans 8:22-24 New International Version (NIV)

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?

I think “groaning” and “thirsting” are comparable in that they are states of longing. I think we will continue to groan and to thirst until the full reality of God’s plan is brought to bear upon the earth and its creatures. We’re still only halfway home. That’s just my sense of things. I am not making any claims as to accuracy. :slight_smile:

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” ~ C.S. Lewis

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If you thought you were late, Tim and tdw, here I come 4 months later! :slightly_smiling_face:

Another thread just recently took up the description of Jesus as “gentle and lowly.” I think John 4 shows Jesus very much in this light. He could ask questions of the religious educated elite that stymied them, even as a 12 year old, so he and Nicodemous could discuss things on the “academic level,” but here Jesus comes and starts the conversation with this somewhat ostracised woman by asking her for help! That was putting himself in a situation of relative weakness at the same time has he suprised her by “condescending” (as she could have felt it, but obviously didn’t) to speak to her - a Samaritan and a woman. He didn’t sneer or ridicule her for her additional questions and religious ideas, nor was his tone condemnatory when he said she had had 5 husbands. None of this was cause for withdrawing his offer to give her living water.

Perhaps it’s a bit like Jesus explaining to Peter about washing his feet, when in answering his question, he said - “you don’t need a bath or a shower because you are already clean, but still need to wash your feet.” We have the living water - its source is now within us, in the Holy Spirit. We don’t have to continue the search for it; we just find it such good-tasting water, that we want more and more. It is the wanting that is different.

This is a question that has been with me a long time. Thus far, I am one of those people who don’t think Jesus on earth automatically knew everything about everyone he met simply “because he was fully God.” It seems to me that if He expects us to be able to do works “greater than his” he must have lived within the same limitations that we do, but without sin. This leads me to a two-part conclusion: at one level, Jesus was very observant. He paid close attention to the people he was among. This woman had lived with 5 men, and I imagine all of them had given her distinguishable jewellry - rings and/or bracelets or whatever, which he could not have failed to notice. At another level, He listened to the Holy Spirit. It was probably at the Spirit’s prompting that Jesus stopped at the well in the first place, while the disciples went into town to get food. If we consider Philip’s meeting with the Ethiopian, and Peter’s with Cornelius, and Ananias with Saul/Paul, what we see is that the Spirit has been working in both the believers’ and the “receivers’” hearts.

The pattern that I believe we should most often follow (and I’m not very good at holding to it) is that we must be listeners before we are preachers - listening to both the one we are interacting with, and to the Holy Spirit. Jesus started with a polite question and piqued this woman’s curiosity, then used her use of the word “water” to introduce an idea that resonated with an inner longing (to be rid of this onerous trip to the well - but also a deeper equivalent) … and so things happened. But Jesus also told his disciplines “I only do what the Father tells me to; I only say what He tells me to say. They do not originate with me.” (another example of Jesus’ lowliness).

So in this I am in complete agreement with April.

But I have other questions: the first couple of verses suggest that Jesus left Judea because he learned that the Pharisees had heard that he (though not he personally) was baptising more disciples than John. Why was this a reason to leave? If it’s not significant why did John write it? What is the significance in specificially emphasizing that it was not actually Jesus doing the baptising?

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Hello @Mohembo!

While I agree that Jesus limited Himself in some ways when He was physically present on earth, I would also say that Jesus had greater than human knowledge of people. But He was always demonstrating how we should interact and engage with others be they hostile or friend.

The examples that comes to mind of His extra knowledge comes from the scripture that tell us Jesus knew what people were thinking which goes a bit beyond ordinary experience. I think His ability to know was something used regularly in His ministry to draw people to Himself including here with the Samaritan woman. He knew the deep and hidden things, and still extended compassion and salvation.

Matthew 9:2-4
Matthew 12:24-26

He also acknowledged the Samaritan woman currently lived with a man who is not her husband. That’s pretty far reaching!

It is mind blowing to consider how Jesus was fully man and fully God, and I don’t expect to completely understand the full gravity of it in this life. Mind reading is definitely a God attribute that is not credited to mortals. I could be wrong, but have you read anywhere in the Bible when a person was given credit for reading minds?

I think Jesus’s first encounter with Nathanael was another example of this. Jesus’s knowledge of Nathanael before He has met him sparks belief.

I would say Jesus’s divinity as expressed while He was on earth is an essential aspect of His identity.

You picked up on an interesting detail when you said:

But I have other questions: the first couple of verses suggest that Jesus left Judea because he learned that the Pharisees had heard that he (though not he personally) was baptising more disciples than John. Why was this a reason to leave? If it’s not significant why did John write it? What is the significance in specificially emphasizing that it was not actually Jesus doing the baptising?

This is one of those discussions where I wish we studied not just one Gospel, but all the parallels in scripture so we can get a rounded view.
Matthew 4:12 says:

When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee.

This time in John’s gospel could be hitting upon the period when John the Baptist (JTB) was releasing his ministry to Jesus (as we know this was the plan when JTB says,
"He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:30) And of course we know JTB was consequently executed in prison as a party favor.

The Pharisee were constantly trolling Jesus and Jesus would have to carefully orchestrate His presence in certain places to keep things moving in God’s timing.

It’s just my opinion, but the mention that Jesus wasn’t actually doing the baptisms is an indicator that Jesus was training and preparing his followers for ministry to the world.
JTB gives a statement to the differences in baptisms planned for believers:

"I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus commands us to baptize with water as part of the great commission. But He baptizes the disciples with the Holy Spirit after His resurrection:

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. John 20:21-22

So much going on here, isn’t there?! I am reminded of how we can spend a lifetime studying the Bible! It is a most extraordinary book of history, culture, theology, prophesy, doctrine, and truth that leads to salvation. :balloon: :tada:

With all due respect, there is no mention of water in Matthew 28: 19-20. John did not baptise in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And you are absolutely right - there is a clear distinction between John’s baptism and Jesus’. Why would Jesus send out his disciples to baptise with John’s bapitism “with water?” And personally, I see a link between JtB’s statement of the difference between their baptisms, and the fact that Jesus himself personally did not baptise with water. Remember, that several of Jesus’ disciples had previously been John’s, and probably some of the others had also been baptised by John. Jesus himself called John the greatest prophet ever - though we would say Jesus is greater. The time had not yet come for Jesus’ baptism to be manifested - he let his disciples baptise, just as he did not desist from keeping the Jewish festivals and temple worship, though he told the Samaritan woman that the time was soon coming when it would no longer be either necessary or appropriate. In Acts, the apostles baptised new converts in the name of the Lord Jesus - not the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit! (Acts 2:38; 8:12; 10:48; 19:5; Note also Acts 22:16; Romans 6:3; Gal.3;27) I also suspect that on Pentecost, the disciples did not understand that what happened to them was the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They “were filled” with the Spirit; (vs 4) Peter connected this to the prophecy that God “would pour out his Spirit on all people” (vs 17); and they promised that those who believed and were baptised - in the name of Jesus Christ - “for the forgiveness of sins” (what John the Baptist preached) would received the “gift of the Spirit” (vs 38). I suspect that the understanding of baptism in the Spirit (and with fire) came later and with a lot of reflection. Of course I could be wrong, and this is a diversion from John 4.

Absolutely! And more digging only adds more questions. :pensive:

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@Mohembo Thank you for your thoughtful dialog!

You said:

With all due respect, there is no mention of water in Matthew 28: 19-20.

True, but how would you say the church has received this commission?

If we discuss two forms of baptism one being by water and one being in Spirit. Which of those would we, as humans, be able to perform?

Maybe we could consider the reasons behind each baptism. Since we know scripture is clear that we are not saved by any good we do:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Baptism by water is not a saving action, but a public declaration of belonging to Christ and agreeing with His Kingship and salvation. It is an act of obedience and admission. It expresses our death to old self and our being raised in the likeness of Christ to new life as He was raised from the dead after conquering sin.

John did not baptise in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps, but we know from scripture that the Trinity was present at Jesus’s baptism.

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17

So we have the Son (Jesus), the Spirit (Dove) and the Father (Voice from Heaven).

Jesus was baptized by John in water not because He needed to repent, but to express obedience to the Father, and model obedience for us. It also took place near the very beginning of His ministry.

I think it’s extraordinary that Jesus left baptism by water to His disciples, apostles, followers (however you want to refer to them).

Can you imagine what it would be like if He had insisted on baptizing everyone and then He ascended to Heaven? We’d all be in a brawl of who can offer legitimate baptism.

Instead He multiplied His message by giving his disciples and members of the NT church permission and anointing to go out to the world.

To me it’s helpful to keep in mind that JTB was considered the last “Old Testament” prophet. He was preaching and baptizing of the One to come.

For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. Matthew 11:13-14

Jesus’s death and resurrection was the launch of modern day Christianity that looks back on His finished work.

You wrote:

In Acts, the apostles baptised new converts in the name of the Lord Jesus - not the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit! (Acts 2:38; 8:12; 10:48; 19:5; Note also Acts 22:16; Romans 6:3; Gal.3;27)

It’s interesting in the Acts 19:1-10 passage, the men say they had received JTB’s baptism (19:3). So they were operating in the way of the Old Testament message of what was to come. Paul helps them understand the finished work of Christ, and they receive that baptism.

I think in keeping with the New Testament church, as it was in its infant stage, these are expressions that they were baptized as commanded by and through Jesus rather than JTB’s baptism. I don’t think it’s that they didn’t obey the Great Commission.

You wrote:

I also suspect that on Pentecost, the disciples did not understand that what happened to them was the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

It is possible, but Jesus does give pretty clear instructions to expect the Holy Spirit in Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5,7-8. And there was a rather dramatic entry of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is where the inner person is transformed. Baptism by the Spirit is an essential saving action by God because we have invited and received Him to dwell in our very being. I love the promise in Ephesians, that the Holy Spirit marks us and seals us as an eternal promise!

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13-14

Thanks April, for your additional clarifications. This really became a bigger diversion from John 4 than I expected. But whatever… just a few more thoughts … or maybe alternative perspectives…

I don’t disagree, but would add, that he was identifying himself with sinners - a central theme of his entire life and death. In additon his baptism (unnecessary for his own sin) was a prophecy of his own death and resurrection - specifically in identification with us, being made sin for us.

I would suggest that it was in fact the “kick-off” for his ministry. He did no miracles before the Holy Spirit descended upon him at his baptism. It was his special annointment and affirmation. That said, I believe his entire upbringing and life up to this point was essential preparation for that ministry.

Yes, this passage shows that there definitely was a distinction between John’s baptism and Jesus. As far as I know we have no record of any formulation that John used when baptising. He baptised for the forgiveness of sins, and he told those who came that there would come another, greater person with a baptism of the Spirit. These people in Ephesus had been waiting for information about this greater person, and did not hesitate to be baptised “in the name of the Lord Jesus” when they were informed.

That seems to be a leading question expecting the answer “water baptism.” But in the same passage that you quote (Acts 19), after the men are baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus, Paul lays his hands on them and the Holy Spirit came on them. And the effect was very evident. Have you ever been present at a baptism when this was done - i.e. the laying of hands on the one who has been baptised? Why is this not done as a common thing today - it seems to be a very clear description in the early church of how a baptism was performed. Perhaps you or others can explain this for me … it is one more of things that puzzle me.

Yes, from one point of view. From another point of view it is extraordinary that John (the author) explicitly tells us that Jesus did not himself baptise - at least at this period of his ministry. We don’t hear of him or his disciples baptising later on - or am I wrong on that?

Our salvation, from beginning to end, is a work of God. Without his drawing us, we would not even think of him, without his making us aware that there is a righteous way we would not consider the possibility, we are convicted by the Holy Spirit of sin and of judgement, we are shown Jesus as our saviour, we are given faith to believe, we are given hope and life by him, we are sealed by the Spirit, we are kept by the Spirit, we are transformed in our mind by him… and so on. The words and expressions we use for different aspects of his work can get in the way - sometimes we would like a neat, consistent and predicatable pattern of development, into which we can fit “baptism of the Spirit,” “filling of the Spirit,” “moved by the Spirit,” his transforming work, his convicting work, etc. etc. all as distinct phases or moments in our lives. Is this really the way it happens, does it always happen in the same order and same manner? I suspect not. The spirit comes and goes as he pleases, where he comes from and where he goes we don’t know. He is the ultimate “free spirit” and quite outside of our control. Thank God for that! :laughing:

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that he was identifying himself with sinners - a central theme of his entire life and death. In additon his baptism (unnecessary for his own sin) was a prophecy of his own death and resurrection - specifically in identification with us, being made sin for us.

Agreed! Just as Paul writes:

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Romans 6:3-4

You asked:

We don’t hear of him or his disciples baptising later on - or am I wrong on that?

Philip comes to mind in Acts 8:

But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. (vs.12)

(And this is an occasion, as you observed, the Holy Spirit is received after water baptism for some as outward expression came before inward filling. There are examples of reception both before and after in scripture.)

Then there is the water baptism of Ethiopian again by Philip further in the same chapter:

As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.

Peter initiates water baptism at Cornelius’s house in Acts 10:

Then Peter said, “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

And you are correct, we’ve taken a diversion off the main topic of John 4! :rofl:
Thanks for the great convo!

Sorry April, I was thinking specifically of them practising baptism after John 4 and before Christ’s crucifixion.

The disciples definitely baptised after pentecost - as in all the references I mentioned. No argument there.
:slightly_smiling_face: