John 4* Christ's departure into Galilee. (1-3) His discourse with theSamaritan woman. (4-26) The effects of Christ's conversationwith the woman of Samaria. (27-42) Christ heals the nobleman'sson. (43-54)1-3 Jesus applied himself more to preaching, which was the moreexcellent, #1Co 1:17|, than to baptism. He would put honour uponhis disciples, by employing them to baptize. He teaches us thatthe benefit of sacraments depends not on the hand thatadministers them. 4-26 There was great hatred between the Samaritans and theJews. Christ's road from Judea to Galilee lay through Samaria.We should not go into places of temptation but when we needsmust; and then must not dwell in them, but hasten through them.We have here our Lord Jesus under the common fatigue oftravellers. Thus we see that he was truly a man. Toil came inwith sin; therefore Christ, having made himself a curse for us,submitted to it. Also, he was a poor man, and went all hisjourneys on foot. Being wearied, he sat thus on the well; he hadno couch to rest upon. He sat thus, as people wearied withtravelling sit. Surely, we ought readily to submit to be likethe Son of God in such things as these. Christ asked a woman forwater. She was surprised because he did not show the anger ofhis own nation against the Samaritans. Moderate men of all sidesare men wondered at. Christ took the occasion to teach herDivine things: he converted this woman, by showing her ignoranceand sinfulness, and her need of a Saviour. By this living wateris meant the Spirit. Under this comparison the blessing of theMessiah had been promised in the Old Testament. The graces ofthe Spirit, and his comforts, satisfy the thirsting soul, thatknows its own nature and necessity. What Jesus spakefiguratively, she took literally. Christ shows that the water ofJacob's well yielded a very short satisfaction. Of whateverwaters of comfort we drink, we shall thirst again. But whoeverpartakes of the Spirit of grace, and the comforts of the gospel,shall never want that which will abundantly satisfy his soul.Carnal hearts look no higher than carnal ends. Give it me, saithshe, not that I may have everlasting life, which Christproposed, but that I come not hither to draw. The carnal mind isvery ingenious in shifting off convictions, and keeping themfrom fastening. But how closely our Lord Jesus brings home theconviction to her conscience! He severely reproved her presentstate of life. The woman acknowledged Christ to be a prophet.The power of his word in searching the heart, and convincing theconscience of secret things, is a proof of Divine authority. Itshould cool our contests, to think that the things we arestriving about are passing away. The object of worship willcontinue still the same, God, as a Father; but an end shall beput to all differences about the place of worship. Reasonteaches us to consult decency and convenience in the places ofour worship; but religion gives no preference to one place aboveanother, in respect of holiness and approval with God. The Jewswere certainly in the right. Those who by the Scriptures haveobtained some knowledge of God, know whom they worship. The wordof salvation was of the Jews. It came to other nations throughthem. Christ justly preferred the Jewish worship before theSamaritan, yet here he speaks of the former as soon to be doneaway. God was about to be revealed as the Father of allbelievers in every nation. The spirit or the soul of man, asinfluenced by the Holy Spirit, must worship God, and havecommunion with him. Spiritual affections, as shown in ferventprayers, supplications, and thanksgivings, form the worship ofan upright heart, in which God delights and is glorified. Thewoman was disposed to leave the matter undecided, till thecoming of the Messiah. But Christ told her, I that speak tothee, am He. She was an alien and a hostile Samaritan, merelyspeaking to her was thought to disgrace our Lord Jesus. Yet tothis woman did our Lord reveal himself more fully than as yet hehad done to any of his disciples. No past sins can bar ouracceptance with him, if we humble ourselves before him,believing in him as the Christ, the Saviour of the world. 27-42 The disciples wondered that Christ talked thus with aSamaritan. Yet they knew it was for some good reason, and forsome good end. Thus when particular difficulties occur in theword and providence of God, it is good to satisfy ourselves thatall is well that Jesus Christ says and does. Two things affectedthe woman. The extent of his knowledge. Christ knows all thethoughts, words, and actions, of all the children of men. Andthe power of his word. He told her secret sins with power. Shefastened upon that part of Christ's discourse, many would thinkshe would have been most shy of repeating; but the knowledge ofChrist, into which we are led by conviction of sin, is mostlikely to be sound and saving. They came to him: those who wouldknow Christ, must meet him where he records his name. Our Masterhas left us an example, that we may learn to do the will of Godas he did; with diligence, as those that make a business of it;with delight and pleasure in it. Christ compares his work toharvest-work. The harvest is appointed and looked for before itcomes; so was the gospel. Harvest-time is busy time; all must bethen at work. Harvest-time is a short time, and harvest-workmust be done then, or not at all; so the time of the gospel is aseason, which if once past, cannot be recalled. God sometimesuses very weak and unlikely instruments for beginning andcarrying on a good work. Our Saviour, by teaching one poorwoman, spread knowledge to a whole town. Blessed are those whoare not offended at Christ. Those taught of God, are trulydesirous to learn more. It adds much to the praise of our loveto Christ and his word, if it conquers prejudices. Their faithgrew. In the matter of it: they believed him to be the Saviour,not only of the Jews but of the world. In the certainty of it:we know that this is indeed the Christ. And in the ground of it,for we have heard him ourselves. 43-54 The father was a nobleman, yet the son was sick. Honoursand titles are no security from sickness and death. The greatestmen must go themselves to God, must become beggars. The noblemandid not stop from his request till he prevailed. But at first hediscovered the weakness of his faith in the power of Christ. Itis hard to persuade ourselves that distance of time and place,are no hinderance to the knowledge, mercy, and power of our LordJesus. Christ gave an answer of peace. Christ's saying that thesoul lives, makes it alive. The father went his way, whichshowed the sincerity of his faith. Being satisfied, he did nothurry home that night, but returned as one easy in his own mind.His servants met him with the news of the child's recovery. Goodnews will meet those that hope in God's word. Diligent comparingthe works of Jesus with his word, will confirm our faith. Andthe bringing the cure to the family brought salvation to it.Thus an experience of the power of one word of Christ, maysettle the authority of Christ in the soul. The whole familybelieved likewise. The miracle made Jesus dear to them. Theknowledge of Christ still spreads through families, and men findhealth and salvation to their souls.
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