John 4How the Pharisees had heard, &c.; and were consequently beginning to manifest feelings of envy and opposition.
Into Galilee; as a place of greater retirement and safety.
Samaria; a country lying between Judea and Galilee.
Jacob's well. This well is not mentioned in the Old Testament, but its memory has been preserved from the time of our Savior to the present day. It in an object of great interest to travellers in Palestine. It is near the foot of Mount Gerizim, on the great road from Jerusalem to Galilee. The city of Sychar, called, in the Old Testament, Shechem, afterwards, by the Romans, Neapolis, and now Nabulus, lies about half an hour's walk from the well, by a road passing westerly up a narrow valley between Gerizim and Ebal. At the foot of the mountain, east of the well, there extends, for miles, a very fertile plain, whose harvests may have suggested the image in v. 35. The lower part of the well is excavated in the solid rock, the mouth being covered with a vaulted chamber solid masonry. Some hundred years after Christ, as if fearing that the place might be forgotten, the Christians built a monumental church over the spot, to perpetuate its memory. The church has long since crumbled away and disappeared; but the simple subterranean architecture, which it was intended to commemorate, remains apparently unchanged.—Thus; therefore, on that account.—The sixth hour; noon.
Meat; food,—intending to eat it at the well in the open air.
No dealings; no friendly dealings, of the nature of social intercourse. There was a bitter religious controversy between them, as specified in v. 20.
The gift of God; which she was then receiving; that is, the favor bestowed upon her in granting her this interview.
A well of water springing up, &c.; that is, a fountain of perpetual life, peace, and happiness.
Her faith rested on somewhat insufficient grounds,—as there are many modes by which a stranger might have become accidentally acquainted with the circumstances of her life. It is important that we should believe not only right, but for right reasons.
In this mountain; Mount Gerizim. It is interesting, though melancholy, to see how entirely all the great spiritualities of religion are thrown out of her view, by the prominence of this question of her sect,—mere question of ritual.—To worship; referring to public national worship.
Lift up your eyes, &c.; that is, survey the moral and spiritual condition of the world, the image being drawn, perhaps, from the appearance of the fertile plain, spread out before them.
Other men, labored, &c.; the Prophet and other religious teachers of the Jews, whose instructions might be considered as preparatory to the publication of the gospel of Christ.
In the suburbs of Nabulus, at the foot of Gerizim, travellers still find a small remnant of the Samaritans, adhering, as tenaciously as ever to the tenets and customs of their fathers. They retain their ancient copies of the Pentateuch, their synagogue, and their priests; and they continue to ascend, four times a year, in solemn processions, to offer sacrifices among the sacred ruins upon the summit of the mountain.
In his own country. Nazareth was the home of Joseph and Mary; and it was to another part of Galilee, as it appears, that he returned at this time.
Unto him; that is, he came up from Capernaum to Cana.
Going down; to Capernaum, his residence, which was upon the shore of the lake.
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