Craig S. Keener
The Response of the Unorthodox. 4:1–54
THE BULK OF THIS SECTION, which actually continues the general thought of 3:1–36, revolves around a sinful Samaritan woman and her response to Jesus. If the initial faith of the best representative from the Judean elite appears ambiguous (3:1–10), the faith of the socially worst representative from an unorthodox and ethnically mixed sect appears far more positive, even allowing her to bring her people as a whole to Jesus (4:39–42; cf. 1:46). She is one of those who believe, not one on whom God's wrath remains (3:36); but those who exalt themselves will be brought low (3:30–31), and most, like Nicodemus initially, do not receive Jesus' witness (3:32).
Yet Christ is available even to the elite. If we place John the Baptist in the special category of witness,5206 the context surrounding his witness (3:22–36) in fact alternates between the socially powerful and the weak, providing positive and ambiguous or negative examples of each: Nicodemus (elite, open but uncomprehending), a Samaritan woman (receptive), an official of Antipas (receptive), and a lame man (unfaithful). Only Nicodemus, however, is part of the Judean religious elite, for the royal official could be viewed as unorthodox.
This section also includes a much briefer healing miracle with no accompanying discourse (4:46–54). The royal official here represents part of a Galilean economic elite, but like many other Herodian aristocrats would have been religiously impure by Pharisaic standards. Through him the Gospel writer illustrates various levels of faith.
True Worshipers in Samaria (4:1–42)
This extended narrative contrasts starkly with the Nicodemus narrative.5207 There a religious teacher in Israel proved unable to understand Jesus' message (3:10); here a sinful Samaritan woman not only received the message (though starting with no less daunting social obstacles–cf. πώς in 3:4, 9 and 4:9; perhaps πόθεν in 4:11), but brought it to her entire Samaritan town (4:28–29, 39–42). Here, as often, John employs ironic contrasts among characters to convey his emphases.5208 (That the Samaritan woman, in contrast to Nicodemus, is unnamed is probably not as significant. As a woman, her name was less likely to be recorded in John's tradition;5209 further, most characters in the context are unnamed, and perhaps their names had not been preserved–2:1; 4:46; 5:5; 7:3; 9:1.
Nicodemus, by contrast, had to be named because he recurs in 7and 19:39.) The contrast between Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman (as well as some other characters) would frustrate a normal ancient Jewish reader's expectations (although John s own original audience already мая be predisposed to suspect that the Judean elite is more hostile); in matters of ministry as well as Christology, one dare not judge by outward appearance (7:24). Because Nicodemus eventually believes (19:39), this text illustrates the wide spectrum of believers in Jesus.5210
Other, more subtle narrative connections are also possible, like the comparison with Jesus' crucifixion scene, the epitome of his rejection by his own people in contrast to the positive Samaritan reception.5211
1. Theological Themes in the Narrative
Jesus crosses at least three significant barriers in the story: the socioethnic barrier of centuries of Jewish-Samaritan prejudice; the gender barrier; and a moral barrier imposed by this woman's assumed behavior. The heart of the story appears in 4:23–24: the Father has been seeking true worshipers who will worship him in Spirit and truth, and that was why the Father sent Jesus (4:4) to this particular woman. Outward markers, which John's religious contemporaries would contemplate, such as her gender, religious tradition and ethnicity, and past moral activity, prove irrelevant in revealing the sort of person God seeks to worship him. Indeed, whereas Jesus sought Philip (1:43), he did not seek out members of the religious elite; even open-minded Nicodemus had to come to Jesus (3:2); but Jesus went to great lengths and took serious risks to reach the Samaritan woman.5212
All of these barriers appear individually in other Gospel traditions. Thus Jesus ministers to Samaritans in Luke (10:33; 17:16–19),5213 and Gentiles appear at notorious points in Mark (7:26–29) and Q (Matt 8:5–13; Luke 7:1–10); the later church found these few traditions particularly usefu1. Still more clearly, women appear in prominent roles in the gospel tradition,5214 with an undoubtedly historical core.5215 Although later Christians like Paul seem to have moderated this emphasis for apologetic reasons, many of these traditions, distinctly progressive by ancient Mediterranean standards, remained.5216 Jesus' banquets with sinners, as well as complaints of the pious against this practice, are also significant in the tradition and undoubtedly reflect a historical nucleus.5217 Mark's account of the Syro-Phoenician woman combines two of these issues,5218 but John's account of the sinful Samaritan woman underlines three of these issues latent in the Jesus tradition.
This passage also evokes rich biblical imagery and themes. Allusions to the cross-gender well scenes of Gen 24, and secondarily to Gen 29 and Exod 2, are difficult to miss.5219 That Jesus meets the woman at «Jacob's well» (4:6) plainly alludes to a different well in Mesopotamia where Jacob met the future matriarch Rachel and provided water for her (Gen 29:10),5220 as Jesus provides this Samaritan woman living water. But this Jacob scene in Gen 29 recapitulates in some measure the scene in Gen 24, in which Abraham's steward finds a wife for Isaac. Thus we find several formal parallels with Gen 24, where a man who is journeying meets a woman in her homeland when she comes for water; after she runs home, others who know her (Gen 24:28–29; John 4:30) come out to meet him and invite him to stay (Gen 24:30–32; John 4:40).5221 Further, she went to the fountain and filled her pitcher (Gen 24:16); the man asked her for a drink (Gen 24:17); like Jesus, the steward refused to eat until his mission was accomplished (Gen 24:33; John 4:31–34). The passages also have a number of words in common, largely due to the overlap of topics (γυνή; πηγή; εκπορεύομαι; άντλήσαι; ύδωρ; υδρία; μένειν).5222 The allusion to the finding of matriarchs for Israel мая invite the reader to contemplate the ultimate identity of this Samaritan woman whom God is seeking, not on the basis of her past but on the basis of God's calling: she will become foundational to a new community of faith and obedience (4:39).
Another allusion lies close at hand, although it is less prominent. Exod 2, where Moses comes to a well, patterns the story of Moses after those of Abraham's steward and Jacob; thus, for example, Moses and Jacob both perform exploits of physical prowess on behalf of the woman or women coming to draw water for their flocks.5223 Moses, like Jesus in this passage, sits down at a well, exhausted from his travel (Exod 2:15; John 4:6).5224 Josephus мая reflect an earlier Jewish tradition when he indicates that the time at which Moses sat on the well in Midian was «noon» (Josephus Ant. 2.257).5225
With these allusions in mind, we мая suggest that Jesus here supersedes two biblical heroes. First, he is in fact «greater than» their «father Jacob,» precisely in contrast to the woman's expectation (4:12; cf. 8:53).5226 He, as Jacob's ladder (1:50–51), grants the salvation that mere descent from Jacob could not ensure. As the foundation stone of the new temple and the well in the wilderness, Jesus provides living water for a sinful Samaritan woman, who becomes a representative disciple.
2. Historical Questions
The historical question мая be interesting, but inadequate sources remain to test it directly. Brown proposes a hypothetical redaction history behind this section of the Gospel, in which the original Johannine disciples with a low Christology (evident in John 1) encounter those with a higher Christology (evident in John 2–3), yielding a reconciled Johannine community of disciples and «Samaritans» in ch. 4.5227 Unfortunately, despite Browns brilliant scholarship in most matters, such a reconstruction is wholly speculative and equally without merit; on what grounds should we think that the layers of redaction happened to be preserved in sequence, as if the Gospel stories grew organically with the community?5228
Nevertheless, the story does reveal details about Samaritan life and geography that would be neither widely known nor of concern to a Diaspora audience, and probably of little concern to a Galilean one. This мая suggest a historical core.5229 Further, the barriers Jesus crosses here–gender, ethnicity (including, in Luke, among Samaritans), and morality (eating with «sinners»)–all are consistent with the portrait of Jesus revealed in the Synoptics. Like all stories in the Fourth Gospel, however, the story reads in Johannine idiom and is woven into the whole fabric of the Gospe1.
3. The Setting (4:1–6)
This paragraph opens by returning to the matter which precipitated John the Baptist's discourse: Jesus' disciples were baptizing, and doing so more successfully than John's (3:26, 30). 4:1–3 is no less connected with the section that precedes it than with the section which follows; we include it here because of the geographic transition between 4and 4:4. Because this paragraph also provides the geographical transition into the account of the Samaritan woman, it invites us to look beyond his disciples' physical baptism to the spiritual, «living water» that Jesus describes to the woman.
3A. The Baptism of Jesus' Disciples (4:1–2)
Jesus мая have withdrawn from public baptisms at this point to avoid competing with John, and so weakening John's position before the Pharisees.5230 But the Fourth Gospel мая emphasize Jesus' withdrawal for the same reason it emphasizes that his disciples baptized rather than he himself (4:2): it emphasizes that Jesus will baptize in the Holy Spirit (1:33),5231 which is not yet possible in the story world (7:39). Of course, even the comment that Jesus did not himself baptize probably preserves early tradition; the Synoptics certainly provide no indication that he baptized. Further, it мая have been common practice that the leader of the party did not baptize.5232 But in the context of the Gospel's whole water motif, pneumatology and Christology, John мая de-emphasize Jesus' baptism after mentioning it to retain the emphasis on Jesus' greater baptism to come once he is glorified (cf. 3:5; 7:37–39). See further comments on 3:26.
3B. Samaria (4:4)
A number of scholars have proposed a Samaritan or partly Samaritan context for the Fourth Gospe1.5233 Although a fully Samaritan context is unlikely, a Galilean interest in the Samaritan mission is likely, given its successes (Acts 8:12–17,25);5234 thus a Johannine interest in the subject is likely. (Some also suggest that the early Samaritan mission had proved controversial and required legitimation;5235 while this observation мая be true in the early period, it would probably not be relevant by John's day.) Another cause for interest мая be that Samaritans are among the closest parallels (excepting two stories in the Synoptic tradition) in Jesus' ministry to the interest of Gentile God-fearers which the Johannine community was still encountering in its day. Further, Samaritans would be known by at least some people outside Palestine, due to the Samaritan Diaspora.5236 Both in Eretz Israel and in the Diaspora, Samaritans spoke Greek and were substantially hellenized5237 (although also probably as orthodox as most Judeans; see comment below). Nevertheless, many Diaspora Christians would know little about Samaritans beyond what they found in the gospel traditions (hence cultural explanations such as 4:9);5238 it мая be noteworthy that the NT epistles never allude to them (although even such Gospel staples as Pharisees occur only rarely in relevant passages, e.g., Phil 3:5). This мая suggest a genuinely Palestinian tradition.
Many features of later Samaritanism correspond with emphases addressed in the Fourth Gospe1.5239 Unfortunately, our sources for Samaritanism are relatively late, often influenced by the same social currents that shaped late antiquity and early medieval rabbinic Judaism, sometimes including Islamic elements as wel1.5240 Thus we mention these sources where they appear to be relevant, but do not wish to rely on them more heavily than necessary. Nevertheless, the Dead Sea Scrolls confirm some readings in the Samaritan Pentateuch, suggesting a measure of continuity of Samaritan tradition.5241
Even accounting for Jewish propaganda about the Samaritans, which would tend to overemphasize their paganism, Samaritans were probably hellenized to a fair degree by the first century.5242 Although the «Samaritan city» of Acts 8is probably ancient Shechem5243 rather than Samaria–the latter having become the pagan city Sebaste5244–the antics of Simon the sorcerer suggest hellenization. His claim to be «the great power of God»5245 suggests that Simon was in fact adapting some popular religious motifs of the Hellenistic East–all the more likely if the second-century tradition about what this meant (Justin 1 Apo1. 26.3; Dia1. 120.6; Irenaeus Haer. 1.23.2)5246 has any merit. This in turn suggests that, despite the Samaritans' alienation from Sebaste (perhaps greater than Galileans' alienation from Tiberias and Sepphoris, Sebaste being more pagan), it had exercised some influence.5247
3C. Holy Geography (4:3–5)
Jesus left Judea, the place of hostility, for Galilee (4:3), which had received his ministry far more hospitably. As Fortna observes, Jesus proves safe in Samaria, as in Galilee, is received hospitably in both places (4:40, 45), and both groups believe in Jesus (4:42, 53; 6:14).5248 Thus Samaria, like Galilee, serves a positive theological function in the narrative. The writer presumably mentions the journey to Galilee in 4both to set up the necessity of 4and to prepare the reader for 4:43–45; the latter text together with this one frames the story of Jesus' encounter with the Samaritans in Jesus' journey to Galilee, reinforcing the anti-Judean tenor of the Gospel (see introduction on Galilee).
But whereas the narrative emphasizes that Jesus had to pass through Samaria (έδει is the first word of the statement, in v. 4), other routes between Judea and Galilee existed. Given an urgent mission,5249 Samaria was the shortest and best route; thus Josephus claimed that this was the necessary (έδει) route on occasions of haste, yielding a three days' journey (Josephus Life 269).5250 But Jesus appears not to have been in a hurry, or at least not a hurry that could not be adjusted (John 4:40). The eastern route through Perea was longer and more difficult, but avoiding it was not strictly a matter of «necessity.»5251 Further, Jesus мая have been near John (3:22–23), and the geographic logic of the narrative places John in the Jordan valley (3:23), from which the easiest journey might have been northward through the gap at Bethshan; Samaria thus would represent a detour.5252 Thus it is possible that the casual first-time reader (especially many unfamiliar with Palestinian geography) would approach the ambiguous expression as an indication that Jesus had to take the shortest route; but in the course of the narrative this expectation would be adjusted.5253 Given Johns usage of δει elsewhere (esp. in 3:14, 30; 9:4; 10:16; 12:34; 20:9),5254 the «necessity» that compels Jesus to take this route is probably his mission.5255 God was sending him to Samaria to seek some people to worship him in Spirit and in truth (4:23–24); the reader thus мая naturally recall the δεΐ of 4when coming to the δει in 4:20,24, referring to the necessity of worship in the Spirit and in truth rather than according to culture-specific traditions.
«Sychar» has long been identified with modern 'Askar,5256 about 1.5 kilometers northeast of Jacob's well, though Shechem was closer to the wel1.5257 Because Shechem was closer, some commentators prefer that town, quite small in this period, as the site of Sychar;5258 Shechem is probably the site of the Samaritan conversions in Acts 8.5259
3D. Jacob's Well (4:6)
The theme of holy geography carries over to «Jacob's well» (4:6), though it will climax in a contrast between Jerusalem and Gerizim on one hand and the Spirit on the other (4:21–23). As noted more fully in the introduction to this passage, «Jacob's well» provides a foil for Jesus, reminding John's audience that Jesus is greater than Jacob. If any allusion to Moses' well (Num 21:16–18) is present, this well мая be an appropriate image after the Nicodemus story; Moses' serpent comes from Num 21:4–9, which immediately precedes a reference to Moses' well in Num 21:16–18.5260 Thus Jesus, who fulfills the serpent's role as one greater than Moses in 3:14, would here fulfill the well's role as one greater than Moses. Given the abundance of possible biblical well allusions here, however, this midrashic connection, while natural, might not impress itself on John's audience, and remains at best uncertain.
Sacred wells and springs were common in the Near East and elsewhere in the Mediterranean.5261 Current evidence suggests that the site of Jacob's well (4:6) was probably never lost; Christians honored the site from an early period.5262 At Jacob's well the road forked, one way leading toward Sebaste and western Galilee, the other northeast to Bethshan and the Lake of Galilee.5263 As the woman remarks (4), the well was deep; although the well's depth and water level at that time is uncertain, the well even today remains about one hundred feet deep.5264
A nonaristocratic Mediterranean woman typically had to go to nearby springs or another water source to draw,5265 and at least sometimes would carry the pitcher on her head;5266 those wishing to draw from a spring would typically let down their vessels into it.5267 Travelers naturally often rested themselves by sitting somewhere,5268 including on a wel1.5269 Nevertheless, the fact that Jesus, tired, sat by the well would most likely remind the biblically informed audience of Moses, who met his wife Zipporah at a well and made his home in exile from his people because of his peoplés oppressors (Exod 2:15). Like Moses, Jesus will receive hospitality among a foreign people. That Jesus was tired signals his mortality,5270 as does his thirst (4:7) ;5271 such points hence underline the reality of Jesus' incarnation.5272 The particular expression translated «tired» (κεκοπιακώς, 4:6) indicates his «labor» for the harvest (4:38, the only other use of κοπιάω in this Gospel); his request for water (4:7) prefigures his thirst on the cross, the ultimate epitome of his mortality (19:28).
4. Crossing Social Boundaries (4:6–9)
Because women often came to draw water together, that this woman came alone warrants attention.5273 The time of day (4:6) мая underline this point further. Though some limited evidence in Roman Asia might suggest a way of reckoning of hours from midnight or noon,5274 arguing that this passage refers to 6P.M.,5275 most of the evidence suggests that by the sixth hour John simply means «noon,» which is how most ancient interpreters would have understood it.5276 Although we will argue that John and his audience shared common knowledge of the gospel passion tradition, there is no indication that he makes an allusion to the Synoptic hour of crucifixion (Mark 15:33); John s passion chronology at various points is either mute on the issue (such as the hour of crucifixion, though it must differ from theirs, by implication) or modifies the pattern preserved for us in the Synoptics (such as the date of the crucifixion). Nevertheless, there мая be a connection with Pilate s presentation of Jesus which leads to his death (19:14) and the provision of living water; this is the Gospel's only other mention of the sixth hour and the only designation of a particular hour in this Gospel's Passion Narrative. Its very conflict with the probably more widespread passion tradition preserved in the Synoptics, at least on the surface, invites the ancient reader's attention to that chronological notation.
More importantly, the «sixth hour» would cue readers in to the time of day that establishes part of the story's setting. This hour would be hot,5277 explaining why Jesus needed to sit down and why he would be thirsty.5278 Thus at midday one would temporarily break from most agricultural work;5279 from hearing legal cases;5280 from hunting;5281 from allowing animals to graze;5282 and sometimes from battles.5283 One of the few exceptions to midday breaks was the urgency of the harvest,5284 which мая prove relevant later in this narrative (4:35). As the hottest time of day, it also made people thirsty,5285 and invited wild animals to drink in the shade.5286 If the place of drinking was not in the shade, animals would be watered around 10A.M. and again after the midday heat.5287 The well was not shaded, making this an inopportune time for work; one nineteenth-century explorer sat there at noon and «grew drowsy in the hot sun.»5288 That Jesus is «weary» at this hour is not surprising, due to his long journey so far (4:6, undoubtedly starting early), but probably conjoined with the heat of the day. It was common for Mediterranean people to take naps during the noonday sun.5289 The heat also informs us that the woman developed some interest in her conversation with Jesus: it was unpleasant to engage in long conversation out in the open, under the midday sun.5290
The time of day, hence intensity of heat, also would probably cue the audience that this was not the time when most of the women would come to draw–hence lead the reader to consider why this woman came to the well alone.5291 It also explains Jesus' intense thirst, binding «together, in a common humanity, two human beings separated by invisible yet strong barriers of gender and race.»5292 One more feature increases the potential ambiguity of the encounter for the woman (although the reader, like the disciples, by this point chooses to trust Jesus–4:27): Jacob met Rachel seeking water about noon (Gen 29:7). (On the tradition that Moses met Zipporah then, see above.) A final possible reason for mentioning Jesus' encounter with the woman at «noon» is the narrativés contrast with Nicodemus, who approached Jesus «by night» (3:2; cf. 3:19–21); in contrast to that encounter, this one is initiated by Jesus, who is not ashamed to be seen with with the person whom he meets.
4A. The Moral Barrier (4:7–8)
That the woman came alone would underline the likelihood that she was not welcome among the other women. Despite some Jewish polemic to the contrary, the Samaritans were intensely religious,5293 and like other ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean peoples, they took seriously a woman's sexual immorality. Palestinian Judaism assumed that the Samaritans had their own scribes who interpreted Scripture;5294 they recognized that Samaritans accepted the Torah (though not the prophets) and some even contended that they were more meticulous with it than Jewish people were.5295 Extant Samaritan texts detail laws on circumcision, the Sabbath, and so forth, though frequently including polemic against Jewish forms of the rituals.5296 Their calendar must have differed (creating tension for Galilean pilgrims passing through Samaria at festival times, e.g., Luke 9:53), but this divergence was inevitable unless they waited for leaders in Jerusalem to announce the sightings of the new moon and accepted their intercalations.5297
Samaritan religion seems rooted in the general fabric of early Judaism before 70 C.E.5298 Even in a much later period, they had their own synagogues.5299 Paganism in the Samaritan region5300 was probably largely due to Gentiles settled there, especially in Sebaste.5301 Jewish men disdained marrying sexually immoral women who had defiled their bodies,5302 and Samaritans probably followed the same practice.
Jewish people often viewed Gentiles as sexually immora1.5303 A late line of rabbinic tradition even suggests that one should assume virginity only in a female proselyte who is under the age of three years and one day; otherwise one takes onés chances!5304 Whether among Gentiles or among their own people, they detested as horrible behavior premarital sex,5305 adultery,5306 prostitution,5307 and even lust.5308
Despite frequent Jewish views of them, even Gentiles prohibited or frowned on various forms of sexual behavior. To be sure, many prohibitions involved merely mixing of status;5309 Roman law regarded as stuprum, its closest equivalent to unlawful «fornication,» only those basons which involved particular social classes.5310 Despite the disapproval of some (especially Jews and Christians),5311 sleeping with slaves5312 and with prostitutes5313 was considered legal and common behavior, and even some of those who disapproved of male premarital sexual activity might warn not to judge others who engaged in it.5314 Nevertheless, Gentiles did not regard sexual relations as on the same level as a legitimate marriage bearing legitimate heirs.5315 Women might engage in prostitution legally5316 (this activity generated substantial Roman tax revenues)5317 provided they were unmarried,5318 but some circles regarded sex with prostitutes as shameful,5319 perhaps because of the economic excess or submission to pleasure involved.5320 Women's premarital5321 and extramarital purity was considered so important that some Gentiles, both men5322 and women,5323 preferred the women's death to their defilement. All ancient Mediterranean cultures disapproved of adultery, that is, the wifés unfaithfulness to her husband and a man's seduction of another's wife.5324 Although it мая have been frequent,5325 adultery was shameful5326 and was considered the most grievous form of «theft,»5327 and constituted a serious insult against another man's or woman's morality.5328 Even Gentiles without much Jewish or Christian influence would have negatively regarded this woman if they regarded her as immora1.
It is not clear that the woman who came to the well had been committing adultery, but five husbands had found some grounds to divorce her, and she was now living with a man to whom she was not married (4:17–18). For economic reasons some couples in Mediterranean antiquity did live together before marriage, until they could afford the economic transaction; although a recognized union, it could be formalized subsequently by a written contract.5329 It is not clear here, however, that this man intends to marry her; and very pious Samaritans, like many very pious Jews,5330 probably would have disapproved of the temporary arrangement in any case. In Sychar this story must have been widely known; the townspeople seem to know of her past (4:29). Yet even without knowing the details, as Jesus did, one could probably assume that she came alone because she was unwelcome among the other women of Sychar.5331 The women as a group were, at least in some locations, more apt to draw water much later in the day (Gen 24:11). A girl or woman with a reputation for sexual impurity would not be welcome among women who upheld the stricter Mediterranean values for women's chastity.5332 Thus from her purely natural standpoint the woman can interpret Jesus' social advances in the manner in which such cross-gender advances were normally understood–in a manner quite different from the manner in which he intended them, as the narrative quickly reveals.
Jewish teachers warned against social contact with those practicing overtly sinful lifestyles. The sages demanded edifying discussion (Sir 9:15),5333 but even more importantly the Bible prohibited social intercourse with sinners, lest one be influenced by them (Ps 1:1; 119:63; Prov 13:20; 14:7; 28:7), and Jewish tradition developed this prohibition (e.g., Sir 6:7–12; 12:13–18).5334 Greeks felt that one should avoid the company of disreputable people, and could condemn people for the company they kept; rhetors freely slandered their enemies' friends.5335 In the Jesus tradition, Jesus had fellowship with people publicly recognized as sinful, but the influence went from Jesus to them rather than the reverse (e.g., Matt 9:9, 13; Luke 15:1); some traditions would have regarded this as less harmful,5336 though few of the sages would have accepted that difference as an adequate excuse.5337 But another barrier мая be more obvious here, since it is explicit (4:9, 27).
4B. The Gender Barrier (4:7–9)
That Jesus talks with a woman, especially under such circumstances, probably appeared offensive. Thus the text explicitly notes the absence of his disciples (4:8)5338 and their stunned response when they see him in dialogue with her (4:27), because «he was talking with a woman.» Despite the explicit statement of 4:27, some have argued that no one would have viewed negatively Jesus speaking with a woman. They rightly point out that cross-gender conversation must have occurred in various rural settings (cf. Ruth 2:8) despite the scruples of some more conservative pietists.5339 But for a stranger to engage in private cross-gender conversation would at least have troubled many pietists; asking for water need not be interpreted flirtatiously, but could have such connotations in more traditional circles (see comment below).
According to Jewish sages, Jewish men were to avoid unnecessary conversation with women.5340 Thus among six activities listed as unbecoming for a scholar is conversing with a woman,5341 and in theory the strict opined that a wife could be divorced without her marriage settlement if she spoke with a man in the street.5342 The oldest tradition especially attributed this custom to the dangers of sexually ambiguous situations that could lead to further sin (Sir 9:9; 42:12).5343 In time, however, sages also worried about sending the wrong message to onlookers; if one talked with even ones sister or wife in public, someone who did not know that the woman was a relative might get the wrong impression.5344 Any wife being in private with a man other than her husband was normally suspected of adultery.5345 Traditional Greek culture likewise normally viewed it as shameful (αισχρός) for a wife to be seen talking with a young man;5346 a gossiper will complain that women are immoral if they are conversers with men (άνδρόλαλοι);5347 traditional Romans also regarded wives speaking publicly with others' husbands as a horrible matter reflecting possible flirtatious designs and subverting the moral order of the state.5348 Even today in traditional Middle Eastern societies, «Social intercourse between unrelated men and women is almost equivalent to sexual intercourse.»5349 If such a man and woman «are alone together for more than twenty minutes,» it is assumed that «they have had intercourse.»5350
Cross-gender conversation at wells sometimes led to marriage.5351 To be sure, asking a member of the other gender for a drink was not necessarily viewed as promiscuous in all situations;5352 requesting water from strangers was expected if onés need was urgent.5353 In pagan stories one goddess weary with thirst asked for and received a drink at a hut;5354 another, wearied from her journey, the sun's heat, and thirst sought a drink but was repulsed,5355 then turned the cruel people into frogs.5356 (Because the God of Israel never grows weary, e.g., Ps 121:4, those reading of Jesus in his, and early Christianity's, Jewish context will see in his thirst his humanity, not a weakened deity.) At the same time, a woman who accommodates a man at a well could recall the story in Gen 24, which could introduce specific expectations into the transaction.5357 After all, the servant initiated conversation by requesting water, which Rebekah eagerly gave (Gen 24:14,17–20), though this woman responds less hospitably than Rebekah to one who bears a greater gift than the servant had (cf. Gen 24:22, 53). Further, the encounter in Exod 2 also led to betrothal and marriage, and the time of day мая underline that allusion.
The greatest offense of the narrative, however, is the first one the woman picks up on: being a Jew, he especially should avoid talking with a Samaritan woman. If rabbinic thought here reflects a view more widespread in early Judaism, Jewish men would want to avoid contact with Samaritan women, who were unclean,5358 considered as if menstruants «from their cradle.»5359 This мая have been homiletical hyperbole, but effectively warned that at any given time Samaritan women might well be unclean. Some went so far as to declare that if a Samaritan woman (or Gentile) were in a town, all the spittle in that town was reckoned unclean (because it might derive from them).5360 These views probably reflect the sort of local polemic in which cities or regions at enmity could stigmatize one another's female population.5361 If such views were widespread, some members of Johns audience familiar with Palestinian customs might well think of Jesus' promise of living water (4:14) as a new mikveh for cleansing away menstrual impurity.5362
Certainly such ideas would discourage Jewish men from intercourse with Samaritan women. Yet given the biblical traditions about Rebekah, Rachel, and Zipporah at wells, shared by Jew and Samaritan alike,5363 the woman might have supposed that Jesus, noting that she had to come to the well alone hence was probably morally disreputable to begin with, wanted something else. In the eyes of many potential first-century readers, the beginning of the narrative is fraught with sexual ambiguity that is clarified only as the narrative progresses. The narrative subverts a plotline borrowed from biblical romance; the normal plotline would lead to affection between the two parties5364–a prospect that would have shocked any Jewish reader even if she were not viewed as specifically immora1.5365 Jesus' talking with a woman мая have been offensive to some (4:27), but the ethnic barrier dominates much of the dialogue, for «Jews avoid dealing with Samaritans» (4:9).5366
4C. Jews Have No Dealings with Samaritans (4:9)
In contrast to common ideals of antiquity, the woman speaks boldly and forthrightly with Jesus;5367 in view of the expectation generated by the woman-at-the-well-type scene (esp. Gen 24:18), her lack of deference would strike much of John's audience as rude.5368 Her observation in 4(possibly probing Jesus' motives), however, would not have been controversia1. The text starkly summarizes the less than amicable relationship between Jews and Samaritans; the opposition between the two peoples was proverbia1. A widely circulated book of Jewish wisdom announced that God hated «the foolish people» who lived in Samaria, no less than he hated the Edomites and Philistines (Sir 50:25–26).5369 Jews even circulated militant atrocity stories–for instance, that a Samaritan caused the notorious slaughter of Jews at Bethar in the Hadrianic revolt.5370 Later teachers recounted theological-conflict stories where Jewish teachers, naturally, triumphed.5371
Like many ethnic conflicts in today's world, these conflicts were deeply rooted in history, although in recent centuries the Jewish side of the conflict had often held the upper hand. Jewish tradition indicated that hostilities had begun immediately after some Jews returned from the Exile;5372 later Samaritans raided Judea.5373 The Samaritans were friendly to Herod the Great (e.g., Josephus War 1.229), but Herod's benevolence with tax revenues earned him allies even among foreign Gentiles. After one bloody conflict in the mid-first century, Samaritans appealed to the Roman governor of Syria to punish the Jews (Josephus War 2.239; Ant. 20.125); the emperor, however, listened to Agrippa and executed the Samaritan leaders (Josephus War 2.245–246; Ant. 20.136).
These conflicts affected the way Jewish people viewed Samaritans. Although Jewish sages might acknowledge Samaritan fidelity to their own interpretation of Torah, as noted above, some Jewish texts present the Samaritans as sinful; thus Samaria was founded by those who rejected Jeremiah's call to repentance (4 Bar. 8).5374 Later rabbis rejected most kinds of testimony from Samaritans.5375
Later rabbinic opinion as to the degree of Samaritans' Jewishness varied according to rabbi, period, and issue, though none of them viewed the Samaritans in a positive light. Some rabbis ruled that the Samaritans were to be treated like Gentiles in some respects.5376
Especially later, rabbis could view them as Gentiles,5377 and as «lion-proselytes,» less than genuine converts to the true Jewish religion.5378 Nevertheless, most Jewish teachers did not regard Samaritans as fully Gentile, and many rabbinic disputes differ over the degree to which particular laws should treat them as Gentiles or as Israelites;5379 often they appear as an intermediate class somewhere between those standard categories. Thus an Israelite cannot suckle a Gentile child,5380 but can suckle a Samaritan;5381 an Israelite should beware of the treachery of Gentile barbers, but Samaritan barbers could be trusted.5382 Most rabbinic texts present them not as theological heretics or moral sinners, but as schismatics defining their own social group as against Judaism.5383
Oddly, Justin groups Jews and Samaritans together as against Gentiles (1 Apo1. 53), maybe because of his own upbringing in Neapolis near Shechem (1 Apo1. 1.1). But while he calls himself a Samaritan geographically (Dia1. 120.6), he was ethnically a Gentile, as he acknowledged (Dia1. 41.3), probably a Roman.5384
In any case, Jesus' request for water from the «unclean» woman's vessel (4:7)5385 or sending his disciples to buy food from a Samaritan city (4:8) мая have struck the more traditional Palestinian Jewish pietists as impious, as other Palestinian Jews probably would have recognized.5386 In the late first century a prominent teacher insisted that whoever eats bread from Samaritans is as if he eats pork.5387 Before this ruling, however, even Pharisees probably would have permitted buying Samaritan grain, provided one then tithed on it.5388 In any case, however, strict Jewish men would avoid drinking after any woman who might be unclean.5389 Jesus' association with the Samaritan woman illustrates the principle of «as sociation where custom forbids» like Jews eating with Gentiles as in Gal 2:11–215390 or Jesus eating with «sinners» (Mark 2:16). Although her tone мая be one of astonishment or teasing, some scholars even think the woman's question in 4is refusing Jesus a drink «on religious grounds.»5391
What is most significant about the interaction, however, is that while Jesus' own people accuse him of being a «Samaritan» (8:48) or a «Galilean» (7:40–52), the Samaritan woman recognizes Jesus as a «Jew» (4:9), and he agrees (4:22).5392 This is one of the clues that John's use of the title «Jews» in the Fourth Gospel is usually an ironic polemical device. Jesus' opponents' right to the title is then undermined by various clues in John's narrative (see section on «the Jews» in our introduction, ch. 5).
5. The Gift of Living Water (4:10–14)
Jesus provides water greater than that of Jacob and greater than Samaritan holy sites. The informed reader will probably think back to «born of water» in 3:5. Whether her tone includes ridicule or not cannot be ascertained on the basis of her respectful address κύριε (4:11, 15, 19; cf. 4:49; 5:7; 6:34).5393 On Jesus addressing her as γυνή (4:21), see comment on 2:4. Jesus' identity, which she will later understand (4:25–26) and declare (4:29), is as yet unknown to her, for if she knew, she would ask for his gift (4:10).5394
5A. Greater Than Our Father Jacob (4:12)
Jesus' superiority to Jacob is central to this story. When the Samaritan woman asks whether Jesus can be greater than Jacob (4:12), it is possible that her tone is mocking;5395 in any case, she recognizes that to provide water the way he claims, Jesus would have to be greater than Jacob who once provided water (according to a later Jewish and perhaps Samaritan tradition, miraculously).5396 Nevertheless, the informed reader, knowing the true answer, catches John's irony, a technique the author also applies elsewhere (7:42; 11:50; 18:38; 19:2–3).5397 At a different well, Jacob provided water for the flocks (Gen 29:10), but Jesus provides water for whoever would drink, perhaps alluding to the Johannine portrait of disciples as Jesus' sheep (10:3–4). Jacob allegedly «gave» this parcel of land to Joseph (4:5,12);5398 but the «gift» of God (4:10; cf. 3:16,27; perhaps 3:34) is greater. That Jesus has asked the woman to «give» him a drink (4:7) explicitly contrasts with his own gift (4:10), contrasting (or linking) the human weakness he has endured with the great source of divine blessing he remains. She eventually does ask him for his gift (4:15), although asking with the same sort of misunderstanding found in the crowd's request for bread in 6:34.
Undoubtedly the woman means the «our» in «our Father Jacob» emphatically (4:12); certainly she emphasizes her own ancestry in the later claim about «our ancestors» in 4:20. Samaritan tradition seems to have heavily emphasized the Samaritans' descent from Jacob5399–and Samaritans knew the Jewish version of their ancestry, which emphasized their impure lineage (2 Kgs 17:24–41). Josephus complains that the Samaritans deceptively try to profess themselves «Jews» when matters are going well for the Jewish community, but admit the truth by denying their kinship when hard times come to the Jewish people (Josephus Ant. 9.291; 11.340–341). Later traditions declare that some rabbis openly contended against the Samaritan claim to descent from Joseph (Gen. Rab. 94:7), and some marshall evidence from the Qumran scrolls for the same idea.5400 Jewish teachers also frequently used the expression «our father Jacob.»5401 The woman мая not practice all the moral tenets of her Samaritan ethnic faith, but she knows on which side of the ethnic divide she stands. The implied, expected answer to such questions, «Surely you are not greater than (one of the patriarchs),» is, of course, «No»5402–precisely because the questioners begin with a defective Christology, not recognizing Jesus' identity.
In the whole context of the Fourth Gospel, however, this ethnic subtext мая serve an ironic function. Just as she questions whether Jesus is «greater than our father Jacob,» Jerusalem's leaders question whether Jesus is «greater than our father Abraham» (8:53).5403 But whereas this Samaritan woman ultimately embraces Jesus' claim and proves a true worshiper outside Jerusalem (4:21, 23, 29), the Jerusalem leaders desire his death (8:59).5404
5B. Jesus' Gift of Water (4:10–11,13–14)
In warning that those who drink the water of Jacob's well would thirst again (4:13), Jesus is not demeaning bodily needs in some gnostic or neoplatonic fashion (cf. 4:6; 19:28). Rather, he is demeaning the Samaritan holy site by comparison with the greater water that he offers.5405 God's «gift» is greater than Jacob's «gift» (4:10, 12), but it is not impossible that the passage мая also imply something greater than Moses' «gift» (cf. 1:17; 6:32). Later rabbis typically emphasized God's supreme «gift» (4:10) as Torah,5406 but Jesus does not speak directly of Torah here. The well мая make the same point (4:14). Rabbis sometimes compared Torah to water5407 and a good Torah teacher to a wel1.5408 Closer to our period, Qumran's Damascus Document uses metaphorically the «well» of Num 21to represent Torah, unearthed by the Covenanters.5409 But Jesus applies the image of a well here not to Torah but to eternal life (4:14), through the Spirit (7:37–39). This is not to imply that John opposes Torah; but if Jesus embodies Torah (1:1–18) and dwells in the believer through the Spirit (14:23), it is not difficult to understand how the Spirit fulfills in Johannine theology a role normally reserved for Torah among John's Jewish contemporaries.5410
Thus in an early and widely read book that pictures divine Wisdom as flowing like water,5411 Joshua ben Sira describes Wisdom as saying, «Come to me» (Sir 24:19), in language comparable to Jesus' invitations (John 6:35).5412 But whereas Wisdom promises that one who eats and drinks from her will hunger and thirst for more of her (Sir 24:21), Jesus promises that one who receives his water will never thirst (John 4:14; 6:35).5413 When one receives Jesus, one receives the sum total of all that one needs spiritually.5414 Given such language of drinking divine Wisdom, the idea that drinking here stands for baptism in some sense is unlikely.5415 Samaritans were likely familiar with the image; the confluence of Jewish and Greek texts (see footnotes) suggests a widespread metaphor, and the Samaritan Memar Marqah 6.3 speaks of Moses' mouth flowing like the living waters of the Euphrates.5416
«Living,» that is, fresh, running or flowing,5417 water was essential for purification in strict Jewish tradition (although in practice the requirement was often in some sense circumvented).5418 A well was not always living water in the strictest sense, except where it was known to depend on an underground stream.5419 Thus Jesus promises a greater kind of water.5420 Water drawn from wells was often thought to be less healthy than that drawn from a spring or from rainwater.5421 But both the immediate and larger context indicate that Jesus speaks not of literal, physical water but of life. That the water continues to flow might play on a legend about this well preserved for us in Targum Neofiti, in which water continued to flow up from a well for the twenty years Jacob sojourned in Haran, though this tradition мая well be too late.5422 In a possibly related Amoraic story, other women had to go down to draw water from the well in Haran, but when Rebekah came it rose up for her.5423 Johns Jewish audience мая have also recalled a variety of early traditions in which a well followed Israel in the wilderness,5424 which at least some later traditions midrashically connected with the well of Genesis 24.5425
Given his propensity for double entendres, John probably also intends «living water» to signify the «water of life» (Rev 22:1,17; cf. Rev 7:17; 21:6).5426 In biblical tradition, God himself (Jer 2:13; 17:13) appears as living waters, and Wisdom as a fountain of life (Prov 18:4).5427 «Living waters» would flow from Jerusalem in the end time (Zech 14:8), and it would be natural for John and his tradition to connect this passage midrashically with Ezek 47, where this river brings life (Ezek 47:9).5428 This water would also purify from sin (Zech 13:1; cf. John 3:5).5429 But whereas Jewish teachers anticipated the living waters to spring from Jerusalem, Samaritans expected such waters closer to home.5430 «The new reality brought by Jesus transcends both expectations: the eschatological river of life flows neither from Mount Gerizim nor from Mount Zion, but is to be found in Christ himself.»5431 This passage thus continues the water motif of the Gospel, which contrasts ritual waters (not always negative but always comparatively impotent) with what Jesus brings (1:33; 2:6; 3, 22).5432
6. The Moral Question (4:15–18)
So far the narrative has included cues that are potentially ambiguous morally (although the ideal reader, cognizant of Jesus' identity, will not question him any more than the disciples did in 4:27). Her request for water мая have a mocking tone, transformed only by Jesus' revelation of her marital history in 4:17–18;5433 it is also possible, however, that she has become interested in water that she begins to think Jesus мая offer on a natural (perhaps magical?) leve1.5434 John often uses «food» or «drink» in a spiritual sense (4:7–14, 31–34; 6:27, 35, 55; 7:37; cf. 18:11), yet the woman understands Jesus' references to water in a purely natural sense (4:11–12, 15), in the same way that Nicodemus understood Jesus' words in a purely natural sense (3:4).5435 She probably understands not only his description of food, but also his interest in her, in a natural sense. Jesus is the Father's agent on a divine mission (4:4), seeking her as a worshiper of God (4:23), but given the other cues in the narrative (and her past experience with men implied in the story world) she probably understands his love in a different manner. Jesus surfaces the misunderstanding by inviting her husband to join the conversation.5436 This invitation was not because she needed a husband to learn, as some ancient readers might have initially assumed from their culture;5437 the flow of narrative suggests that Jesus is clarifying the direction of the discussion.5438
When the woman responds that she has no husband, she is seeking to mislead him, but is probably implying more than that she is embarrassed to talk about a shameful past.
A denial that one was married мая not have always been flirtatious, but it constituted an essential prerequisite for any further steps toward even a casual sexual union.5439 Since she had come to the well alone in the hottest time of day (rather than in other women's company), she probably could assume that Jesus knew that she was not accepted in her community; she мая have thus interpreted his remark about her husband as a final test of her availability.5440 Given her interpretation of the situation in natural terms, she мая have viewed Jesus as a potential sexual or marital partner.5441
Jesus ironically notes that on the natural level on which she is speaking, she has in some sense spoken the truth.5442 She has had five husbands and is not married to her current partner. Some take «five husbands» as an allegorical reference to the five nations settled in Samaria in 2 Kgs 17:24,5443 or more naturally to the «five» gods of 2 Kgs 17:30–31.5444 But this is problematic for several reasons. First, two of the five nations mentioned in the latter passage have two gods apiece, making seven altogether, not five.5445 Further, if one so allegorizes the number here, the «five» of 5and 6must be allegorized to remain consistent, yet must be allegorized differently.5446 Finally, the narrative makes nothing of such connections.
One could read the text as a statement of this woman's social marginalization rather than her morality. Wives could, for example, be divorced for infertility.5447 Unfortunately, this charitable reading is probably not the first one which would have occurred to John's first audience. The trial period for allowing pregnancy was often considerable; later rabbis allowed up to ten years, and this woman was married five times.5448 (After two or three marriages a reputation for infertility probably would have decreased her marital prospects,5449 but certainly no more than a reputation for infidelity; that she was married five times suggests that other factors made her desirable for Samaritan men.)5450 The lack of mention of children here would hardly support a diagnosis of infertility; husbands normally took the children in the event of divorce.5451 This is not to deny that she would have experienced some marginalization unrelated to moral questions: at the least, most single women without capital were economically marginalized.5452 This situation would have invited her to attach herself to a man as quickly as possible, even if, as in the current case, he was not her husband (a situation most of her stricter contemporaries would have regarded as morally inexcusable).
Rightly or wrongly, most ancient readers would have drawn moral connotations from the number of her marriages. Even though grounds were not mandatory for divorce, usually husbands divorced their wives because they found fault with them (e.g., Sir 7:26; 25:26); thus even Gentile texts in the Diaspora could praise a woman who had never given her husband grounds to divorce her as a «one-man woman.»5453 Even if we implausibly assume that she was widowed five times without the narrative specifying that circumstance, many of her peers would have assumed (rightly or wrongly) foul play: when several husbands of a wife died in succession, it was assumed that something was wrong with the wife (perhaps the attachment of a demon, as in Tob 3:8).5454 Roman satirists complained about authoritarian wives who changed husbands frequently, «wearing out her bridal veil»;5455 one satirizes for serial polygamy a wife who will marry eight husbands in five years.5456 Even if the complaint involved the less controversial notion of a husband changing wives, it could often be used to create moral suspicion if malice generated it.5457
This woman мая have lost some husbands through death, but her coming to the well alone (4:7), her possible designs on Jesus (4:17), and her current nonmarital sexual union (4:18) together would probably suggest to most ancient readers that she had somehow morally warranted at least part of her situation. There is little doubt that most ancient Mediterranean men would have assumed a large number of divorces to reflect badly on the woman herself, and to judge the situation in moral terms. One cannot guess her age from the text, but after five husbands she is undoubtedly older than the average bride; given the preference for young virgins,5458 she probably appears a less valuable commodity.5459 The public perception of her failure in the socially expected wifely role and perhaps by now even in her ability to bear children and attract men makes abundant psychological sense in the story world of her openness to a man s affirmation and probable misinterpretation of it.
That the man who apparently had taken her in had not granted her the legal protection of marriage (4:18) probably means that she was unable to find anyone at this point who would.5460 Some interpreters emphasize «your» in «not your husband,» implying that she is living openly with someone elsés husband.5461 This situation happened at times, and was scandalous toward the man as well as the woman.5462 More likely, however, he is simply not her husband legally, there having been no economic transaction or ceremony. Some ancients might have justified this nonmarital union, but public opinion would have been against them;5463 for strict Jews and Samaritans it would be almost equivalent to treating her as a concubine or a prostitute. To illustrate the odium that would have attached to their relationship among Samaritans with stricter moral commitments: the semantic range of the Hebrew term translated «prostitute» included adultery and probably would have also included this woman living with the man without marriage.5464 Even for Greeks it was scandalous for a woman who had left her husband to be living openly with another man,5465 a situation at least akin to the one depicted here. This woman is hardly the sort of witness one would expect a pious rabbi to commission (4:39)! Jesus, however, relates to this woman as a potential worshiper of God (4:23), not on the basis of her gender or her past relationships with men. Jesus' kindness and nonerotic interest in her revealed a kind of love and relationship that differed in a positive way from her past intimate relationships with men.5466 (One мая compare Xenophon's positive portrait of Socrates' unwillingness to relate to a particular woman in a way similar to the many men pursuing her; he instead sought that she would learn philosophy.)5467
7. True Worship (4:19–24)
Most of the Fourth Gospel presents Jesus as the ultimate fulfillment of Israel's faith and worship, often in connection with Jewish festivals. Unlike the contexts of 2:13; 5:1, 9; 6:4; 7(encompassing all of 7:1–10:21); 10:22, and the Passion Narrative, this chapter does not stand directly in the context of a Jewish festival; but it does present Jesus as greater than the biblical Jacob, and it does point to a greater, truer temple worship.5468
Ancient Near Eastern religion emphasized holy sites; thus when invaders destroyed an earlier city, they often reused the site of its cult for their own shrine.5469 Early Judaism5470 and Christianity5471 continued this tradition. The location of prayer was often important in early Judaism;5472 some locations made prayers more likely to be heard than others.5473 One should not recite the Shema in an unclean location.5474 A Jewish teacher who had never meditated on Torah in any unclean place would invite emulation.5475 Synagogue architecture reveals more about popular Jewish views of sacred space outside rabbinic circles.5476 Thus builders sometimes elevated synagogues.5477 Following biblical precedents,5478 many also oriented synagogues toward the Jerusalem temple,5479 although not all synagogues fit this description.5480
7A. You Are a Prophet (4:19)
When Jesus confronts the woman with her own past, the woman's view of Jesus shifts from merely «Jewish man» to «prophet» (4:19), an opinion shared by some Galilean and Judean crowds (6:15; 7:40). The confession is true (cf. Deut 18:18), but on the Johannine level inadequate;5481 Jesus' self-revelation to her will ultimately complete her christological development in 4:25–26, 29, leading to the Samaritans' climactic christological revelation of Jesus as «savior of the world» (4:42).5482 Nevertheless, that the woman recognizes Jesus as a prophet could imply her openness to the possibility that he is the prophet. What sources from Samaritan tradition remain extant suggest that Samaritans denied prophets after Moses, until the final prophet like Moses would arise (Deut 18:18).5483 Thus «the prophet» would be the Taheb, the restorer, a sort of messianic figure (see comment on 4:25, below). If John and his audience know this Samaritan teaching on prophets, calling Jesus «a prophet» мая have been tantamount to calling him the supreme revealer after Moses; but in any case, her Christology rises to that level more clearly in 4:25–26, 29.
Some commentators think that the woman calls Jesus a prophet to deflect the subject to matters less personal or embarrassing. This proposal would make sense in the story if taken in isolation from its broader context in the Gospel, but is less likely in view of John's emphasis on christological confessions and occasional, developmental progression of such confessions. More likely, recognizing that Jesus is a prophet of some sort, she wants an answer to a religious matter.5484 She has been certain that her people are on the correct side of the religious divide between Samaritans and Jews, but now she has met a Jewish prophet, and cannot accommodate this anomaly into her belief system. A central, apparently impassible breach between Jews and Samaritans was their history of competing sanctuaries.5485
7B. Salvation Is from the Jews (4:22)
Many modern readers, who rightly note that Jesus surmounts the Jewish-Samaritan chasm in this story, мая be surprised that before Jesus does so he does take sides, and he clearly announces that the Jewish side was correct on the central matter of salvation history.5486 This affirmation surprises us, however, only if we assume that the Johannine community had broken completely with its Jewish heritage and regards that heritage in a negative manner; in our view, such an assumption stems from a misreading of John's usual use of the title «Jews» (see in our introduction, ch. 5). «We» in this context can only mean the «Jews,» and Jesus remains a faithful Jew in the Fourth Gospel even if not acknowledged as such by the leaders of his people.5487 Contrary to the usual Gentile Christian reading of the Gospels, the Synoptic Jesus likewise required Gentiles to recognize Israel's priority and preeminence (Mark 7:27–29/Matt 15:24–28; Matt 8:7–8/Luke 7:6–7).5488
Because the Samaritans accepted only Moses but rejected the Judean aspect of salvation history, including the Davidic messiah, they necessarily held an incomplete view of salvation and salvation history by Jewish and Christian standards. Some regard «salvation» in John as eschatological messianic deliverance;5489 some suggest that it functions as a christological title here.5490 In the context of the whole Fourth Gospel, it embraces Jesus' mission of transforming citizens of the world into people born from above, and locates Jesus himself, the bringer of salvation, squarely within the salvation history of Israel (see esp. 3in context; cf. 4:42). «Quite simply, Judea is conceived as the country of origin of Jesus the Messiah (Jn. 1:41; 4:25) and as such the source of salvation.»5491
In the end, however, Jesus challenges both Jewish and Samaritan tradition, calling for a higher worship that transcends geographical (hence also, in this context, ethnic) particularities (4:21).
7C. Worship in This Mountain (4:20)
As in many cultures,5492 ancient Near Eastern cultures often spoke of holy mountains, whether the Greeks' Olympus, Jerusalem's Zion (the Temple Mount), or the Babylonians' artificial Ziggurat.5493 A pre-Christian Jewish tradition accepted four holy mountains: two in the east, Sinai, and, with eschatological associations, Zion (Jub. 4:26).
The Samaritans regarded Mount Gerizim as the holiest of mountains (e.g., Josephus Ant. 18.85). Even in the mid-thirties C.E. a prophetic figure could rally Samaritan masses around an eschatological hope for the recovery of the hidden vessels of the tabernacle,5494 and probably for a rebuilt temple,5495 on Gerizim (Josephus Ant. 18.85–87). A generation later Samaritans gathered on Mount Gerizim to oppose the Romans (Josephus War 3.307–308), and those who did not surrender (War 3.313–314) were slaughtered there (War 3.315). Samaritan Decalogue inscriptions show that the Samaritans combined the traditional ninth and tenth commandments to make room for their own commandment based on their reading of Deut 27:3–5: they must build an altar to God at Gerizim.5496 Just as Jewish synagogues often pointed toward Jerusalem (see above), so an excavated Samaritan synagogue points toward Mount Gerizim.5497
That the woman speaks of worship «on this mountain» in the aorist is significant and evokes cultural distance as in 4:9; the Jerusalemite ruler John Hyrcanus enslaved Samaritans and destroyed the Samaritan temple there in 128 B.C.E., perhaps a century and a half before this encounter (Josephus War 1.63–66; Ant. 13.255–256).5498 (Scholars have cited some possible archaeological evidence for this destruction,5499 though the evidence remains disputed.)5500 Although worship continued, it could not continue as temple worship on this site. (By contrast, Antiochus IV Epiphanes had sought to paganize both the temple on Mount Gerizim and the Jerusalem temple [2Macc 6:2].) The ruins of this temple on the peak of Mount Gerizim nearest Jacob's well мая have been visible to Jesus and the Samaritan woman.5501 The woman is ready to discuss religion (4:19), but for her discussing religion with a Jew demanded beginning openly with the history of ethnic hostility that separated them.
Jewish teachers recognized Mount Gerizim as the Samaritan counterpart to the Jewish temple.5502 Samaritans' very insistence on being descendants of Israel rendered their temple suspect to Jews: while God allowed Gentiles some leeway, the people of Israel were allowed to worship nowhere but the temple.5503 Some Jewish sages prohibited Samaritans from circumcizing Israelite boys because they expected them to do it «in the name of Mount Gerizim.»5504 A late tradition allows for the acceptance of Samaritan converts (though none are known) if they embrace the resurrection and also honor Jerusalem instead of Gerizim.5505
The conflict between Jews and Samaritans over their respective holy sites was intense.5506 It had led to severe conflicts in the Ptolemaic period (Josephus Ant. 13.74–79). Before the governorship of Pontius Pilate, some Samaritans, as an act of revenge for earlier acts against their temple and nation, secretly defiled the Jerusalem temple with bones (Josephus Ant. 18.30). In a later period, Genesis Rabbah twice tells a story (once about R. Jonathan and the second time about R. Ishmael b. R. Yose, both Tannaim) in which a Jewish teacher passing through Samaria on his way to Jerusalem was provoked into debate by a Samaritan. «Would it not be better to pray at this holy mountain than at that dunghill?» the Samaritan jeered; that mountain alone had not been covered in the Flood. The rabbís ass-driver answered wisely from Scripture, prompting the rabbi to exalt the ass-driver over himself.5507 In another story, R. Ishmael b. R. Yose provoked the Samaritans to violence by charging that they worshiped idols under their mountain.5508 Likewise, Luke, writing in the first century C.E. and probably before John, indicates that the Samaritans refused to receive Jesus because he was going to Jerusalem for a Passover feast (Luke 9:51–53). In one apocryphal story Samaritans kept the Romans from allowing the Jews to rebuild the Jerusalem temple in Hadrians reign.5509
7D. Jerusalem as the Place to Worship (4:20)
Jewish teachers regularly regarded Israel as the holiest among lands.5510 By the Jewish nationalist revival of the mid-second century B.C.E., some Jewish writers were heightening the land polemic already present in Genesis.5511 Although Josephus does not highlight the land as much as one might expect,5512 the emphasis on it appears in other early Jewish texts (e.g., 2 Bar. 61:7) and continues later in rabbinic texts, which develop it in greatest detai1.5513 In these texts the land of Israel was the highest, hence most praiseworthy of lands.5514 Eretz Israel was one of God's supreme gifts to Israel (alongside Torah and the world to come), merited through suffering.5515 One could limit the Torah to the land of Israel;5516 a rabbi might merit the Shekinah but forfeit it through living in Babylon;5517 those who lived in Syria might need to work twice as hard to merit the same reward as one who lived in the land.5518 Many second-century teachers felt that, apart from some notable exceptions, the Spirit of prophecy was limited to the Holy Land.5519 Naturally, following biblical prophecy, early Judaism envisioned a unique eschatological significance for their homeland.5520
Later Palestinian rabbis and those who transmitted their sentiments sought to further translate this emphasis on the Holy Land into practice.5521 Dwelling in the land is highly meritorious, equal (in standard rabbinic hyperbole) to all other commandments;5522 some teachers warned against the temptation of idolatry for those dwelling elsewhere,5523 or emphasized the positive effects of the land on a sagés scholarship.5524 Some Jewish teachers prohibited renting land to Samaritans or Gentiles in the Holy Land.5525 A fully Jewish town is normally preferable for habitation than a partly Gentile one, but better a majority Gentile town within Eretz Israel than a fully Jewish one in the Diaspora.5526 It thus comes as no surprise that a later rabbi would conclude that in the time to come all synagogues would be in Eretz Israe1.5527
Citing Ezek 37:12–14, Amoraim taught that the dead in Israel would be raised first, or that the righteous dead outside Eretz Israel would have to roll underground to return to the land before being resurrected.5528 (This eschatological scenario likely provided a not-so-subtle hint to Diaspora Jews encountering rabbinic teaching that they ought to emigrate while still alive.)5529 That preference for burial in Eretz Israel was more widespread than the rabbis themselves мая be attested by Palestinian burial sites with an abundance of Diaspora Jews throughout the Amoraic period.5530 Although this practice becomes abundant over a century after the writing of the Fourth Gospel, some Diaspora Jews and proselytes of the first century also preferred to be buried in the land (e.g., Josephus Ant. 20.95; cf. perhaps Acts 6:1). Much closer to John s period than the later rabbis, some also believed that only those in the land would receive special divine protection (2 Bar. 29:2).
Jerusalem was the holiest place in the Holy Land,5531 the only place worthy of the temple or altars.5532 Whatever the date of other traditions surrounding Jerusalem, Jerusalem's great holiness was certainly highly regarded by the first century.5533 According to some later traditions, in the world to come, Jerusalem would be the size of Eretz Israel, and Israel the size of the current world.5534 The principle of holy land applied especially to the holiest site of all, the Jerusalem temple. Thus when Jewish teachers spoke of a progression of holiness, the most holy site in the Holy Land's holy city was the temple.5535 Various Jewish groups argued that God had long before chosen this site for the temple.5536 Thus an angel warned Jacob at Bethel not to build a sanctuary there, «because this is not the place.»5537 Just as Israel was the highest of all lands,5538 the temple was higher than the rest of the world.5539
Naturally Palestinian Jews stood to profit from Diaspora interest in their land. Probably partly because the Romans found revolutionary potential in such ethnic ties of geographical loyalty, they eventually diverted the didrachma tax once used for the templés upkeep.5540
7E. Worship in Spirit (4:21, 23–24)
John here revisits the new-temple symbolism that often recurs in his Gospel (1:14; 2:13–22; 7:37–38; 14:23). Both Mount Gerizim and Jerusalem (4:20), like Jacob's well (4:6), evoked important themes in biblical history; different locations could serve holy functions for the majority of ancient Mediterranean people who valued holy sites. But God was God not only of the past, but through Jesus and his successor Paraclete had become even more active in the present, causing present experience of worship by the Spirit to supersede mere celebration of past encounters with God.
John here refers to worship empowered by the Spirit. Some argue that the passage refers to worship with the human spirit,5541 that is, passionate worship with onés whole heart. But more natural expressions for this existed in the LXX: one could render thanks έν όλη καρδία μου;5542 likewise, the soul could praise God,5543 and «heart and soul» are the usual expressions applied to passion for God.5544 Moreover, the human spirit is hardly John's usual sense of «Spirit»; apart from references to Jesus' personal spirit (11:33; 13:21; 19:30), the only other probable exception, 3:6, includes a reference to God's Spirit, and fourteen undisputed references plainly refer to God's Spirit. Finally, the Spirit becomes the agent of God's indwelling the believer, for John's (e.g., 14in context) as for Pauline circles (e.g., Rom 8:9; Eph 3:16)–in effect mediating the presence of God more effectively than the temple had (cf. 1Cor 3:16; 6:19; Eph 2:18–22).5545 The believer's (and the believing community's) experience with God's Spirit can replace the magnificent temple destroyed in 70 C.E.
The preposition èv retains its locative sense from 4:20–21: not «in» Jerusalem or Mount Gerizim, but «in» the realm or sphere of Spirit and truth.5546 But the sense of the locative in Greek more naturally overlaps with the instrumental than in English, and in early Christian teaching «worship in the Spirit» seems to have coincided with «worship (empowered) by the Spirit.» Ecstatic or charismatic worship is reported among OT prophets (1Sam 10:5, 10; cf. 2 Kgs 3:15) and the Chronicler portrays it as transferred to the temple cult ( 1 Chr 25:1–6), where it probably generated many of the psalms in the psaltery (2 Chr 29:30).5547 While God might abandon the physical temple (e.g., Jer 3:16–17; 7:11–14), he would always desire the genuine worship once located there that had been guided by his own Spirit.
Given the emphasis on prophetic inspiration in early Jewish conceptions of the Spirit,5548 it is most likely that an early Jewish or Jewish Christian audience would have heard «in the Spirit» in terms of inspiration.5549 In the Pauline churches, worship empowered by God's Spirit probably included songs in tongues and interpretation (1Cor 14:14–16),5550 and perhaps other sorts of Spirit-inspired singing (1Cor 14:26; Eph 5:19–20; Col 3:16).5551 Early Christians similarly affirmed Spirit-empowered prayer (Jude 20; Eph 6:18).5552
If Revelation reveals anything about the Johannine circle of influence, it provides some insight into how Johannine Christians would have understood «worship in the Spirit.» John was caught up in visionary inspiration while «in the Spirit»5553 on the Lord's day, perhaps in worship (Rev 1:10).5554 As in other circles, worship often included prostration (Rev 4:10; 5:14; 7:11; 11:16; 19:4; cf. 3:9; 19:10; 22:8). John's visions of heaven are visions of a heavenly temple (Rev 7:15; 11:19; 13:6; 14:15, 17; 15:5–16:1; 16:17; 21:3), complete with ark of the covenant (11:19), altar of incense (5:8; 8:3–5; 9:13; 14:18), altar of sacrifice (6:9; 16:7), and even a sea as in 1 Kgs 7:23–25 (Rev 4:6; 15:2). But while the earth worships the beast and slaughters the saints (e.g., Rev 13:4, 8, 12, 15; 14:11; 16:2; 19:20; 20:4), the scenes of the heavenly temple are mostly scenes of worship toward God and the lamb (e.g., 4:10; 5:14; 7:11; 11:16; 14:7; 15:4; 19:4), complete with biblically allusive songs (4:8, 11; 5:9–10, 12–14; 7:10, 12; 15:3–4; 16:7; 19:1–7). If John's ecstasy in the Spirit allowed him to join the heavenly chorus, it is probable that he expected the Spirit to align the churches in which his revelation was being read with heavenly worship as wel1. This expectation appears elsewhere in early Judaism.5555
While Revelation does not provide details on such practices as worship in tongues (though it might be inferred from the practice of the Lukan and Pauline circles of churches), it depicts a charismatic, heavenly worship against the backdrop of a life and death struggle. The earthly temple and Holy Land мая be temporarily possessed by the world (Rev 11:2), but true worship is continuing in the heavenly temple, as noted above. Like Paul (Phil 3:3), John мая contrast true worship in the Spirit with traditional measures of religious devotion, in this instance sacrifices and rituals in the temple; the use of «true» in 1(άληθώς) мая support this contrast. Such a contrast would not be surprising given John's teachings about God's house elsewhere in the Gospel (2:16–17; 8:35; 14:2); the believer becomes the place where the Father, Jesus, and the Spirit make their home (14:23).
That John indeed refers to the sort of worship viewed in Revelation is confirmed by his «hour is coming» (4:21; cf. 5:28) and his «hour is coming and already is» (4:23; cf. 5:25), which (especially in the latter case) is the language of realized eschatology in the Fourth Gospel (5:25; 16:25, 32), inaugurated by the «hour» of Jesus' cross (7:30; 8:20; 12:23–24, 27; 13:1; 16:21; 17:1).5556 As Aune puts it, «worship in the Spirit» is «a proleptic experience of eschatological existence.»5557 John's «worship in the Spirit» is a foretaste of the eschatological worship around God's throne depicted in Revelation.
Both prophets and philosophers critiqued worship based merely on sacred space, such as a temple cult.5558 Thus philosophers «reconceptualized» sacred space, making philosophy the genuine cultic activity.5559 John similarly reconceptualizes sacred space, but in terms of «the manner of worship: in spirit and truth.»5560 This is not to deny that some could emphasize both the Spirit and sacred geography; some rabbinic traditions restricted prophecy primarily to the land5561 and often associated the Spirit with the holy place.5562 But as post-70 rabbis often used the language of biblical prophets to redefine the cultus ethically, John redefines it here especially pneumatically.
In its most dramatic divergence from traditional Jewish expectations, however, this context speaks of a worship in the Spirit that ultimately transcends ethnic allegiances (4:20–24), just like the worship in Revelation (Rev 5:9–14; 7:9–10).
Ultimately, fleshly (i.e., merely human) worship (such as is reflected in the human side of Johns water motif; see comments on 2:6; 3:5) is to be rejected; John finds valueless the religion of his audiencés religious opponents. For John, only religion born from the Spirit, utterly dependent on God's empowerment, can please God; see comment on 3:6.
7F. Worship in Truth (4:23–24)
Worshiping «in truth» indicates genuine worship by άληθινοί προσκυνηταί (4:23), but as we have just noted, for John genuine worship is impossible (cf. 15:5) without the Spirit's activity. Qumran texts can link «spirit» and «truth» in terms of ethical conduct, but the usage of «truth» in John differs from its usage in Qumran's Manual of Discipline, especially when «truth» is linked with the Spirit.5563 Just as we understood 3as a hendiadys based on John's usage elsewhere, reading «water and Spirit» as «water, that is, the Spirit» or «the water which represents the Spirit,» here we мая understand «Spirit and truth» as a stylistic variant of the later and clarifying phrase, «the Spirit of truth» (14:17; 15:26; 16:13).5564 In so doing we both shed light on the sense of «Spirit and truth» here and recognize that «Spirit of truth» must link «Spirit» and «truth» in a closer manner than a weaker reading of the genitive allows.
If «Spirit» is closely linked with «truth» here, it мая be partly because for this Gospel Jesus epitomizes truth (14:6; cf. 1:14, 17; 8:32; 18:37) and truth is also connected with the Spirit who inspires and illumines by pointing back to Jesus (14:26; 16:13–15). The linkage thus emphasizes the importance of divine inspiration in the worship activity, while grounding it in the historical person of Jesus (see comment on 14:26).
7G. God Is a Spirit (4:24)
Because «God» is articular and «Spirit» is anarthrous, we мая infer that «Spirit» is most likely the predicate nominative5565 and should not read too much into its anarthrous form. At the same time, it is unlikely that John would identify God wholly with the «Spirit» of whom he has been speaking, because John elsewhere distinguishes the Spirit from the Father as well as the Son (14:16,26; 15:26). Some thus understand the phrase to mean that God is revealed through, and consequently in a sense as, the Spirit;5566 but this is not the simplest way to construe the Greek.
Many Gentiles also recognized that the supreme god was a spirit,5567 although those influenced by the Stoic tradition sometimes tended to interpret this in a more pantheistic direction.5568 Philo often represents God as «spirit,» which for him means not only not of human form, but devoid of human passions.5569 But John lacks Philós academic Hellenistic bent, and merely intends that God is not physica1. God is not one among many spirits, nor a pervasive spiritual force, but God's nature is spirit rather than flesh.5570 John probably expands his teaching from 3:6: Spirit can relate to spirit, and since God is spiritual but not physical, those who relate to him must do so through the gift of his Spirit (cf. 1Cor 2:11–12). Merely fleshly worship (cf. Phil 3:3) is inadequate, as John's sustained contrast between the Spirit and water rituals (see comment on 2:6; 3:5, 25) also implies.
7H. The Father Seeks Such Worshipers (4:23)
The Son had pursued this woman for the Father, perhaps as Abraham's servant pursued Rebekah for his master (Gen 24:4); if the Johannine community feels at home with the biblical prophets' image of God's people as his bride (cf. Rev 12:1; 21:2,9), the woman мая serve a broader representative function here. The clues in the narrative that would point in this direction are, however, ambiguous, warranting caution against what could simply represent a Philonic sort of allegorization. What is most significant is that this woman becomes the first model of a worshiper in Spirit and truth that the Father sought for himself. The barriers of past moral character, gender, and ethnic religion were not the final determinants of the kind of person God would seek.
8. Jesus' Revelation, the Woman's Witness (4:25–30)
The woman apparently has accepted Jesus' authority to speak as a prophet of some sort (4:19). After Jesus explains the true worship the Father seeks, a worship that transcends merely geographical and ethnic religion (4:20–24), he reveals that he is the authoritative figure who can settle the questions both Jew and Gentile share (4:25–26). Jesus has offered more forthright revelation to this woman than to other characters in the Gospel to this point (with the possible exception of Nathanael, and there he merely acknowledges Nathanael's own confession)–certainly more than Nicodemus. Now she shares this revelation with her own people, who in turn come to find Jesus for themselves (4:29–30).
8A. The Taheb Is Coming (4:25–26)
The woman does not understand what Jesus is saying, but gives forth the bit of eschatology she does know: when the Messiah comes,5571 he will explain the rest of these details. It is possible that «she grasps the messianic bearing of the reference to worship in Spirit and truth.»5572 Perhaps by using the term «messiah»5573 the Fourth Gospel has her appeal to a concept shared by both Jews and Samaritans (cf. Josephus Ant. 18.85–87), but the Samaritan concept most equivalent to the Jewish messiah appears to be quite different from the Jewish concept. They spoke not of a Davidic messiah, nor actually much of an «anointed» (messianic) agent per se, but of the «Taheb,» the «restorer,» a prophet like Moses.5574 Like Moses (see comment on 6:15), the Taheb would also rule.5575
As best as we can tell, they believed that the era of divine favor (rahutha) ended soon after Moses, in the time of Eli, with Israel's religious practices becoming defiled from Samuel's time onward. The era of divine displeasure (panutha) now prevailed, but the Taheb, the prophet like Moses, would restore the era of divine favor.5576 So central was the new Moses idea to the Taheb's mission that the Samaritan Pentateuch places Deut 18near the Ten Commandments of Exod 20.5577 If members of John's audience could be expected to catch the allusion, the greater-than-Moses imagery in John 4 would reinforce the picture of Jesus as the Taheb.5578
Although it is important to affirm again the uncertainty of our knowledge of many Samaritan beliefs in this period, it мая be relevant that Samaritans apparently expected the Taheb to be a sort of teacher, as in 4:25.5579 Some later Jewish rabbis, who turned even Elijah into a halakist,5580 also expected the messiah to explain the nature of God's redemption when he would come.5581 It мая be significant that her term for «announce» (άναγγέλλω) is concentrated in Isaiah, where it often applies to the proclamation of redemption (e.g., Isa 52:5).5582
Jesus then reveals his identity to the woman: «I, the one speaking with you, am he» (4:26). This is the climax to which the narrative has been building; one мая compare accounts of disguised heroes listening to others longing for their coming and finally revealing themselves to those who awaited them.5583 Though even Mark мая restrict the Messianic Secret primarily to Israel (Mark 5:19), the nature of Jesus' revelation to the woman is extraordinary and contrasts starkly with his veiled allusions to Nicodemus. Jesus' particular words, έγώ είμι, are naturally construed to mean, «I am (he),» as they normally would in such a dialogue (e.g., 9:9);5584 but given the more explicitly christological use of έγώ είμι in John's discourses elsewhere, we мая suspect that we have here another double entendre pointing to a deeper identity than the Taheb (see 8:58; cf. 6:20; 8:28; 18:5).5585 The entire phrase is quite close to the LXX of Isa 52:6, where God is speaking: έγώ είμι αυτός ό λαλών.5586
8Β. The Disciples Return (4:27)
When the disciples find Jesus speaking with a woman, they are amazed (4:27).5587 As noted above (comment on 4:7), some Jewish sages had warned against speaking with women in public, and society was still more suspicious of private conversations. In the Greek world as well, philosophers and moralists who associated with women drew criticism.5588 Some virtuous men of the remote past were even thought to have divorced their wives for having been seen speaking with a man, especially if his reputation was questionable.5589 Yet if the criterion of dissimilarity establishes anything, one matter it would establish is that women did in fact travel with Jesus (Mark 15:40–41; Luke 8:2–3). The Gospels choose not to report the scandal this practice мая have caused in more conservative circles of sages.
That the woman would have appeared to be a disreputable woman would have made the matter all the more scandalous. Jesus' violation of various other social customs would have made him suspect (e.g., Mark 7:5), and this breach of traditional propriety could have increased rumors about him if it became known among the Pharisees. The surprise of the disciples here provides «a foil to highlight the scandal of what Jesus has done.»5590 In the Fourth Gospel, Jesus' miraculous works (5:20; 7:21; 9:30) and teachings (3:7; 5:28; 7:15) often cause astonishment; here it is his crossing of strict social boundaries.
But not only does the narrative underscore the social scandal of Jesus' activity; it underscores the disciples' trust in him: John emphasizes that no one asked him why he was talking with her.5591 Although John does not play down Peter's denials (13:38; 18:25,27), he does emphasize that Jesus himself (more than his disciples' cowardice) was responsible for his disciples' escape at Gethsemane (18:7–9); the loyalty of disciples could contribute to a teacher's honor or dishonor,5592 and John here praises Jesus through the loyalty of his disciples in a circumstance less fearful than martyrdom (cf. 11:16). Similarly, because R. Joshua was a great teacher, his disciples thought the best of him and no one suggested that he had done anything wrong when he was locked in a house with a beautiful woman.5593
The narrative technique here is interruption: after Jesus has finished his climactic revelation, an interruption is appropriate.5594 The wording might also implicitly allude to Gen 29:9, though the coincidence of language мая be accidental, perhaps from recent meditation on that passage which otherwise informs this one at several points. In Genesis, while Jacob was still speaking, Rachel came with her father's sheep, for she was a shepherdess.
8C. The Woman Announces Jesus (4:28–30)
John reports that the woman abandoned her waterpot (4:28), signifying that she was more concerned with the water of eternal life than the natural water she had originally come to seek (4:7, 11, 15).5595 Because John employs the same term in 2:6–7, we мая infer a continuation of the replacement motif highlighted there and frequently in John's water motif.5596 Just as Jesus' gift is greater than the waters of ritual purity, it is greater than the gift of Jacob's wel1. For John's biblically informed audience, the term used мая also allude to Gen 24:14–46, which accounts for nine of the seventeen uses of υδρία in the LXX. In that passage Rebekah runs home when she learns the identity of the person with whom she was speaking (Gen 24:28; see also Exod 2:20); here the Samaritan woman runs to her people after a revelation of her conversant's identity. Her claim that he revealed all that she had done (4:27) overstates the case,5597 but мая suggest that she had defined herself, as much of her society would have, in terms of her past history with men; it also fits Jesus' revelation of peoplés character when they encounter him (1:42, 47; 15:22).
The Samaritan woman's words of invitation («Come, see,» 4:29) explicitly echo the witness of Philip in 1(see comment there).5598 No less than Philip, she becomes a model for witness; in this case, however, she brings virtually an entire town!5599 (As noted on 1and 1:46, «come and see» was a frequent phrase, including for halakic investigation.)5600 It is possible that it мая also be relevant that her οΰτός έστιν, although phrased as part of a question, fits the Johannine language of confession by the faith it prefigures (1:15, 30, 33, 34; 4:42; 6:14, 50, 58; 7:40–41).5601 The narrative thus places her on a par with Jesus' other disciples who brought his message to the world (cf. 17:20).5602 (Maccini doubts the connection with Philip, contrasting the two narratives;5603 but the differences are dictated by the necessity of the different story lines, and are not substantial enough to reduce the positive comparison between the two characters.) Granted, once they encounter Jesus for themselves, they are no longer dependent on her testimony (4:41–42) as they were at first (4:39); but it was likewise Nathanael's encounter with Jesus, not solely Philip's testimony, that led to Nathanael's confession (1:47–49). Like the Baptist and all other witnesses, she must now decrease so Christ the object of faith мая increase (cf. 3:30).5604
This narrative fits a pattern that includes women's testimony and faith (2:3–5; 11:27; 12:8; 20:18) and мая suggest that John, like Paul (Rom 16:1–7,12; Phil 4:2–3),5605 affirmed the value of women's testimony to Christ (cf. perhaps further 4:36–37), as much as that affirmation would have run against the grain of parts of their culture.5606 Some doubt that John is interested in paradigmatic roles for women disciples pro or con, his overriding interest being Christology.5607 While John's overriding interest is Christology, that Christology has implications for discipleship that do appear to transcend boundaries of gender in this Gospe1. Many other scholars think that John presents positively the model of women in discipleship or ministry (although a number of the studies are geared more toward application or apologetic concerns).5608 Some suggest that they provide positive discipleship models but not to the same extent as apostles, the official witnesses;5609 but this proposal appears to read non-Johannine categories into the Gospel, which nowhere speaks of apostles. The women disciples мая, indeed, prove more faithful in their discipleship than «the Twelve» (6:70–71); cf. 16:32; 19:25–27.
9. Fulfilling His Mission (4:31–38)
Into the midst of the account of the conversion of the Samaritans (4:28–30, 39) the text interjects a theological interpretation of how this conversion occurred in God's purposes. Jesus' food, his very life, was to fulfill the Father's will, a mission he then portrays as an urgent harvest (cf. Matt 9:37–38). Despite his physical weakness (4:6), reaching the Samaritans was more important to him than eating physical food. The disciples urged Jesus to eat, which ancient readers would have judged appropriate behavior for them.5610 Many stories recounted protagonists who, for grief or other reasons, stubbornly refused to eat and had to be urged by those who cared about them;5611 the stories probably depict something of the reality of ancient Mediterranean mourning.
This picture does not deny the Johannine Jesus' full humanity.5612 Jesus here does not strictly refuse physical food, and an ancient audience, aware of the demands of hospitality, would recognize that Jesus ends up with not only logding but physical food (4:40). The issue is not docetism (cf. 1:14), but priorities; his mission takes precedence over his comfort, foreshadowing his thirst at the cross (19:28). Jesus' mission involved not just one meal, but an entire harvest of spiritual food that was on the way (4:34–38). In context, the narrative probably contrasts Jesus' commitment with that of the disciples. The disciples had gone into a Samaritan town with apparently little effect on the populace; Jesus had ministered to one woman and brought the entire town to himself.
Jesus here challenges his disciples just as he had challenged the woman earlier in the narative: he invited her to embrace a gift of water she did not understand (4:10, ήδεις), and now informs his disciples of spiritual food they do not understand (4:32, οϊδατε).5613 Others in the ancient Mediterranean employed the image of food metaphorically, for example, good conversation as food for the soul (Ulpian of Tyre)5614 or food as a symbol for Scripture and the exposition of Scripture;5615 the Gospel returns to this theme more fully in ch. 6 (where again some interpret his comments about food too literally, 6:52–60; cf. Mark 8:14–21). Jesus here applies the food image specifically to doing God's wil1. Jesus' desire to do the Father's will appears elsewhere in John (5:30; 6:38)5616 and early Christian literature (e.g., Mark 14:36; Gal 1:4). «Completing» (cf. τελειώσω, from τελειόω, in 4:34) the work the Father had given him also recurs in John (5:36; 17:4), especially in the cross (19:28; cf. also τελέω in 19:30; for his work see 5:17; 17:4). Jewish piety could praise as worthy of divine reward those who loved God enough to sacrifice food and earthly treasures (e.g., 1 En. 108:8–9), and emphasized seeking the fulfillment of God's will more than life.5617
Jesus мая have drawn an illustration from local agriculture, pointing to fields still four months from the harvest (4:35). While this explanation is possible, it assumes large chronological gaps in John's story world: Jesus went to Jerusalem for Passover, in апреля (2:13); he baptized in Judea for an indeterminate period after this (3:22); now four months before the harvest would place the conversation in the following winter around late декабря through early февраля,5618 hardly the best time of year to travel5619 and well before the next major pilgrimage festival of Pesach. But the chronological gaps are not a major problem; while they do not usually characterize his style (cf. 1:29,35,39,43; 2:1), the story world assumes them in the passing from one festival to another (e.g., 6:4; 11:55). Another view, however, seems more likely.
Many commentators think «four months, then the harvest» was probably a proverb otherwise unknown to us.5620 The proverb might mean, «Labor hard in sowing now, and in four months we shall reap.» Egyptians harvested grain four to five months after plowing,5621 and the interim between sowing and reaping in Palestine ranges from four to six months.5622 It is also possible that some treated the length of four months until the harvest as an excuse not to labor in the present; farmers could relax and feast more in winter.5623 The image should not have been unfamiliar elsewhere in the Mediterranean, whether or not the proverb was known; although some planting was in the fall, most was in the spring,5624 and in most of the Mediterranean grain usually ripened in early summer.5625 The exact timing is less certain and less important; part of this depends on whether Jesus envisions the barley harvest (more easily seen as «white») or the wheat harvest.5626 The nearness of the harvest after sowing мая also imply eschatological abundance, as in Amos 9:13;5627 Jesus elsewhere used harvest as an end-time image (Matt 9:37–38; 13:39; Mark 4:29; Luke 10:2), as did some of his contemporaries.5628 When Jesus calls on his disciples to «lift their eyes» (4:35; cf. 6:5; 17:1), he employs a regular Semitic idiom for «look» (e.g., Gen 13:10, 14; 18:2; 22:4, 13; 24:63–64; 43:29; Jer 13:20).5629
Sowing undoubtedly refers to sowing God's message, as elsewhere in the Jesus tradition (Mark 4par.; 12:1–12 par.; Matt 13:24);5630 the agricultural wisdom enshrined here, that one might sow yet another perform other aspects of the task, continued to be cited in early Christianity (1Cor 3:6–7).5631 The «fruit» here probably refers to new believers (12:24) rather than behavior (15:2–16); the common Johannine phrase «eternal life» probably alludes at least in part to Jesus' promise to the Samaritan woman in 4:14. Thus Jesus could «send» his disciples (cf. 20:21) to reap where others had «labored» (4:38; the term includes Jesus [4:6]). Commentators differ regarding the identity of the sowers and reapers here. Some have taken the sower to represent the patriarchs and prophets paving the way for the apostles (Irenaeus Haer. 4.23.1); others have suggested John the Baptist and his movement, who paved the way for Jesus' mission in this region (3:23) and who did in fact «rejoice» (4:36) with Jesus (3:29);5632 many today take the sower to represent Jesus, or the Father and Jesus (cf. Mark 4:3, 14).5633 In the most immediate context, Jesus мая refer to himself and the Samaritan woman (hence the plural άλλοι), who brought the town to him (4:29–30, 39).5634 (Others argue that the sowers are the Samaritan Christians on the Johannine level of interpretation.)5635 Although the principle looks beyond them, it мая be significant that some of the disciples Jesus addresses as reapers in this story world later participated in the Samaritan mission, as much of John's ideal audience мая have known (Acts 8:14–17).5636
In 4:37, Jesus мая be transforming a proverb about «the inequity and futility of human life"–though one мая sow, there is no guarantee that the sower will be the one to reap the benefit of the sowing.5637 In any case, the sower and reaper share the same reward as if each had done all the labor, a concept that should have been readily intelligible in early Jewish rhetoric.5638
10. The Faith of the Samaritans (4:39–42)
John plays on a contrast with faith δια τόν λόγον of the woman (4:39) and that of Jesus (4:41).5639 Like Nathanael, the Samaritans' initial level of faith is based on another's testimony (4:39), which is acceptable for initial faith (15:26–27; 17:20; 20:30–31). Once they «come» and «see» (4:29; cf. 1:46), however, they progress to a firsthand faith (4:42), which characterizes true disciples (10:3–4, 14–15). Thus the Samaritans do not denigrate the woman's testimony in 4:42; rather, they confirm it.5640
Jesus stayed with the Samaritans briefly (4:40), but long enough for them to get to know him more fully and respond to him appropriately (4:41–42; cf. 1:39). Mediterranean culture in general heavily emphasized hospitality, from classical Greek5641 through Roman5642 and modern times;5643 pagans held that the chief deity was the protector of guests, hence guarantor of hospitality.5644 This general statement was also true in particular of Mediterranean Jewry, especially toward fellow members of their minority in the Diaspora.5645 One should not show hospitality to false teachers,5646 such as Jewish and Samaritan teachers would regard each other to be, but Jesus had surmounted the usual Samaritan mistrust of Jews. Thus it would have been rude for the Samaritans not to offer hospitality and rude for Jesus to have refused once they insisted, though he does not stay long. That another passage in the gospel tradition indicates that Jesus sought lodging in Samaria мая indicate the friendship Jesus shared with some Samaritans (Luke 9:52); if that account is later in Jesus' ministry than this one (as it must be if, as in Luke, that occasion is linked with Jesus' final journey to Jerusalem), it мая also suggest that Jesus' plan to go to Jerusalem (Luke 9:53) severely disappointed them.5647 Then again, John actually recounts the conversion of «many» in only one Samaritan village, which could include fewer than a hundred adults despite the symbolic value he grants it; on the historical level, it is difficult to press this text's portrait against Lukés different claims about Samaritan responses (Luke 9:51–56; Acts 8:4–25).5648
But the Samaritans receive Jesus with more than hospitality here; the pattern of going to meet him (4:40a), inviting him to the town (4:40b), and calling him Savior (4:42b) fits the way peoples embraced rulers, especially the emperor.5649 The Samaritan confession of Jesus as the «savior of the world» (4:42) is significant. First, it shows that they embraced the «salvation» which was «of the Jews» (4:22). Second, believers outside Judea (in Samaria and just before a transition to Galilee) acknowledge the universality of Jesus' rule.5650 Pagans regularly employed the title «savior» for deities like Zeus,5651 and other deities,5652 as well as for exalted human benefactors (like rulers) and heroes.5653 The title would perhaps most easily evoke the emperor,5654 who ruled the Samaritans but now found competition in Christ;5655 but Jews would find in it a biblical term, especially applicable to their deity (Isa 43:3, 11; 45:15, 21).5656 «Savior of the world» seems to have become a recognized title for Jesus in Johannine circles (1 John 4:14; cf. John 12:47); both Jewish and Gentile early Christians employed the title.5657
Received in Galilee (4:43–54)
Untrustworthy disciples (2:23–3:9) and hints of hostility (4:1–3) characterized Jesus' reception in Judea; by contrast, Samaria (4:4–42) and Galilee (4:43–54) received his ministry. It is important to remember that John works with context but not with a tightly structured outline such as we follow here. The faith of the Samaritans (4:39–42) cannot be separated from the response of the Galileans, and the contrast with rejection by Judea. Together we could title the entire section «His Own Received Him Not» (4:39–45). But because 4:39–42 is part of the Samaritan woman account and 4:42–45 provides the transition into another Galilean story (4:46–54), it cannot get the unified treatment in our outline that it deserves.
1. Prophet without Honor (4:43–45)
The Galileans received Jesus because they had seen «the things he had done at the feast» (4:45), perhaps referring primarily to his overturning the tables in the temple (2:18), though signs might be included (cf. 3:2; 7:3–4). If the former is in view, it suggests that many Galilean pilgrims to the temple were annoyed at the way the temple establishment or merchants acted; in any case it reinforces the cultural divide between Judea and Galilee implied throughout this Gospel and the gospel tradition.
It is in this context that Jesus speaks of rejection by his «country» or «fatherland.» Onés «fatherland» tended to be an object of great loyalty, even to the death (Isocrates To Philip 55, Or. 5).5658 Scholars debate the meaning of the «country» in which Jesus would have no honor. He left Samaria after two days because a prophet has no honor in his own country; but Samaria was honoring him, and Samaria was hardly «his own country.» Many insist that Jesus' «fatherland» in this Gospel is Galilee, since it seems clear in this Gospel that Jesus hails from there.5659 They argue correctly that Jesus was more welcomed by the Samaritans than by the Galileans,5660 so it is not impossible that Galilee is his «country» that rejects him here. But while Galilee was Jesus' own country in some sense, that observation belongs primarily to others (e.g., 1:45–46; 7:3,41, 52), whereas his true, ultimate origin is heaven (3:13, 31; 6:38,51);5661 thus the question of origin apart from the question of rejection cannot settle the object of the saying. It is not primarily Galilee that rejects him in this Gospel (see our introduction, ch. 5).
Thus the writer seems to indicate that Judea was Jesus' own country.5662 John here provides not so much «a historical judgment» as «a theological one.»5663 After all, as messiah, Jesus would be a son of David (cf. 7:42), and of Judahite descent (4:9; 18:35), according to the flesh (1:14; Rom 1:3), even if he was also more than a son of David (Mark 12:36–37). Perhaps more critically, the ideal reader recalls 1:11: Jesus came to «his own,» and they did not receive him. His own are «Jews» (4:9; 18:35), «Judeans» in the broad sense of the term, which allows for a contrast with the welcome reception by the Samaritans.5664 Further, in this context the Galileans explicitly welcome him (4:45).5665 Thus the writer applies the saying quite differently from Synoptic writers, who apply it to Nazareth (Mark 6:4; Matt 13:57; Luke 4:24).5666 John probably also reflects here the assumption that his audience knows and accepts the tradition in which Jesus was born in Bethlehem (see comment on 7:42).
The idea that a prophet was unwelcome in his own land fits a variety of sayings about philosophers5667 and prophets5668 already circulating in this period. Jewish tradition long emphasized that Israel had rejected and persecuted its prophets, amplifying the biblical foundation for this tradition (Jer 26:11, 23; 1 Kgs 18:4; 19:10; 2 Chr 36:15–16; Neh 9:26).5669 The basic saying appears in all four gospels (Matt 13:57; Mark 6:4; Luke 4:24), but John's version (4:44) мая be the «closest to the original» form.5670 By dishonoring Jesus, God's agent, they were dishonoring God himself (5:23; cf. 8:49); by contrast, those who served Jesus would receive honor from God (12:26; cf. 12:43). Jesus meanwhile would receive glory from the Father, whereas his accusers sought glory only from each other (5:41,44).
2. A Galilean Aristocrat Learns Faith (4:46–54)
This pericope is linked with the preceding narrative both geographically (Samaria and Galilee as opposed to Judea) and in terms of their unorthodox respondents to Jesus.5671 The Samaritans received Jesus' ministry (4:4–42); here Galileans sought Jesus for miracles. Jesus' deliberate return to Galilee (4:43–45) leads to another mention of «Cana of Galilee,» with a conscious reference to Jesus' first miracle there (4:46; cf. 2:1–11). Every reference to Cana in this Gospel explicitly adds its connection with Galilee (2:1, 11; 4:46; 21:2); this could be to distinguish it from some other «Cana» elsewhere, but because its mention in 2comes so quickly after 2:1, when the reader would not need a reminder, it мая be intended to draw attention to its representative Galilean character.5672 A geographical inclusio mentioning Galilee explicitly brackets the entire unit (4:43, 54).5673
The connection with the «first» Cana miracle suggests a comparison of the two stories.5674 In the first story Jesus' mother is the suppliant and responds to Jesus' rebuke by refusing to take no for an answer (2:3–5); in this passage the royal official acts in the same manner (4:48–50).5675 In both cases Jesus works a sign but invites those entreating him to a level of faith higher than signs-faith. Presumably Jesus' mother surmounts his rebuke based on confidence in Jesus whereas this story includes a greater element of desperation, but on the formal level they share the same insistence that refuses to be deterred. Indeed, this man offers initial faith without a sign, in contrast to Nicodemus (2:23; 3:2) and the Samaritan woman (4:18–19). The link with the first Cana miracle, a secret miracle which is tightly connected with the temple dispute which follows it (2:13–23), мая also help the reader of the second Cana miracle to anticipate the bitter public debates about to come (5:16–18). Jesus' rebuff challenges not only the man but the broader constituency of mere signs-faith that he represents (in 4the «you» is plural).5676
Many Galileans probably would not have identified with this royal official, who to some will appear as suspicious as the Samaritan woman to whose story this brief one is appended. Many relatives of the Herodian family and other aristocrats lived in the wealthy center Tiberias (Josephus Life 32–34), conspicuous for its near omission from the Gospels (6:23). Antipas built Tiberias on a graveyard, rendering it unclean (Josephus Ant. 18.36–38), and most Galileans disliked Tiberias (Josephus Life 98–99). The current ruler, Antipas, was diplomatic enough to use aniconic coinage, but seemed mostly «oblivious to the religious-cultural sensitivities of his subjects,» as displayed in his use of animal representations (Life 65), his location for Tiberias, and his marriage to Herodias (Ant. 18.136).5677
Members of John's audience more knowledgeable about the Herodian dynasty cannot even be sure of this suppliant's orthodoxy; Antipas's agoranomos in the year 29/30 C.E. was apparently a Gentile,5678 and later in the first century, Jewish Galileans were very angry that some servants of Galileés ruler, Agrippa II, were not Jewish by religion (Josephus Life 149).5679 If members of Johns audience were familiar with the story of a Gentile centurion in Capernaum preserved for us in Matthew and Luke (Matt 8:5; Luke 7:1), they мая also think of a connection with the Roman establishments military presence.5680 Thus some might picture this royal officer as a pagan,5681 though he could as easily be a Herodian Jew whom John merely allows to stand ambiguously for Hellenism. (Kysar suggests that, though it is unclear whether he is Jewish or Gentile, John might want his audience to envision the man as a Gentile to continue the contrast between the faith of the Samaritans and the unbelief of his own people.)5682 Whitacre opines that even if he were Jewish, serving at Herod's court might appear nearly equally scandalous.5683 Economic incentives мая also have driven initial distaste for this figure. Little evidence supports «royal estates» in Galilee, lands ruled by the king and worked by peasants, in the early first century; but high royal officials and wealthy priests controlled much of the land.5684 His need, however, brings him to the same level as any other suppliant.5685
Some other ancient miracle accounts include one person offering a petition on behalf of another, though the preponderance of extant requests are for the petitioner himself or herself.5686 More specifically, rabbinic tradition recounts a late-first-century C.E. miracle of Hanina ben Dosa that resembles the miracle in John's story (especially in the long-distance healing and confirmation).5687 The point, however, is different: whereas the rabbinic tale exalts God who answers prayer, this report exalts Jesus.5688 The long-distance healing at another's request also bears some resemblance to the healing of the centurion's servant in the common tradition shared by Matthew and Luke.5689 Some think that John here depends on an independent tradition originally recounting the same event reported by Matthew and Luke;5690 the similarities are few enough, however, to allow the possibility that the traditions recount two distinct events.5691 The strongest parallel between this account and that of the centurion's servant is the long-distance healing, which is also reported in the story of the socially elite Syro-Phoenician woman.5692 Still, the mention of Capernaum in both мая be significant; though central to Jesus' ministry in the Synoptics, it is mentioned there only eleven times. He did many miracles there (Matt 11:23; Mark 1:21–26; 2:1–12; Luke 4:23), but the only specific miracle Q reports there was the healing of a prominent outsider's dependent (Matt 8:5; Luke 7:1). What мая be significant about all these stories is that together they reinforce the picture that long-distance healings were regarded as especially miraculous.5693
The possibility of a suppliant lacking in faith мая not have surprised ancient readers; thus the Epidauros inscriptions report many who came to the sanctuary for healing yet scoffed when they saw the reports of healings. Then Asclepius appeared to them in dreams, and they believed and were healed.5694 As in this narrative, in which the royal official hears of the healer (4:47), people were often referred to healing sanctuaries or healers.5695 Words of assurance (4:50) were also common in miracle stories,5696 though reports of sending away (4:50) are much rarer.5697 Instant healings were sometimes reported.5698
Central to the story is the contrast between the two occasions of faith in the account, one preceding the sign, and the other signs-faith, but in this case a signs-faith that confirms faith.5699 Juxtaposed with the man who experiences a sign yet betrays Jesus (5:11–15), this incident reveals that signs мая, yet need not, lead to faith.5700 The faith of the «whole household» (4:53) was a natural corollary of the sign and the faith of their pater familias, head of the household (Acts 10:2; 16:31–32; 18:8). The Roman world expected families to share the faith of the head of the household,5701 and while exceptions to this expectation were frequent, they remained a minority of instances.
The request for Jesus to «come down» reflects the fact that Capernaum, on the lake and nearly seven hundred feet below the level of the Mediterranean sea, was lower in elevation than Cana.5702 If one assumes a fifteen-mile walk and the word of healing being spoken at the seventh hour (1P.M., in 4:52), it is not surprising that the man is met by his servants the day after his sons healing (4:50–52).5703 Except during protracted marches, people often travelled only twenty miles in a day, and would start early in the morning. The father undoubtedly stopped in a town on the way before the approach of dusk, resuming his trek along the same road in the morning. Some have suggested that his failure to show greater urgency in returning home merely reflects his confidence.5704 That the healing occurred simultaneously with Jesus' announcement underlines the long-distance character of the miracle, hence its dramatic impact.5705
When the suppliant fears that if Jesus delays, his son will die (4:49), he prefigures Marthás and Mary's assurance that Jesus could help Lazarus, but only in the present life (11:21, 32). John normally avoids the verb ζώ and noun ζωή except when referring to eternal life, but makes an exception here.5706 Is it possible that John intends the restoration of life here as an allusion to Christ's gift of eternal life (cf. 11:23–26)?5707 If so, it prefigures the announcement that Jesus raises the dead in the following story (5:25).5708 One accustomed to Semitic figures of speech could use «live» to express recovery from a terminal illness no less than recusitation from death (2 Kgs 8:9; 1 Kgs 17:23); «The twofold meaning is convenient for John's theological purpose.»5709 For the more biblically informed among John's audience, «your son lives» probably also verbally alludes to Elijah's pronouncement in 1 Kgs 17:23. The man believed Jesus' «word» about his son's living (John 4:50); Jesus' words indeed proved to be life (6:63). Prophets, too, could speak God's message and it come to pass, but were not always immediately effective (2 Kgs 4:28–36). In the whole of John's theology, Jesus' ability to speak and it be done undoubtedly recalls God's creative work (Gen 1:3–30; cf. John 1:3). The official's household believes with him (4:53), as often happened in early Christianity (Acts 10:2; 11:14; 16:15, 31–34; 18:8).5710 Such a pattern is not surprising, since members of a family usually adopted the religion of the head of the household (exceptions were often cause of complaints by dominant religious establishments).5711
At the heart of the story is the assertion that even a royal official in Galilee could respond to Jesus, though in this case only with signs-faith; such a moral naturally connects it with the account of the Samaritan woman's faith.5712
* * *
Or, less likely, as paralleling the witnesses cited by Jesus in 5:31–47.
E.g., Sanders, John, 137; Fortna, «Locale,» 83; Witherington, Women, 57.
Sanders, John, 137; Koester, Symbolism, 48–51; see other comments there. This was an ancient technique (e.g., 1Sam 1:13–16; 2:17–18; 16:12–14; Matt 2:1–18) and appears particularly conspicuous in John 5 and 9.
In all extant early Palestinian Jewish sources, including inscriptions, fewer than 10 percent of women are named (Ilan, «Distribution»).
See Munro, «Pharisee» (preferring the description «parallel» to «contrast»).
King, «Sychar,» pointing to the sixth hour (4:6; 19:14) and Jesus' thirst (4:7; 19:28); cf. also γύναι (vocative, in 2:4; 4:21; 19:26; 20:13,15).
That ancients classified character types (esp. Theophrastus Char.; cf. ηθοποιία, e.g., in Anderson, Glossary, 60–61) makes Jesus' implicit identification of his interlocutor with this kind of worshiper all the more striking.
Stauffer, Jesus, 70–71, thinks the parable of Luke 10 genuinely reflects Jesus' view toward Samaritans.
Borsch, «Exemplars»; Kopas, «Women»; Schindler, «Women.» Cf. Schottroff, «Wanderprophetinnen,» on Q. Their discipleship is multiply attested (Mark 15:40; Luke 8:1–3; John 19:25).
Women's support of movements tended to reflect negatively on those movements among their critics, including early Pharisaism (Sanders, Figure, 109; Ilan, «Attraction»); this potential for scandal militates against the invention of this tradition by later Christians (Witherington, Women, 117; Sanders, Figure, 109).
See more fully my argument for this in Keener, Paul; idem, "Woman."
See Keener, Matthew, 291; cf. Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 174–75. God's welcome to sinners does appear in early Judaism (e.g., Jos. Asen.; Dschulnigg, «Gleichnis»).
Many scholars note that both stories (Mark 7:24–30; John 4:1–42) address crossing barriers; e.g., Gundry-Volf, «Spirit.»
E.g„ Bonneau, «Woman,» 1252; Glasson, Moses, 57; Nielsen, «M0det."The editor of the three stories in the Pentateuch clearly intended them to be read together (e.g., briefly, Keener, «Interracial Marriage,» 8).
The two wells were conflated in tradition (McNamara, Targum, 145–46). Brown, John, l:lxi, thinks John мая cite Palestinian Targumim in 4:6, 12.
Bonneau, «Woman,» 1254.
Reportedly Tannaitic tradition in Exod. Rab. 1suggests that Moses rescued them from either rape or drowning.
Bonneau, «Woman,» 1255.
Cf. Olsson, Structure, 151.
Neyrey, «Traditions,» notes the abundance of Jacob traditions in 4:10–26.
Brown, Community, 37.
See our comments on authorship and redaction in the introduction, ch. 3; cf. esp. Johnson, Real Jesus, 100.
Morris, Studies, 146–51; Witherington, Women, 58; Infante, «Samaritana»; cf. Fortnás comments on redaction of the pre-Johannine story («Locale,» 83).
Witherington, Christology, 53–54, tentatively following Linnemann, «Taufer,» 226–33; cf. Stauffer, Jesus, 68–69. Jesus also withdrew from public opposition at various points in the Synoptic tradition (Matt 4:12; 12:15; 14:13; 15:21; Mark 3:7; Luke 9:10; 22:41; in John, 6:15). Because the transition in 4"is very awkward,» it could indicate redaction at some stage (Perkins, Reading, 244).
On this latter point, cf. Schlier, «Begriff,» 265.
Cf. Acts 10and the comment in Haenchen, Acts, 354.
Freed, «Samaritan Converts»; idem, «Samaritan Influence»; Purvis, «Samaritans»; Buchanan, «Samaritan Origin.» Bowman, «Studies,» thinks John corrects Samaritan ideas. Pamment, «Samaritan Influence,» is right to question many of these arguments.
Besides Lukés interest (Luke 10:33), later evidence мая remain of the successes. Though Justin hailed from Neapolis, he provides little data; but some have suggested the discovery of a Samaritan-Christian synagogue (see Dion and Pummer, «Note»).
Cf. Lindemann, «Samaria.»
Cf., e.g., CP] 3:103, §513; 3:105, §514; Kraabel, «Evidence»; Van der Horst, «Diaspora»; in Thessalonica, Levinskaya, Diaspora Setting, 156; Llewelyn, New Documents, 8:148–51, §12.
Van der Horst, «Samaritans.»
The need for such an explanation as 4suggests «that the reader has had little or no dealings with Jews, or Samaritans either» (Culpepper, Anatomy, 218). In other gospel traditions, see Matt 10:5; Luke 9:52; 10:33; 17:16.
Smith, Johannine Christianity, 27.
Scott, Customs, 199. Cf. also Christian elements in MacDonald, Samaritans, 419ff., passim. Thus the danger of reading Samaritan influence in other documents, whether John or the Qumran Scrolls (e.g., Ford, «Influence»).
See, e.g., 4Q158 fig. 6, expanding Exod 20:19–21 (Wise, Scrolls, 201–2).
Some writers consider the Samaritans syncretistic (e.g., Reicke, Era, 27–30), but often so were popular Judaism and Christianity. For Samaritan phylacteries and amulets, see Gaster, Studies, l:387ff.; cf. also Di Segni, «Toponym.»
Bruce, Acts: Greek, 183; idem, Commentary, 177; Judge, Pattern, 13.
E.g., Josephus Ant. 15.292–296; Strabo Geog. 16.2.34. On Herod's palace there, see Barag, «Castle»; for his temple to Caesar, Josephus War 1.403; Ant. 15.298.
A divine title in PGM 4.640; perhaps L.A.B. 16:5; T. Ab. 17:11A; p. Meg. 1:9, §17; Luke 22:69; 1Cor 1:24. «Powerful one of God» would be a more subdued claim (Jos. Asen. 4:7), but Simon claims to be an epiphany (see Ramsay, Discovery, 117–18; Haenchen, Acts, 303).
See Casey, «Simon,» 151–63; Munck, Acts, 305–8. Such a pagan male/female dyad the tradition suggests appears in other polemical sources (e.g., Irenaeus Haer. 1.1.1; Pesiq. Rab. 20:2) and мая reflect ideas prevalent among Samaritans influenced by Sebastés paganism (see Flusser, «Goddess,» 18–20).
Attempted hellenization began there as early as 2Macc 6:2, but as in Jerusalem, its success was probably qualified.
Fortna, «Locale,» 83. Olsson, Structure, 143–44, notes the movement but thinks that Jesus' homeland is Jerusalem.
Some view this as the reason here, e.g., Sanders, John, 138.
Galileans apparently often preferred this route for its speed; see Josephus War 2.232; Ant. 10.118. Some later teachers regarded Samaritan territory as unclean (early Amora in b. Hag. 25a; cf. p. Hag. 3:4, §1), but this would have deterred most travelers no more than Tiberias's or Sepphoris's uncleanness deterred even later rabbis from eventually settling there!
Some suggest that stricter Jews avoided the route through Samaria (Morris, John, 255); but even stories of pious rabbis traveling through Samaria (e.g., Gen. Rab. 32:10; 81:3) suggest that in practice this principle was not often followed.
Brown, John, 1:169; Michaels, John, 59.
Boers, Mountain, 154–55.
The remaining instances also refer to divine necessity (3:7; 4:20, 24), but not to compulsion for Jesus. Revelation also applies δεΐ solely to divine necessity, in the sort of predestinarian character expected in apocalyptic texts (Rev 1:1; 4:1; 10:11; 11:5; 17:10; 20:3; 22:6). Diaspora Judaism recognized that God's purposes would be fulfilled (Sib. Or. 3.571–572); see comment on 6:43–44.
Morris, John, 255; Brown, John, 1:169; Michaels, John, 59.
Westcott, John, xii; and often or usually today, e.g., Perkins, «John,» 956.
Haenchen, John, 1:218–19, who also notes the plain of the well of «Soker» in m. Menah. 10:2, though it remains unclear if it is the same site. Although excavations have turned up little evidence for habitation in many periods in antiquity, the site was inhabited in the Herodian period (Monson, Manual, section 15–2).
Brown, John, 1:169.
E.g., Bruce, Acts: Greek, 183. Shechem probably appears as a πόλις (Acts 8:5, which is probably also anarthrous, signifying a town of the Samaritan district–Lake and Cadbury, Commentary, 89), though more justly than Askar (John 4:5).
Doeve, Hermeneutics, 112.
Cf., e.g., Philostratus Vit. Apol1. 1.6 (ΰδωρ Όρκίου Διός near Tyana); Livy 34.44.6. Various biblical wells became significant reminders of salvation history for Israel (Gen 16:14; 21:31–33). In other societies, see, e.g., Mbiti, Religions, 237.
Finegan, Archeology, 36–42.
Schnackenburg, John, 1:422.
MacGregor, John, 98; Yamauchi, Stones, 103; Bruce, John, 104.
E.g., Euripides E1. 309.
E.g., Euripides El 55–56.
E.g., Ovid Metam. 3.36–37 (men in this case; cf. John 2:8; Mark 14:13).
E.g., Cornelius Nepos 14 (Datâmes), 11.3.
E.g., Diogenes Laertius 6.2.52 (επί φρέατι καθήμενον).
See, e.g., Plutarch T.T. 8.1.3, Mor. 717F, on Alexander.
Plutarch portrays Lysimachus's surrender because of thirst as a sign of weakness (Lysimachus 1 in S.K., Mor. 183E; cf. Chariton 3.3.17); in hot countries thirst could represent the ultimate craving (Lightfoot, Gospel, 121). Cf. John 19:28, where Jesus declares his thirst from the cross.
Pace Käsemann, the Fourth Gospel's Christology is not docetic. Jesus' later emphasis on spiritual food (4:34) locates his priorities, not denies his hunger (4:8); similarly, David was thirsty but poured out the water (2Sam 23:13–17; 1 Chr 11:15–19) because his reason subdued his passions (4 Macc 3:6–18).
The sharing of common water supplies usually facilitates interaction among local Middle Eastern women (Eickelman, Middle East, 163).
Argued by Westcott, John, 282, from Mart. Po1. 21. The best evidence for this method suggests very limited use for some legal documents, however; see Carson, John, 156–57.
Westcott, John, 68.
See comment on 1:39.
E.g., Aeschylus Sept. 430–431 (compared with lightning!); Sophocles Ant. 416; Apollonius of Rhodes 2.739; 4.1312–1313; Ovid Metam. 1.591–592; Seneca Nat. 4.2.18; Sir 43:3; Jos. Asen. 3:2/3:3.
Marshall, «Criticism,» 126.
Columella Arb. 12.1; Longus 2.4.
Sus 7 (Dan 13LXX); Aulus Gellius 17.2.10. Cf. also breaks from school at noon (Watson, «Education,» 312).
Ovid Metam. 3.143–154; Philostratus Hrk. 11.7.
Virgil Georg. 3.331–334; Longus 1.8, 25.
Livy 44.35.20; 44.36.1–2. Because of this practice, guards might be caught unprepared at midday (Thucydides 6.100.1).
Virgil Georg. 1.297–298; for another case of urgency, see Acts 26:13.
Livy 44.36.1–2; Longus 3.31; Philostratus Hrk. 15.6.
Ovid Metam. 10.126–129; also people (Alciphron Farmers 9 [Pratinas to Epigonus], 3.12, par. 1); cf. Philostratus Hrk. 3.2 for watering plants then (in the dry season).
Virgil Georg. 3.327–330, 335–338; Longus 1.8,25.
Bruce, John, 104.
E.g., Polybius 9.17.3; Silius Italicus 13.637–638; Plutarch Them. 30.1; Heliodorus Aeth. 4.8; Xenophon Eph. 1.13; Philostratus Hrk. 11.7; 16.3; 2Sam 4:5; though especially after lunch (Catullus 32.10; cf. food at the sixth hour in Alciphron Parasites 1 [Trechedeipnus to Lopadecthambus], 3.4, par. 1), which Jesus had not had (4:8, 31). Jeffers, World, 25, rightly calls it «a siesta.» An otherwise strong athlete unprepared for the heat of the sun might be weakened by it (Cicero Brutus 69.243).
E.g., Heliodorus Aeth. 2.21. This would presumably be the case even if she wore a head covering, which, being unmarried, she мая not have had (though could have).
MacGregor, John, 96; Brown, John, 1:169; Judean women also often drew water (Safrai, «Home,» 752). Cf. the Ankore of Uganda, who rest at noon and draw water about 1 P.M. (Mbiti, Religions, 25). Nevertheless, Jacob thinks «high day» (היומ גדול–cf. 7:37) an appropriate time to water the sheep (Gen 29:7), and John might possibly allude to the good shepherd (John 10:11) watering his sheep here.
Lee, Narratives, 95.
See, e.g., Dar, "Menorot" on the strictness of rural Samaria.
P. Yebam. 1:6, §1.
B. Ber. 47b.
Bowman, Documents, 299. On the Sabbath, see Weiss, «Sabbath.»
Pummer, «Samaritans»; Crown, «Schism»; Coggins, «Samaritans.»
See Magen, «Bty-knst.»
E.g., a Greek pagan prayer for Hadrian in southern Samaria (Di Segni, «Toponym»).
E.g., Josephus Ant. 15.292–296; Strabo Geog. 16.2.34; for its temple to Caesar, Josephus War 1.403; Ant. 15.298.
Josephus Ant. 4.245.
E.g., m. cAbod. Zar. 2:1.
Β. Yebam. 60b.
Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.199; 1 En. 8:1–2; Jub. 20:4; 33:20; T. Ab. 10:8A; Ascen. Isa. 2:5; t. Sanh. 13:8; Sipre Deut. 258.2.3; see further Keener, «Adultery,» 10–11. It is equivalent to prostitution (Sipra Qed. pq. 220.127.116.11–2; either мая be condemned in CD 4.17–18; 7.1; 8.5; 1QS 4.10).
E.g., Wis 14:24; L.A.B. 2:8; Syr. Men. 45–46, 240–251; T. Levi 17:11; Treat. Shem 7:15; 9:9; 10:16; at greater length, see Keener, «Adultery,» 7–10.
E.g., Tob 8:7; T. Reu. 3:3; 4:6; see further Keener, Matthew, 186–87, on Matt 5:28.
E.g, P.Eleph. 1.3–4; Dio Cassius 54.16.2; Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 11.28.4; Livy 4.4.9–11; Gaius Inst. 1.66–92; Ulpian Rules 5.8–9; cf. Arrian Ind. 12.8. In Judaism, cf., e.g., Josephus Ant. 4144–245; t. Sanh. 4:7; p. Git. 1:4,.4, $2; Ketub. V.5, $2; Qidd. 1:1, $8; 3:12,Yebam. 6:1–9:8. On the relation between Jewish and Roman codes here, see Cohen, Law, 133–36; further documentation appears in Keener, Marries, 58–60, 169–70.
E.g., Gardner, Women, 124; Rawson, «Family,» 34.
Sir 41:22; Syr. Men. 347–353; Christian influence мая exist in the public disapproval of Justinian Codex 9.25. The prohibitions, however, suggested that the temptation existed (m. 'Abot 2:7; t. Hor. 2:11; Pesiq. Rab Kah. 20:6).
E.g., Homer Od. 1.428–433; Martial Epigr. 3.33; Artemidorus Onir. 1.78; Achilles Tatius 6.20; Apuleius Metam. 3; see further Keener, «Adultery,» 12. It could deter adultery (Columella Rust. 1.8.5)
Some even viewed prostitution as a legitimate deterrent to adultery (Greek Anth. 7.403).
Epictetus Ench. 33.8. Others apparently found nothing wrong with limited male promiscuity (cf. Apollonius of Rhodes 1.842–909).
E.g., Mantitheus against Boeotus 2.8–10 (in Demosthenes, LCL 4:486–87); Plutarch Educ. 2, Mor. 1AB.
Gardner, Women, 130; Justinian Codex 9.22. Cf. honored prostitutes of higher status (e.g., Athenaeus Deipn. 13.596b; Aulus Gellius 7.7.5–7; Sipre Num. 115.5.7); many, however, entered the profession through economic necessity (Terence Lady of Andros 73–79), and most because they were slaves (Apuleius Metam. 7.9; 'Abot R. Nat. 8A; cf. Justinian Codex 9.20, 29).
See, e.g., OGIS 674 = IGRR I 1183; McGinn, «Taxation»; Lewis, Life, 141, 145, 171–72. Pay varied according to appearance and skill (e.g., CIL 4.1679).
On their being unmarried, e.g., Propertius Eleg. 2.7.7.
Diodorus Siculus 12.21.2; Cato collection of distichs 25; Aulus Gellius 15.12.2, 3.
Cf. Diogenes Ep. 44; Diogenes Laertius 6.2.61, 66; Musonius Rufus frg. 12; Artemidorus Onir. 1.78; Sallust Cati1. 14.6; Livy 23.18.12; Aulus Gellius 9.5.8. Some philosophers did not regard it as an ethical matter (Diogenes Laertius 2.69, 74; Sextus Empiricus Pyr. 3.201).
E.g., Homer Od. 6.287–288.
Diodorus Siculus 12.24.3–4; Livy 3.44.4–3.48.9.
Diodorus Siculus 15.54.3; Livy 1.58.12.
E.g., Plutarch Bride 42, 46, Mor. 144B, EF; Dio Cassius 77.16.5; Apuleius Metam. 6.22; Athenaeus Deipn. 4.167e. For the gender-based double standard, see, e.g., Euripides Pirithous frg. 1–13; Justinian Codex 9.1; but cf. also Isocrates Nic. 40, Or. 3.35; Diogenes Laertius 8.1.21. Only a few philosophers did not condemn all adultery (Diogenes Laertius 2.99).
Probably with rhetorical overstatement, Seneca Benef. 1.9.4; 3.16.3; Dia1. 12.16.3; Juvenal Sat. 4.1–20. On actual conditions, see Richlin, «Adultery.»
E.g., Euripides Hipp. 403–418; Horace Sat 1.2.38, 49, 64–100; Ep. 1.2.25–26; Carm. 1.15.19–20; Juvenal Sat. 6.231–241; Epictetus Diatr. 2.4; 2.10.18; 2.18.15; Alexander 3 in Plutarch S.K., Mor. 179E; Cornelius Nepos 15 (Epaminondas), 5.5.
Artemidorus Onir. 3.11; Sib. Or. 1.178; 3.38,204; 5.430; Ps.-Phoc. 3; cf. Epictetus Diatr. 3.3.12.
E.g., Sallust Cati1. 25.3–4; Ps.-Cicero Invective against Sallust 5.15–6.16; Appian R.H. 7.9.56; Martial Epigr. 2.47,49; 3.26.6; 6.45.4; 6.91; 9.2.
P.Ry1. 154.4 (66 C.E.).
Cf. Jos. Asen. 21:1, although definite cases of temporary premarital cohabitation are known (see Ilan, «Cohabitation»).
E.g., Whitacre, Polemic, 111. People congregated and talked at water-drawing places (cf. Judg 5:11). See further below, on 4:27.
See, e.g., Aeschines Timarchus 183; Catullus 62.46–47.
Also Ps 154:14; m. 'Abot 3:2; 'Abot R. Nat. 26, 29A; 32, §68B; p. Hag. 2:1, §9; 2:2, §5; Tacan. 3:11, §4. See especially the Essenes (cf., e.g., CD 11.4; Josephus War 2.128,132–133; Philo Good Person 76,81–82).
Also Let. Aris. 130; m. 'Abot 1:6–7; 2:9; Sipre Deut. 286.11.4; 'Abot R. Nat. 16, §36B; Ps.-Phoc. 134; 1Cor 15:33). For the warning in Greco-Roman tradition, see, e.g., Gnomologium vaticanum 460 in Malherbe, Exhortation, 110; Crates Ep. 12; Socratics Ep. 24; Diodorus Siculus 12.12.3; 12.14.1; Diogenes Laertius 1.60; in terms of skill rather than ethics, cf. Isocrates Demon. 20, Or. 1; Plutarch Educ. 6, Mor 4A.
Theophrastus Char. 29.2; Aeschines Timarchus 54–57.
Cf. Mek. Pisha 1.40–41.
Rabbis generally delegated the obtaining of supplies to their disciples (b. cAbod . Zar. 35b; Liefeld, «Preacher,» 228), as here.
Maccini, Testimony, 132. His appeal to Gen 24may miss the differences between the two eras (cf. Bordiert, John, 202); his claim that Samaritans мая have excluded women from the public sphere less than Jews (Maccini, Testimony, 133–38), even if true, was probably not something John could have expected his audience to catch without his making it explicit.
E.g., m. "Abot 1:5; t. Šabb. 1:14; b. cErub. 53b.
B. Ber. 43b, bar.
M. Ketub. 7:6.
Also T. Reu. 6:1–2; etc. A later Amora prohibited hearing a woman because women мая commit prostitution even by their voices (p. Hal1. 2:1, §10, citing Jer 3:9).
E.g., b. Ber. 43b. See in more detail Keener, Paul, 161–62, although the balance there мая be overly negative.
E.g., p. cAbod. Zar. 2:3, §1; Sotah 1:1, §7. This would apply even more so to a Jewish woman left alone with a Gentile (m. cAbod. Zar. 2:1); Samaritan women were also not highly regarded (see comment on 4:7).
E.g., Euripides E1. 343–344, though there are two men; cf. Valerius Maximus 5.3.10–12 (in Harrell, Divorce, 31); and comment on 4:27.
Theophrastus Char. 28.3, where also if they answer the door rather than a husband or porter doing so (suggesting that they have a paramour, Tibullus 1.2.7,15–24,41, 55–56).
Livy 34.2.9; 34.4.18 (195 B.C.E.). A more progressive speaker argues that this behavior is acceptable under some circumstances (34.5.7–10).
Delaney, «Seeds,» 43.
Ibid., 41. Ancient readers might consider it hard to keep a young man from women if they were around (Euripides Ale. 1052–1054).
E.g., Arrian Alex. 2.3.4. In the more urban setting of Rome, Cicero regards the men's bathing area by the Tiber as a place for promiscuous women to find intercourse (Cae1. 15.36).
E.g., b. Qidd. 9a. Wells were normal meeting places in the ancient Near East (see Sarna, Genesis, 172).
E.g., Euripides Cyc1. 96–98.
Ovid Metam. 5.446,448–450.
Ovid Metam. 6.340–341, 343–365.
Ovid Metam. 6.366–381.
As in Lam. Rab. 1:1, §19, though the girl мая be desiring reward in general rather than betrotha1.
Cf., e.g., b. Yebam. 68a.
M. Nid. 4:1; t. Nid. 5(though this reference might be construed to suggest Samaritan strictness). The tradition allegedly derives from the end of the first century, disputes from R. Tarfon and R. Akiba (b. Šabb. 17a); Daube, Judaism, 373, dates it earlier and suspects that the custom predates the ruling. The strictest Pharisees might not even eat with a menstruating woman (early tradition in t. Šabb. 1:14).
M. Tehar. 5:8.
Cf. the classical Athenian view of Spartan women as unchaste in Euripides Andr. 595–604.
Cf., e.g., m. Miqw. 8:5; b. Nid. passim; Šabb. 84a.
See comments above. Cf. also, e.g., Josephus Ant. 1.285, 288, in which Jacob at a well was overcome by Rachel's beauty.
See also Beck, Paradigm, 72, following Robert Alter's treatment of a «betrothal-type» scene (Art, 51–62); Zimmermann, «Brautwerbung.» Ska, «Samaritaine,» adds a less likely allusion to Hos 2 to the well meeting scenes.
Intermarriage with Samaritans was, naturally, prohibited (m. Qidd. 4:3; Anderson, «Samaritan Literature,» 1053).
Strachan, Gospel, 102, sees her comment as «banter,» teasing «a thirsty man.» Perhaps she is returning some Jewish spite, as perhaps in the aorist of 4:20; but the πώς of 4recalls the questioning of Nicodemus (3:4).
On the positive virtue of bold speech for men, see comment on 7:4; on the usual valuing of women's meekness (except under extraordinary circumstances; cf. comment on 2:3), see Homer Od. 1.356–361; 19.91; Demosthenes Against Meidias 79; Livy 34.1.5; Valerius Maximus 3.8.6; 7.1.1; 8.3.2; Aulus Gellius 10.6; Heliodorus Aeth. 1.21; Sir 22:5; Num. Rab. 9:12; Delaney, «Seeds,» 40.
See esp. Phillips, «Samaritan Woman Meets Derrida,» 303.
The text specifies Shechem, the leading Samaritan city, and in the LXX replaces the Hebrew's «Mount Seir» with «Mountain of Samaria» (cf. Spencer, Philip, 78–79, for early Jewish texts applying Shechem passages in anti-Samaritan ways); 4Q372 frg. 1, lines 11–12 (as reconstructed in Wise, Scrolls, 333) probably echoes the same idea. Cf. Jeremias, Jerusalem, 352–58, for a catalogue of examples of hatred between many Jews and Samaritans.
P. Tacan. 4:5, §10. On Samaritans and early Judaism, see generally Purvis, «Samaritans and Judaism»; bibliography in Mor, «Bibliography.»
E.g., p. Macas. S. 4:6, §5; Šeb. 9:1, §13 (38d); Lam. Rab. 1.1.14–15; Ecc1. Rab. 10:8, §1.
E.g., Neh 4:1–2; Josephus Ant. 11.84,114. Although he seems too skeptical about the biblical schism, Coggins, Samaritans, 163–64, is surely right about the continued deterioration of relations through the Hellenistic period to the early first century. In the fifth century B.C.E., Elephantine Jews still regarded both Jerusalem and Samaria as Jewish centers (Bright, History, 407).
Josephus Ant. 12.156. Josephus apparently has an extrabiblical, specifically anti-Samaritan source (Marcus, «Schism»).
For anti-Samaritanism in Judaism in general, see Dexinger, «Limits.»
M. Git. 1:5; p. Git. 1:4, §2; as also from women (Josephus Ant. 4.219; Sipra VDDeho. pq. 18.104.22.168; cf. Justinian Inst. 2.10.6), slaves (Josephus Ant. 4.219; cf. Propertius Eleg. 3.6.20), and other groups. In some Amoraic texts, Samaria had its own local Shedim-demons (Alexander, Possession, 29), although these also turn up elsewhere.
E.g., t. cAbod. Zar. 2:8. Heave-offerings were acceptable from either (m. Ter. 3:9). Rabbis felt that Samaritans were liable if their cattle gored Israelite cattle, but not the reverse (b. B. Qam. 38b, bar.)
B. Sanh. 57a, unless «Cuthean» was a censor's substitute for «gov» here (n. 5). Some rabbis in b. Meg. 25b suspect them of idolatry.
B. Qidd. 75b (R. Ishmael, vs. R. Akiba); Num. Rab. 8:9; cf. Hoenig, «Conversion,» 58.
E.g., t. Ter. 4:14; p. Ketub. 3:1, §3 (late Tannaitic); Ber. 7:1, §7.
T. cAbod. Zar. 3:3; cf. m. cAbod. Zar. 2:1.
T. cAbod . Zar. 3:1. In t. cAbod . Zar. 3:1, Israelites could also leave cattle in Samaritan inns because they were not suspected of bestiality.
T. Abod. Zar. 3:5. They are also more trustworthy than Gentiles in some other respects (m. Demai 3:4; b. Bek. lib). People made regular use of barbers (Lewis, Life, 136; Goodman, State, 59–60; ILS 7414), but a hostile one could prove dangerous (Martial Epigr. 3.74.1–2).
Sonne, «Use,» 154–62. Thus earlier traditions often viewed them as lax Jews (Deut. Rab. 2:33).
Osborn, Justin, 6, from whom I also derived some of the above references.
Pietists regarded Samaritan drinking vessels as unclean (m. Kelim passim; Barrett, John, 232); Gentile vessels were unclean (early tradition in b. cAbod. Zar. 67b; cAbod. Zar. 75b, bar.; Pesah. 44b).
So, e.g., Longenecker, Paul, 141 n. 76, citing principles applicable to Am Háarets in general; Talbert, John, 113, cites Augustinés view that Jews avoid dishes used by Samaritans ( Tract. Ev. Jo. 15.11).
M. Seb. 8:10; according to p. 'Abod. Zar. 5:11, §2, the sages accepted this opinion of R. Eliezer. Edersheim, Life,184, cites a later source to argue that the earlier custom was more lenient; but buying wine from Samaritans apparently was permitted in an early period (b. cErub. 36b-37a). Amoraim permitted some Samaritan food and drink but prohibited much of it (p. cAbod. Zar. 5:4, §3); Tg. Neof. 1 actually «corrects» Deut 2to disallow buying food and drink from Esau.
T. Demai 5(from R. Eliezer's generation); untithed food was obviously unclean whatever its source (e.g., m. Demai passim; Gen. Rab. 60:8; Lam. Rab. 1:3, §28). But whatever the Samaritans imported from Judea was clean and мая be bought from them (t. Demai 1:11; priests could buy food even in Gentile towns but then purified themselves [p. Seb. 6:1, §12]).
Cf. Josephus Ant. 3.261; m. Tehar. 5:8; t. Šabb. 1:14; Davies and Allison, Matthew, 2:128; Wegner, Women, 162–65; menstruation also produced ceremonial impurity in other traditions; e.g., a stele of Isis and Sarapis regarding a sanctuary (in Horsley, Documents, 4:110). Some Jewish groups, however, including the Sadducees, appear to have rejected Pharisaic strictness on the issue (see Ilan, Women, 100–105,227).
Boers, Mountain, 150.
Boring et a1., Commentary, 263, contrasting a woman's refusal to give drink to Heracles (Macrobius Sat. 1.12.28), which led to women s exclusion from Heracles' rites, with Jesus overcoming the barrier.
Meeks, "Jew," 181
The title comes from disciples in 6:68; 9:36,38; 11:3,12,21,27,32,34,39; 13:6,9,25,36–37; 14:5,8,22; 21:15–17,20–21 (it functions as a divine title in 12:39) but can be addressed to others besides Jesus (12:21); 20applies to the risen Jesus on the level of Johns ironic double entendre but not the speaker's intention.
Occasionally pagans also suggested that mortals who rejected deities did so because they did not recognize who they were (e.g., Apollo to Daphne, albeit in erotic circumstances, in Ovid Metam. 1.514–515).
Boers, Mountain, 166. Most interpreters through history have viewed her as a model for conversion, but Reformed commentators also typically portrayed her as insolently ridiculing Jesus (see Farmer, «Samaritan Woman»). But given some portrayals of bold flirtation in sources of this period, if the narrative is at all already headed in that direction (4:17), a somewhat more curious and playful banter might be in view (cf. also the widely coveted woman in dialogue with Socrates in Xenophon Mem. 3.9.18).
Boers, Mountain, 156,166, citing the Palestinian Targum to Gen 28:10; cf. also Moloney, Belief, 137–38. Whether the tradition is early and widespread is unclear.
Ellis, Genius, 8; ÓDay, Word, 37.
E.g., Olsson, Structure, 141.
See Schuller, "4Q372," on 4Q372.1.
E.g., Pesiq. Rab Kah. 23(perhaps the tradition stems from the time of R. Meir).
Cf., e.g., Pesiq. Rab. 47:3, where God asks Job if he considered himself greater than Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Moses, or Aaron; the question assumes that any normal person recognizes that he or she is not.
That Jesus made such claims is historically likely; cf. the Q material in Matt 12:41–42; Luke 11:31–32.
Whitacre, Polemic, 89; Lightfoot, Gospel, 134. For John's use of «greater,» see comment on 1:50.
For 4:13, cf. perhaps Xenophon Oec. 7.40, where drawing water with a leaky jar was an old Greek figure for laboring in vain.
E.g., Sipre Deut. 32.5.10; see comment on 1:17. Greeks and Romans spoke of wine as του δώρου του Διονύσου (Plutarch frg. 54, from Scholia on Hesiod Op. 368–369 in Plutarch LCL 15:146–47) and (sometimes coupled or contrasted, e.g., Euripides Bacch. 275–280) bread as the «gift of Ceres» (Ovid Metam. 11.122). Origen Comm. Jo. 13.26–39 thinks the point of this passage is that Jesus' water is greater than that of Scripture (allegorizing the well).
E.g., m. 'Abot 1:4, 11; 2:8; Mek. Vay. l:74ff.; see much more fully the comment on John 1:25–26. Schnackenburg, John, 1:430, cites the late Yalqut Shim'oni 2.480 for Torah becoming a spring within a student. Greeks could compare oracular prophecy to streams of water (Plutarch Obso1. 5, Mor. 411F, taking νάματα in its most common sense; cf. Acts 2:17); philosophers could similarly speak of an internal πηγή του άγαθοϋ (Marcus Aurelius 7.59), or of education as a πηγή of all goodness (Plutarch Educ. 7, Mor. 4C), or of «springs» (πηγάς) of philosophy (Eunapius Lives 460–461; Porphyry Marc. 4.54) or virtue (Maximus of Tyre Or. 34.4). Egyptian religion linked Nile water with life after death in some sense (Wild, Water, 97–99); the fountain is praise in Odes So1. 40(a Christian work).
Akiba in Sipre Deut. 48.2.7. Cf. disciples as «cisterns» that never lose a drop (m. 'Abot 2:8). Pancaro, Law, 482–85, sees Jacob's well as a symbol of Torah.
CD 6.3–5. Whoever rejects this well forfeits life (CD 3.16–17). Others also cite CD 19.34 (which tends to revise an earlier text) and 3.6 for Torah as the source of living waters (Coetzee, «Life,» 64; Driver, Scrolls, 518).
Cf. Odeberg, Gospel, 150–51; Brown, John, 1:176; Coetzee, «Life,» 64; Whitacre, Polemic, 86–87. In some manuscripts of T. Jud. 24:4, πηγή ζωήν refers to the Messiah, but this мая well be a Christian interpolation.
Among Greek philosophers, cf., e.g., Socratics Ep. 25 (allegedly from Phaedrus to Plato): Phaedrus έδίψων for philosophy. The biblical worship tradition speaks of thirsting for God (Ps 42:1–2; 63:1); cf. Matt 5:6.
Cf. drinking as sharing Christ's death in 6:53–56; as sharing Christ's sufferings in Mark 10:38–39. Proverbs 7–9 contrasts divine Wisdom with the immoral woman; does Wisdom (John 1:1–18) here win the immoral woman?
The idea should have been comprehensible in an ancient Jewish hermeneutical framework: in Pesiq. Rab. 16:6, a single drink satisfied Eliezer (Gen 24:17), but the wicked are never full (Gen 25:30; Prov 13:25).
Cf., e.g., drinking as a surrogate for an immersion pool, in which she as a nonconverting Samaritan would be unwelcome (Derrett, «Purity»); cf. the argument for drinking as baptism in 1Cor 12(Cuming, "Epotisthèmen") and (rightly) against it (Rogers, "Epotisthêmen"); drinking from a mythical river (Pausanias 9.39.8) after initiatory purifications (9.39.5–7).
Presumably with Torah. Boring et a1., Commentary, 263, who cite this text, date its final redaction to the fourth century C.E.
See, e.g., the LXX of Gen 26:19; Lev 14:5–6, 50–52; Num. 19:17; Song 4:15; Zech 14:8; also the Latin vivis fontibus of a spring (Ovid Metam. 3.27; vivarum aquarum in Ovid Fasti 2.259). Mac-Donald, Samaritans, 425, notes that some Samaritan writers liked the expression «living water»; these sources are generally, however, quite late.
See comment on 2:6; Avigad, Jerusalem, 139; Yadin, Masada, 166; Sanders, Jesus to Mishnah, 31–32, 214–27. Aseneth requires ϋδατι ζώντι to purify her hands and feet when converting (Jos. Asen. 14:12).
E.g., probably Gen 21LXX. The LXX also accepts water poured from a vessel as living water appropriate for purification (e.g., Num 5:17). Cf. m. Miqw. 5:5.
E.g., Bernard, John, 1:138.
E.g., Plutarch Nat. Q. 33 (after Mor. 919E, but preserved only in Latin). Cf. Athenaeus Deipn. 8.352a, where a traveler to Pella abstained after noticing that those who depended on the local well water looked sickly.
McNamara, Targum, 145–46; idem, Judaism, 228–29. See Tg. Neof. 1 on Gen 28:10; 31:22; Tg. Ps.-J. on Gen 29:10,14; 31:22; but this miracle is lacking in the earlier Tg. Onq. on Gen 29:10. Cf. other patriarchal well miracles in Tg. Ps.-J. on Gen 26:20–21,28.
Gen. Rab. 60:5.
O1sson, Structure, 165–70; Glasson, Moses, 55–56. See more fully our comment on 7:37–39.
Glasson, Moses, 57.
See, e.g., Cullmann, Worship, 81; Olsson, Structure, 213; Brown, John, lxxxxv.
For the connecting of these passages, see comment on 7:37. Allison, «Water,» is undoubtedly correct that the primary imagery in 4:10–14, as in 7:37–39, is the fountain of living water in the new Jerusalem.
On the Spirit of purification in John's water motif, see esp. Keener, Spirit, 135–89.
Scobie, «Tension,» 97–98.
Cullmann, Worship, 83, sees the connection though he wrongly emphasizes baptism here, citing gnostic sects that drank baptismal waters.
Boers, Mountain, 167.
Beasley-Murray, John, 61. For magicians transmuting one substance into another, see Homer Od. 10.239–240; Ovid Metam. 14.414–415; p. Hag. 2:2, §5; Sanh. 6:6, §2. But Moses brought water from the rock (Exod 17:6; Num 20:11; Deut 8:15); and a prophet miraculously provided continuing sustenance for an unmarried woman in need (1 Kgs 17:12), who recognized a sinful background (1 Kgs 17:18).
Many commentators note the misunderstanding (e.g., Bultmann, John, 181; Schnackenburg, John, 1:432).
ÓDay, Revelation, 53, starts a new section with this command, which parallels Jesus' command in 4:7.
That some thought in such terms is clear (Plutarch Bride 48, Mor. 145DE).
Augustine Tract. Ev. Jo. 15.18.1 denied that Jesus merely wished to teach her through her husband (as, he thinks, in 1Cor 14:35; but that is probably not the sense even there–see Keener, Paul, 70–100), noting that he did not teach Mary in that way (he cites Luke 10:39–40; but then he reads allegorically: Bring your understanding, 15.18.2–15.20.1).
Thus an Amoraic depiction of Judah's interaction with Tamar (b. Sotah 10a).
She мая also lack the head covering normally required for married women (sources in Keener, Paul, 22–30; more fully, idem, «Head Coverings»), but, given the midday sun, could be wearing one anyway. Given the emphasis on early marriage or speedy remarriage for most women in the broader culture (sources in Keener, Marries, 72–75; more fully, idem, «Marriage,» 681–82), people would wonder why an adult woman (five marriages suggests some age) would be unmarried.
Pace Haenchen, John, 1:221, and (less dogmatically) Moloney, Belief, 148 n. 67, who critique a 1962 article by Bligh for this position.
Sanders, John, 144. Καλώς and ειπον occur together again in 8:48, where his adversaries accuse Jesus of being a Samaritan. The former is a Johannine term (8:48; 13:13; 18:23) but not peculiarly so (Mark 7:6, 9, 37; 12:28, 32; Luke 20:39; Acts 10:33; 25:10; 28:25). Philostratus Hrk. 4.4 has «You have said truly» (αληθή); and 7.12, «You say well» (καλώς).
E.g., Ellis, Genius, 70.
E.g., Prest, «Woman»; cf. Josephus Ant. 9.288.
Beasley-Murray, John, 61; Boers, Mountain, 172.
Unless with Wessel, «Männer,» one allegorizes the five husbands as five books of Torah, which is improbable but would make more sense of Samaritan customs than the «five gods» interpretation. Origen Comm. Jo. 13.43–51 takes the current man as the law and the five husbands as the five senses (hence the sensory knowledge derogated in some philosophy–Plato Phaedo 83A); most people, however, recognized value in the senses (Aristotle Soul 3.1,424b; Seneca Dia1. 5.36.1; 7.8.4; see comment on John 8:14–15).
See m. Yebam. 6:6; permitted but not mandatory with Greeks and Romans, Rawson, «Family,» 32; Gardner, Women, 81; Appian C.W. 2.14.99; Aulus Gellius 4.3.2; Keener, Marries, 75; idem, «Marriage,» 681–82; cf. idem, «Family,» 358–59.
See m. Yebam. 6:6; Safrai, «Home,» 750, 791; Keener, Marries, 75.
The situation in Mark 12:20–22 probably involves the men's early death rather than the widow's infertility, being modeled after Tob 3:8; Gen 38:7–10.
Samaritans, like Jews and Egyptians, would not have experienced the Greek shortage of women due to child abandonment (on abandonment, see, e.g., Pausanias 2.26.4; Diodorus Siculus 4.64.1; 8.4.1; 19.2.3–5; Appian R.H. 1.1.2; Longus 1.2, 5; 4.24; for girls specifically, P.Oxy. 744; Ovid Metam. 9.675–684, 704–713). Ancient texts highly prize beauty, which could be a factor in the Samaritan woman's previous desirability (e.g., Aristotle Po1. 3.7.3, 1282b; Rhet. 1.6.10, 1362b; Theon Progymn. 9.20; Ovid Metam. 13.789; Longus 1.16; 2.23; Athenaeus Deipn. 13.608F; cf. Jdt 8:7; t. Ber. 6:4). Conversely, husbands might wish to divorce her for lack of beauty (Cicero Pro Scauro 5.8; though cf. the ideal in Plutarch Bride 25, Mor. 141D; Prov 11:22), but finding so many subsequent husbands would have been difficult under those circumstances.
See Pomeroy, Goddesses, 158, 169.
Mercantile or urban aristocratic women might have more substance, but they would not need to come to draw at the well; a favorable and significant divorce settlement might also require both her innocence and having entered the marriage with a substantial family dowry.
See Keener, Marries, 94; Keener, «Husband,» 11.
Many ancient hearers would assume dangerous a woman who had outlived many husbands (Martial Epigr. 9.15; Tob 3:7–10); some Tannaim even ruled that she should be forbidden to marry after the second or third husband (t. Šabb. 15:8).
Juvenal Sat. 6.224–230.
Juvenal Sat. 6.229–230. Commentators often declare that Jewish teachers prohibited divorcing and marrying more than three times (Lightfoot, Gospel, 134; Hunter, John, 48).
Hermogenes Issues 70.15–71.2.
E.g., Josephus Ant. 4.244; Life 414; cf. Hesiod Op. 699.
Men also viewed a woman known to have been immoral as «cheap» (Catullus 62.46–47) and able to be treated as a prostitute without serious blame to the man (Cicero Cael 20.48–49).
Sanders, John, 144.
Smith, John (1999), 115. On the perceived morality of such behavior, see 4B above; but the position of «your» is not necessarily emphatic.
Cicero Pro Scauro 5.8 (going on to allege that he had his first wife murdered, 6.9–12).
Aristippus reportedly defended living with a woman who had lived with many other men by comparing her to a used house or boat (Diogenes Laertius 2.74).
Taylor, Immerser, 121; John Chrysostom regards this narrative s woman similarly before her conversion (Hom. Jo. 12). Gentiles also viewed a «loose» woman as a prostitute but, so long as she was unmarried, did not condemn much the men who took advantage of her (Cicero Cae1. 20.49).
Demosthenes Against Onetor 1.33–34.
Brant, «Husband Hunting,» seems right to suggest that she could have viewed Jesus, a round character, as desirable, though this narrative (in contrast to 12:1–8) includes a comic upturn; this fits the woman-at-the-well-type scene (Zimmermann, «Brautwerbung»; comments above); Fehribach, Bridegroom, 45–81, esp. 80–81 (her and her people as symbolically married to Jesus).
See Xenophon Mem. 3.9.18; this мая be comparable to stories about his academic concern for Alcibiades, in whom most men had other (sexual) interests.
Bruns, Art, 25 attributes the absence of a festival here to the fact that Samaritans did not celebrate Jewish festivals. But the Samaritans did keep (and still do keep) Passover on Mount Gerizim. Conversely, Guilding's lectionary thesis here expects the reader to believe that a Samaritan woman knew the Jewish synagogue lectionary, which is not reasonable (Morris, Lectionaries, 34, 209).
Albright, Yahweh, 194–95, contrasting this practice with evidence from the Israelite conquest.
See Davies, Land, passim.
See Meyers, «Judaism and Christianity,» 75, against Davies, Land.
E.g., in the Mekilta (Davies, «Mekilta,» 96).
Johnson, Prayer, 44–46. Many religions prefer particular postures and sometimes geographical directions in prayer (Mbiti, Religions, 84), including traditional Greek religion (Lysias Or. 6.51, §107).
B. Ber. 25a, near excrement; cf. p. Ha1. 2:1, §10. Similarly one should ask guardian angels to wait outside when one uses the restroom (b. Ber. 60b) and follow careful purity rules, including not facing the east-west axis CAbot R. Nat. 40A; b. Ber. 62a, reportedly Tannaitic tradition).
B. Tacan. 20b (R. Adda b. Ahaba); told of R. Zera in b. Meg. 28a.
Rabbis as well as others considered synagogues sacred, however (m. Meg. 3:1–3). Some even thought that God heard prayers there only, but most disagreed (b. Ber. 6a).
T. Meg. 3:23; Strange and Shanks, «House,» 29 (citing t. Meg. 4:23).
1 Kgs 8:30, 44,48; 2 Chr 6:32, 34, 38; Dan 6:10. Orientation of buildings toward Jerusalem мая begin in the second century B.C.E. (Riesner, «Synagogues,» 191–92).
Meyers and Strange, Archaeology, 143–44; Meyers, «State,» 128–29; Ferguson, Backgrounds, 399; attested also in t. Ber. 3:15–16; Sipre Deut. 29.3.2; for prayers, cf. m. Ber. 4:5–6; t. Meg. 3:21. Cf. Muslim orientation of graves toward Mecca (Mbiti, Religions, 329); Greek toilet manners regarding the sun and streams (Hesiod Op. 727–732, 757–759).
See Máoz, «Synagogues,» 119; Wilkinson, «Orientation»; cf. Stewart, «Synagogue.» Greek temples were normally oriented eastward, though exceptions existed (Herbert, «Orientation»); cf. eastward orientation in Josephus Ag. Ap. 2.10 (Apion's claim); t. Meg. 3:22; a synagogue in Delos facing eastward toward Jerusalem (Stambaugh and Balch, Environment, 48).
Jewish texts such as 1QS 9.11 could explicitly distinguish between the prophet and messianic figures. Medieval Samaritan literature regarded Jesus, like the ancient Israelite prophets, as a false prophet (Isser, «Chronicles»).
On the progression, see more fully Boers, Mountain, 157.
Bruce, History, 37–38; idem, Time, 39; cf. Freed, «Samaritan converts,» 248. If this analysis reflects sufficiently early tradition, perhaps the pseudoeschatological prophet of Josephus Ant. 18.85–87 was viewed messianically by the Samaritans; the Romans certainly treated him as a political threat.
E.g., Westcott, John, 71; Strachan, Gospel, 105.
Cf. Odeberg, Gospel, 184.
This claim is a parenthesis (on this rhetorical form, see, e.g., Rowe, «Style,» 147; Anderson, Glossary, 89–90), not an interpolation or redaction (see Van Belle, «Salvation Is from Jews,» noting that this observation must qualify charges that John is anti-Judaic).
Sikes, «Anti-Semitism,» 29; Morris, «Jesus,» 41–42. On «we» vs. «you» plural for the corporate nature of the dialogue, cf. Hyldahl, «Kvinde.»
Jesus' response in Matt 8is probably a question; see, e.g., Jeremias, Promise, 30; Martin, «Servant,» 15.
Bernard, John, 1:120, on 3:17.
Longenecker, Christology, 100–102.
Ashton, "loudaioi," 52, also speculating (not necessarily as reliably) that the Samaritan mission originated in Judea. We also regard «Judea» as Jesus' place of origin in this Gospel only in the more general use of the term, encompassing all of Jewish Palestine.
Cf., e.g., Mbiti, Religions, 71–72.
See ANET 326; Clifford, «Tent,» 223; Gordon, Civilizations, 48, 232–33; Kaiser, «Pantheon,» 29–30, 181; De Vaux, Israel, 279–80; Dahood, Psalms, 11; Maximus of Tyre Or. 2.1. R. Simeon b. Yohai reportedly claimed that no mountain proved suitable for Torah but Sinai (Lev. Rab. 13:2).
Cf. Kalimi and Purvis, «Hiding»; Collins, «Vessels»; MacDonald, Samaritans, 365. For a parallel Jewish hope, cf. 2Macc 2:4–7; 2 Bar. 6:7–9; 4 Bar. 3:10–11,19; 4:4; m. Seqa1. 6:1–2; contrast Jer 3:16.
We extrapolate here on the basis of Jewish hopes; see comments on 2:16, 19. Later Samaritan texts also attest the hope that the tabernacle of Moses' day had been hidden on that mountain and would be restored in the eschatological time (Olsson, Structure, 190).
Bowman, Documents, 14.
Goodenough, Symbols, 1:262–63.
E.g., Olsson, Structure, 201.
See Bull, «Report XII» 41; Finegan, Archaeology, 35; Kee, «Tell-Er-Ras»; Garner, «Temples»; Schwank, «Berg»; cf. Bull and Wright, «Temples.» The first new temple built on it was the pagan, Hadrianic one (early second century C.E.).
Anderson, «Temple,» doubts its existence; for more likely recent evidence, see McRay, «Archaeology,» 96.
Bull, «Context,» 59; Schnackenburg, John, 1:434.
E.g., b. Yoma 69a.
E.g., Sipra A.M. par. 22.214.171.124. God gave Israel the temple (and other gifts) as a reward for worship (Gen. Rab. 56:2).
T. cAbod. Zar. 3(the tradition probably stems from ca. 200 C.E.); b. cAbod. Zar. 27a, bar.; p. Yebam. 8:1, §10. One rabbi dissents from the ruling, but not from the view that Samaritans circumcize in this name.
Bamberger, Proselytism, 134.
E.g., 4Q372 frg. 1, line 12 (with 4Q371 frg. 1, 8, 11, in Wise, Scrolls, 333. It was the major known issue of rift between the groups (see Spencer, Philip, 73–75).
Gen. Rab. 32:10; 81(trans. Midrash Rabbah, 1:255, 748). The story was popular, and later tradition settled on R. Jonathan (Deut. Rab. 3:6; Song Rab. 4:4, §5). Probably in response to the Samaritan tradition in this passage denying that the flood covered Gerizim, R. Levi (third-century C.E. Palestine) denied that it covered Eretz Israel (Gen. Rab. 33:6; cf. Sipre Deut. 37.3.5). On the normally low status of donkey-drivers (όνηλάται), cf., e.g., Diogenes Laertius 6.5.92.
P. c Abod. Zar. 5:4, §3.
Gen. Rab. 64:10.
E.g., m. Kelim 1:6; cf. Esth. Rab. 1:17, although it also notes excessive hypocrisy in Jerusalem; Hester, Inheritance, 76. In some traditions, it is more precious to God than anything else (Num. Rab. 23:7).
Though Shem owned Palestine (Jub. 9:1–13) and those who violated this division were cursed (9:14–15), Canaan specifically warranted the curse by taking Shem's possession (9:27–34).
Probably to avoid revolutionary-type implications in the minds of his Gentile readers (cf. Amaru, «Theology»).
E.g., Sipre Deut. 37.1.4–6; 37.2–3.7. For the emphasis on the land in early Judaism, see, e.g., Allison, «Land,» 643.
Sipre Deut. 37.3.5–6. Praising cities was a standard part of ancient rhetoric (Ps 48; Aelius Aristides Oration to Rome; Isocrates Panegyricus; Panathenaicus; 5Q15; Quintilian 3.7.26; Rev 21:10–23; cf. Balch, «Encomia»).
B. Ber. 5a (attributed to R. Simeon b. Yohai); Exod. Rab. 1:1.
Sipre Deut. 37.1.4; cf. Mek. Pisha 1.43–44.
B. Móed Qat. 25a. Some Babylonian Amoraim, however, did view emigration to Eretz Israel unfavorably (b. Ber. 24b). Palestinian Amoraim often called Babylonian rabbis «rabbis of that other place» (e.g., p. Yebam. 10:1, §1) or «from over there» (e.g., p. Yebam. 10:3, §1) and urged their emigration (p. c Abod. Zar. 2:1, §1); tension over the authority of their respective rulings sometimes existed between them (p. cAbod. Zar. 2:8, §5; Ned. 6:8, §3; Sanh. 1:2, §10; cf. Stemberger, «Bedeutung»).
Pesiq. Rab Kah. 14:4.
Mek. Pisha 1.59–105. Cf. Davies, «Reflections in Mekilta.»
E.g.,Tob 13:7–16; Pss. Sol 11:2–7; 4 Ezra 7:26.
R. Johanan initially forbade R. Assi to leave «the Land» (b. Qidd. 31b).
Urbach, Sages, 1:349, on Sipre Deut. 80; on merit, see also, e.g., b. Roš Haš. 16b. Dwelling in the land could be said to warrant eternal life (t. Šabb. 1:3; Sipre Deut. 333.6.1, R. Meir; b. Ketub. 111a; Pesah. 113a).
cAbot R. Nat. 32, §71B (attributed to Akiba).
'Abot R. Nat. 28A (attributed to Simeon ben Eleazar).
E.g., R. Meir in t. cAbod. Zar. 2(R. Yose disagrees).
Goodman, State, 43, citing especially t. cAbod. Zar. 4/5:3. Israel's deserts are better than palaces elsewhere (Gen. Rab. 39:8). The baraita in b. Ketub. 110b is far more emphatic, (hyperbolically?) denying the faith of all Diaspora Jews.
B. Ketub. 111a; p.Ketub. 12:4, §8; Gen. Rab. 74:1; 96:5, some texts; 96 (MV); Pesiq. Rab. 1:4; cf. 'Abot R. Nat. 26A; Deut. Rab. 2:9. Ancients apparently anticipated underground conduits for travel (Ovid Metam. 5.501–504). For the emphasis on burial in the land, see also Davies, Land, 62–65.
Burial in Eretz Israel was a privilege and reward (Gen. Rab. 36:6; Pesiq. Rab. 1:4). Guardian angels forsook those who left Eretz Israel (Gen. Rab. 68:12).
Safrai, «Relations,» 213; cf. CJ/2:132, §920; 2:136, §930; 2:262, §1256.
E.g., m. Kelim 1:8; Seqa1. 8:1. In Pesiq. Rab Kah. 6:4; 15:7, it also sanctified its inhabitants.
E.g., Mek. Pisha 1.44–46; Lev. Rab. 13(attributed to Simeon ben Yohai, second century C.E.). Later tradition united the altars of Adam, Noah, and Abraham on the site (Tg. Ps.-]. on Gen 22:9; for Abraham, Tg. Onq. on Gen 22:14)–even if Jewish interpreters did not, like Samaritans, modify the text of Torah.
Pesiq. Rab. 1(attributed to a third-century C.E. Palestinian Amora).
E.g., m. Kelim 1:6–9; Mek. Pisha 1.42–50. For the progression of holiness in the biblical tabernacle and temple, see Davies, «Tabernacle,» 498–506; Haran, «Image,» 200–206; Keener and Usry, Faith, 144.
Perhaps in polemic against groups like the Samaritans, some insisted that God had chosen the temple before the creation ('Abot R. Nat. 37, §95B; but cf. already Wis 9:8; Jub. 3:10).
Jub. 32:23; trans. Wintermute, OTP 2:118.
Sipre Deut 37.3.5–6.
Sipre Deut 317.2.1; b. Qidd. 69a; Song Rab. 7:5, §3. For the templés geographic centrality, see comment on John 7:37–38. Some preferred prayer in low spots, however (b. Ber. 10b).
See CP] 1:80–81; 2:119–36, §§160–229; Dio Cassius R.H. 65.7.2; Hemer, "Ostraka"; Carle-bach, «References.»
Morris, John, 270; Collins, «Spirit.»
E.g., search or seek for God (Deut 4:29; 1 Chr 22:19); love him (Deut 6:5; 13:3; 30:6); serve him (Deut 10:12; 11:13; Josh 22:5); retain God's words (Deut 11:18); obey God's words (Deut 26:16; 30:2; 1 Kgs 2:4; 2 Kgs 23:3; 2 Chr 34:31); turn to God (Deut 30:10; 1 Kgs 8:48; 2 Kgs 23:25; 2 Chr 6:38); enter into covenant with God (2 Chr 15:12). Cf. longing for God in Ps 84:2. «Spirit» is frequently linked with «heart» (eighteen times, but only eight in the LXX), and three times with «soul» (fewer of these texts remain relevant in the LXX, but deuterocanonical works increase the figure slightly); but none of these carry the usual weight of «heart and sou1.»
For the Spirit and the temple, as well as connections between the temple and God's presence or glory (in the Hebrew Bible, cf., e.g., Exod 40:35; 1 Kgs 8:11; 2 Chr 5:14; 7:1–3; Ps 26:8; Ezek 9:3; 10:4,18–19; 43:4–5; 44:4; Hag. 2:7, 9), see comment on 1:14.
E.g., Olsson, Structure, 189. If the dialogue expanded the refutation of these excluded alternatives, it would resemble rhetorical διλήμματον (see Cicero Inv. 1.45; Anderson, Glossary, 36).
In the priestly perspective of the Chronicler, national revivals normally involved revivals of cultic worship (1 Chr 6:31–32; 15:16, 28–29; 16:4–6, 41–42; 23:30; 2 Chr 8:14; 20:18–22, 28; 29:25; 30:27; 31:2; 35:2–5; Ezra 3:10–11; Neh 12:24, 27–47).
See Keener, Spirit, 10–13.
So also Scott, Spirit, 196 («that mood of ecstasy in which prayer was offered and the will of God ascertained» among the early Christians). Cf. Aune, Eschatology, 104 («charismatic manifestations»); pace Johnston, Spirit-Paraclete, 44, who opposes signs-faith (4:48) to ecstatic worship, presumably on the basis of their linkage in some modern movements.
Cf. Did. 10.7. Tongues also functioned as worship in Acts 2:11; 10:46.
For Spirit-empowered worship, see, e.g., T. Job 51:4, 52:12; Tg. Jon. on 1Sam 19:23–24 (cf. 1Sam 19MT); Tg. Jon. on 2Sam 22:1; 23:1; Keener, Spirit, 11. Inspired singing appears in the OT but was also recognized in the Greco-Roman tradition (Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 1.31.1; with Philós Therapeutae, cf. also Diodorus Siculus 2.47.3).
The Psalms would provide the model; but cf. Tg. Jon. on 1Sam 2:1, where Hannah «prayed by the Spirit of prophecy» (in this case the prayer includes prophetic insight; also 2:3–5).
The experience is visionary in Rev 4:2; 17:3;21:10; cf. Ezek3:12,14,24; 8:3; 11:1,5,24; 37:1; 43:5.
With Hill, Prophecy, 90
1QS 11.8; 1QM 12.1–2; 4QShirShab; Jub. 30:18; 31:14; Sipre Deut. 306.31.1; Vermes, Religion, 128; Robinson, «Adam and Liturgy»; cf. Pr. Man. 15; Apoc. Ab. 17. This мая be why Essenes emphasized correct times of worship (1QS 10.6; Jub. 16:28).
Cf. 2:4, also addressed to γύναι. Brown, John, 1:172, compares here Synoptic references to the kingdom as already and not yet. Schnackenburg, John, 1:438, suggests that the realized eschatology in this passage goes beyond the Qumran texts; but Aune has argued that it appears in some sense there as well (Eschatology).
Aune, Eschatology, 12–16.
So Talbert, «Worship,» 337–40, citing, e.g., Xenophon Mem. 1.3.1–3; Plato Alc. 2.149E; Persius Sat. 2.69–75; Amos 5:21–24; Hos 6:6. To this we мая add Strabo Geog. 16.2.36 on Mosaic worship.
Talbert, «Worship,» 340–46, citing, e.g., Seneca Ep. 41; Apollonius of Tyana On Sacrifices frg. in Eusebius Praep. ev. 4.12–13; Apollonius of Tyana Ep. 26; Porphyry On Abstinence frg. in Eusebius Praep. ev. 4.11; Philo Good Person 75. One could cite many examples of spiritual or ethical sacrifices (e.g., Isocrates Ad Nic. 20, Or. 2; Plutarch Educ. 14, Mor. 11C; Pyth. Sent. 15, 20; Diogenes Laertius 7.1.119; 8.1.22; Philostratus Ep. (of Apollonius) 27; Prov 15:8; Ps 154:10–11; Jdt 16:16; Sir 32:1–3; Wis 3:6; 1QS 9.4–5; 10.6; Sipre Deut. 306.20.3; 'Abot R. Nat. 4A; 8, §22B; Rom 12:1; Sent. Sext. 47).
Talbert, «Worship,» 349.
Davies, «Mekilta,» 98–99.
Schäfer, Vorstellung, passim.
So also Bürge, Community, 194–95.
Also, e.g., Brown, John, 1:180.
See comment on 1:1c.
Schlier, «Begriff;' 264; Bürge, Community, 192.
Cato Dist. 1.1 (animus). Cf. also many other religions, e.g., Mbiti, Religions, 44.
See Scott, Spirit, 54, contrasting the Stoics and John. Tatian 4 accepts the Stoic understanding of «spirit» but subordinates this to God's Spirit. For the materialistic sense of πνεύμα in Stoicism, see Long, Philosophy, 155–58; Chevallier, Souffle, 41–42; Keener, Spirit, 7–8.
E.g., Philo Sacrifices 95. For Philós heavy stripping of anthropomorphism, cf., e.g.. Marmorstein, Anthropomorphism, 4–6.
Cf., e.g., Stevens, Theology, 46; Brown, John, 1:172.
«When he comes» (4:25) is also language John applies to the other Paraclete (15:26; 16:8, 13). He will also «announce all things» (16:15).
Barrett, John, 239.
Dalman, Jesus-Jeshua, 13, derives Μεσσίας not from the Hebrew mashiach but from the Aramaic meshicha, also found in the Palestinian Syriac Bible. Samaritans did not adopt the title «Messiah» before the sixteenth century C.E. (Meeks, «Jew,» 178; Jonge, Jesus, 104–5).
Regularly observed, e.g., Klausner, Paul, 295; Cullmann, Christology, 19; Teeple, Prophet, 63–64; MacDonald, Samaritans, 362–63; Bruce, History, 37–38; Longenecker, Christology, 34; Olsson, Structure, 191; Appold, Motif, 72. The Mosaic Taheb was the fifth article of the Samaritan creed (Brown, John, 1:172) and appears in Memar Marqah 2.40.28; 4(Boring et a1., Commentary, 264–65).
See Dexinger, «Taheb-Vorstellung.»
MacDonald, Samaritans, 15; Bruce, Books, 131–32. Bowman, Documents, 263–83, collects materials on the Taheb, but our sources are unfortunately quite late (nineteenth century). Purvis, «Samaritans,» 183, adds that the Taheb would also be like Joshua.
Bowman, Documents, 21; Boring et a1., Commentary, 264–65. For the emphasis on Moses in the third- to fourth-century C.E. Samaritan Memar Marqah, see Bowman, Documents, 253.
E.g., Bürge, Community, 195.
True at least by the Memar Marqah (4.12); so Glasson, Moses, 20; Barrett, John, 239.
See comment on 1:21.
Pesiq. Rab Kah. 5:7.
Young, «Isaiah,» 224,226.
E.g., Lightfoot, Gospel, 134–35
ÓDay, Word, 45–46. Stauffer, Jesus, 186–88, finds a theophanic formula here even on the level of the story world, but a messianic revelation is more likely (Witherington, Women, 60; cf. 167 η. 70).
Bernard, John, 1:151.
Commentators often recognize the custom presupposed here (e.g., Barrett, John, 240; Brown, John, 1:173).
Liefeld, «Preacher,» 240; he illustrates on pp. 239–41 with Irenaeus Haer. 1.13.1,3; 1.23.2,4; Lucian Runaways 18.
Valerius Maximus 5.3.10–12 (in Harrell, Divorce, 31); on the relative (albeit not complete) seclusion of women in the Greek East (largely excepting Jewish Palestine), see Keener, Paul, 22–24; idem, «Head Coverings,» 443.
Whitacre, Polemic, 111.
The question Τί ζητείς (4:27) is Johannine language (1:38; 18:4,7), but if Jesus had answered, he would have probably said with the Father that he «seeks true worshipers to worship God» (4:23).
Malina, Windows, 18.
'Abot R. Nat. 19, §§41–42 B; cf. b. Šabb. 127b.
Cf. Acts 2:37; 10:44; Haenchen, Acts, 353. On the inappropriateness of interrupting persons of higher status, see, e.g., Livy 3.40.5.
Beck, Paradigm, 75, compares this with the commitment of the male disciples in Mark 1:17–20.
Since no well is mentioned in 2:1–11, that passage might use «draw» to imply it, thereby making the common use of «draw» in 2(though technically from the pots themselves) and 4:7,11 also significant.
ÓDay, Word, 47, suggests that it also understates the case because he revealed other truth.
This passage employs different words for «come» and «see,» but variation was common and δεύτε elsewhere means «come» (e.g., 21:12; Mark 1:17; 12:7; Rev 19:17; cf. δεϋρο in John 11:43; Mark 10:21; Rev 17:1; 21:9; T. Ab. 7:1; 14:5; 16:4A).
That she brings the entire town is emphasized also by John Chrysostom Hom. Jo. 12.
Besides citations under John 1:39,46, see Naz. 12b; 15a; 17ab; 18a; 20a; 21 ab; 22ab; 30b; 31 a; 44b; 47b; 50ab; 51ab; 52ab; 53a; 54b; 57a; 61a; 63b; Ned. lib; 23b; 24ab; 33a; 35b; 36b; 47ab; 52b; 60b; 61a; 68a; 69ab; 70a; 72a; 72b; 73a; 75b; 76a; 77a; 91a; Nid. 6ab; 14a; 17a; 20b; 29a; 33b; 34ab; 35ab; 36a; 37a; 41b; 43b; 45a; 46b; 51a; 54b; 55b; 57b; 58a; 59a; Pesah. 3a; 16a; 17a; 23b; 26ab; 55ab; 60a; 80b; 85a; 86a; 89b; 94a; 107b; 108a; Roš Haš. 17b; 23b; 25a; 27a;28ab; 29a; 32ab; Sanh. 5a; 15a; 19a; 23a; 24b; 34a; 38b; 41a; 43a; 45b; 46b; 47ab; 48ab; 55ab; 58b; 59b; 63b; 64a; 65b; 71b; 74b; 77b; 88a; 112a; Šabb. 83b; 87b-88a; 106b; 115a; 122a; 127a; 134b; 136a; 148b; 157a; Sebu. 16a; 21b; 22b; 29ab; 33a; 37ab; 38ab; 40ab; 48ab; Sotah 15b; 16ab; 18b; 25a; 38b; 45a; 48b; Sukkah 25a; 29a; 36a; Tacan. 2b; 10a; 12a; 13a; 14b; Tamid27b\ Tern. 2b; 10a; lib; 17a; Yebam. 8a; 14ab; 15ab; 16a; 21b; 22a; 27b; 40b; 65b; 71a; 72a; 80a; 91b; 94a; 97b; 98a; 103ab; 108a; 110b; 114ab; 115a; 117ab; 120a; 121a; Yoma 6b; 40b; 41a; 47a; 48a; 58a; 68b; 82a; 86ab; Zebah. 6ab; 1 lb; 14b; 20b; 21a; 23a; 30b; 31ab; 49b; 54a; 67b; 68b; 80b; 81b; 85b; 89b; 90ab; 91ab; 92b; 93b; 99a; 104b; 105a; 110a; 115a.
The term μήτι generally anticipates a negative answer (cf. Danna, «John 4:29») but «here suggests indecision» (Whitacre, John, 108–9; cf. Pardini, «Gv 4,29»). The question of 6doubts rather than affirms Jesus' messianic identity, in contrast with the claim in 4:29; the question of 7is much closer. The grammatical construction is not necessarily christological; cf., e.g., 9:8–9,19–20; 21:24.
See Witherington, Women, 61; for her as «a type of the Christian herald,» see Collins, Written, 16–19 (esp. 19).
Maccini, Testimony, 129–31 (though he does see her as a positive witness, p. 144).
With Beck, Paradigm, 76. By believing for themselves, they move from secondhand signs-faith to a higher level of discipleship (Smith, John , 121).
Cf. Keener, Paul, 237–57. Some think that John here affirms women's ministry against the teaching of other early Christian authors (Käsemann, Testament, 31, citing 1Cor 14:34–36).
Keener, Paul, 82–85,143–46, although the case there мая be overstated (see Ilan, Women, passim; cf. Levine, «Women»; Van der Horst, «Beobachtungen»; Keener, «Woman»; idem, «Man»). Jewish teachers rejected most testimony from both Samaritans (e.g., m. Git. 1:5) and women (Josephus Ant. 4.219; m. Yebam. 15:1,8–10; 16:7; Ketub. 1:6–9; t. Yebam. 14:10; Sipra VDDeho.pq. 126.96.36.199).
Maccini, Testimony, 240–52.
E.g., Grassi, «Leadership Roles»; Hays, Vision, 155; Ingram, «Women»; Seckel, «Mere»; Scott, Sophia, 250–51; Trudinger, «Women»; Thiessen, «Women»; Bernabe Ubieta, «Mujer»; Fletcher, «Women»; Cheung, «Women»; Karris, Marginalized, 73–95; Chennattu, «Women in Mission»; cf. Ukachukwu Manus, «Woman» (applied to nation-building). Schneiders, «Testimony,» even suggests that her witness is central to the composite testimony standing behind this Gospel's beloved disciple.
See, e.g., Pinto, «Pape1.»
ÓDay, Revelation, 77, suggests that this dialogue, like 4:7–15 and 4:16–26, opens with an imperative.
Cf. Ovid Metam. 6.366, where Latona loses hunger, but because anger postponed it, not because of her divinity.
Odeberg, Gospel 187.
Athenaeus Deipn. 6.270C.
Sipre Deut. 317.3.1–7; see more fully comment on John 6:32–51. Enoch's Similitudes мая identify creation's food with its thanksgiving (1 En. 69:24, MSS Β and C), but the reading is difficult. Moses on the mountain feasted on the Shekinah rather than food (Exod. Rab. 3:1).
For the virtue in general, cf. 7:17; 9:31.
E.g., 1Macc 3:59–60; T. Iss. 4:3; 'Abot R. Nat. 32, §71B. On doing God's will, see also 1QS 5:9; m. 'Abot 2:4; 3:7; 'Abot 5MSS; Sipre Deut. 40.4.1; 40.6.1; 305.2.1; 306.28.2; 'Abot R. Nat. 34A. «Fulfillment» can refer to God completing creation (Sib. Or. 1.21) or fulfilling his purposes in history (Sib. Or. 3.570–572); in the Fourth Gospel it always refers to God's mission (5:36; 17:4, 23; 19:28, 30).
Westcott, John, 75.
Mud from cold winter rains (m. Tacan. 1:3) and inundated creek beds (cf. Homer 77. 5.87–88; 13.137; Od. 19.205–207; Apollonius of Rhodes 1.9; Livy 44.8.6–7; Appian R.H. 12.11.76; Herodian 3.3.7), as well as cold and rains (Hesiod Op. 450, 494) lasting through early февраля (Hesiod Op. 504–505), deterred travelers. See further comment on John 10:22.
E.g., Dodd, Tradition, 395–96; ÓDay, «John,» 569; on proverbs in John, see Collins, Written, 128–50; on the use of gnomes (truisms or maxims) in ancient rhetoric, see Heath, Hermogenes, 13–14; Rowe, «Style,» 148 (citing as examples Isocrates Archidamus 6.101–102; Cicero Mi1. 4.10–11). Ensor, «John 4.35,» finds 4consistent with other extant Jesus tradition and hence likely authentic.
Diodorus Siculus 1.36.4.
Ellis, Genius, 73. Dodd, Tradition, 394–95, notes that the Greeks reckoned a six-month interim and argues that the proverb makes better sense in Semitic form than as a rough Greek iambic trimeter (cf. ноября plowing in Hesiod Op. 383–384,448–450, and мая harvest, 383–384).
Cf. Virgil Georg. 1.299–302, 340–342.
Theophrastus Caus. plant. 3.2.6; 3.23.2; Xenophon Oec. 16.10–12; 17.2. For details, see Cary and Haarhoff, Life, 108–9.
Thucydides 3.1.1 (on Greece); in мая (Hesiod Op. 383–384; also on Greece). One kind of wheat that grew particularly quickly was called the three-months kind (Theophrastus Caus. plant. 3.21.2).
Stauffer, Jesus, 69, points out that the barley harvest, due in марта (or апреля), was white (some soils make it whiter–Theophrastus Caus. plant. 3.21.3; cf. 2.13.2), not the wheat harvest of апреля (or мая, as in the tenth-century B.C.E. Gezer calendar; it occurs in summer in Italy, [Virgil] Priap. 1.1–2); he accordingly dates the encounter to ноября of 29. But «whiteness» мая mean simply «brightness» in the Mediterranean sun (Sanders, John, 151 n. 7); some kinds of wheat are also called «white» (p. Péah 2:5; others are red; the «white» field of m. $eb. 2is probably irrelevant here). Different soils favor barley or wheat (Plutarch Nat. Q. 15, Mor. 915D; Theophrastus Caus. plant. 3.21.4; 4.13.4), and many rabbis prohibited sowing them together (m. Ki1. 1:9).
So Michaels, John, 58.
2 Bar. 70:2; 4 Ezra 4:30–32; Gen. Rab. 83:5; Rev 14:15. Cf. Bultmann, John, 197, on the eschatological missionary harvest here.
Cf. also Jub. 25:11; 1 En. 87:2; Exod. Rab. 21(third-century Palestinian tradition); Esth. Rab. 9:1; Pesiq. Rab. 8:5, though the expression becomes much rarer in later than in biblical Hebrew (Diez Merino, «Sintagma»); in other Semitic texts, see, e.g., ANET 132, 151 (AQHT A.5). «Behold» (ιδού) is frequently Semitic (it appears over a thousand times in the LXX) but appears often enough in Koine without Semitic influence (e.g., Epictetus Diatr. 3.24.75; 4.8.31).
Other early Jewish traditions more frequently applied the image to the law (4 Ezra 3:20; 9:31–32; 2 Bar. 32:1; b. Tacan. 4a; Pesiq. Rab. 3:2).
Richardson and Gooch, «Logia,» 48, compare Marks sowing imagery with this passage.
Robinson, Studies, 63; Hunter, John, 52; cf. Morris, John, 281–82; Moloney, Belief 166.
E.g., Bernard, John, 2:380; MacGregor, John, 113; Michaels, John, 58 (Michaels allows that the saying can be applied in various ways).
With Brown, Community, 188; Witherington, Women, 61; Boers, Mountain, 184–85; Beck, Paradigm, 74, 76. On the level of the Johannine community, Cullmann, Church, 192 (followed by, e.g., Simon, Stephen, 36), suggests that the evangelist refers to Hellenist missionaries advancing the Gentile mission. Harvest was one of the rare activities so urgent as to be done during noonday heat (Virgil Georg. 1.297–298; cf. the «sowing» at noon in 4:6).
Whitacre, John, 112 (mentioning John and Peter; the Philip is a different one–Acts 1vs. Acts 6:5).
Ibid., 58, citing Eccl 2:18–21. Beasley-Murray, John, 63–64, cites Mic 6:15; Lev 26:16; Deut 28:30; Matt 25:26. «The saying is true» reflects a similar phrase in the Pastorals and in Greek and Latin literature (Dodd, Tradition, 397).
See R. Gamaliel ben Judah ha-Nasi in m. 'Abot 2:2.
Faith in Jesus' «word» is the goal (e.g., 2:22; 4:50; 15:7) but in one sense is normally mediated to prospective believers through believers (17:20).
Cf. Boers, Mountain, 153.
Homer I1. 9.199–220; Od. 1.118–120, 123–124; 3.345–358; 4.26–36; 9.176; Euripides Cyc1. 125, 299–301; E1. 357–363; Demetrius 3.157.
E.g., Rhet. ad Herenn. 3.3.4; Cicero Off. 2.18.64; Part. or. 23.80; Ovid Metam. 10.224; Epictetus Diatr. 1.28.23; Socrates Ep. 2; Apuleius Metam. 1.26.
In traditional Middle Eastern cultures today, see Eickelman, Middle East, 234–36; Herzfeld, «Hospitality,» 78–79.
Homer I1. 13.624–625; Od. 6.207–208; 14.57–58; Euripides Cyc1. 355; Apollonius of Rhodes 2.1131–1133; 3.193; Greek Anth. 7.516.
Tob 5:10–15; 7:8–9; 10:6–10; Ps.-Phoc. 24; m. 'Abot 1:5, 15; 3:12; t. Demai 3:9; b. Ber. 63b; Luke 7:36; Acts 16:15; see further Koenig, Hospitality, 16. For lodging in synagogues or school-houses, cf. b. Qidd. 29b; p. Meg. 3:3, §5. Abraham provided the supreme example (Gen. Rab. 48:9; 50:4; Num. Rab. 10:5; Song Rab. 1:3, §3), though sometimes transferred to other figures (T. Job 10:1–4). Among early Christians, e.g., Rom 12:13; 1Tim 3:2; 1Pet 4:9; Heb 13:2.
E.g., Sipre Deut. 1.10.1; p. Git. 5:10, §5; 2 John 8–11; Did. 11:5; cf. Matt 10:14; 1QS 7.24–25. For other appropriate limits to hospitality, see Sir 11:29, 34.
So Stauffer, Jesus, 70.
See Blomberg, Reliability, 104.
Talbert, John, 118, citing especially Josephus War 3.459; 7.70–71; cf. War 4.112–113; 7.100–103,119.
Often noted, e.g., Moloney, Belief, 14.
E.g., Aeschylus Supp1. 26; Euripides Herc. fur. 48; Aristophanes Frogs 738, 1433; Epictetus Diatr. 1.22.16; Plutarch Borr. 7, Mor. 830B; Arrian Ind. 21.2; 36.3; Pausanias 2.20.6; 4.34.6; 9.26.8; Athenaeus Deipn. 7.288f.
Pausanias 1.40.3 (Artemis); 8.31.2 (Kore); the mother goddess in Orphic Hymns 14.8; 27.12; 74.4.
Dionysius of Halicarnassus R.A. 12.1.8; Josephus Life 244,259; OGIS 90; CPJ 1:185–86, §38; 2:31, §151. Especially Heracles (Demosthenes Or. 60, Funeral Speech §8).
E.g., Sallust Letter to Caesar 13.6; Propertius Eleg. 4.6.7; Martial Epigr. 2.91; SB 3924.
Koester, «Savior»; idem, Symbolism, 51.
Also 2Sam 22:3; Ps 17:7; 106:21; Isa 49:26; 60:16; 63:8; Jer 14:8; Hos 13:4; also LXX of Ps 24(23:5); 25(24:5); 27:1, 9 (26:1, 9); 62:2, 6 (61:3, 7); 65(64:6); 79(78:9); 95(94:1); Esth 15:2; Mic 7:7; Hab 3:18; Sir 51:1; Jdt 9:11; 1Macc 4:30; 3Macc 6:29, 32; 7:16; Pss. Sol 3:6; 8:33; 17:3; Sib. Or. 1.73, 152, 167; 2.28; 3.35; Odes So1. 5:11. Among the rabbis, cf. Billerbeck, Kommentar, 1:67–70.
See more fully Longenecker, Christology, 142–43. The title мая function in something of a messianic sense in Isa 19:20; cf. «the Lord's salvation» in Τ Dan 5:10; human deliverers in Judg 3:9, 15; 1Sam 10LXX; Neh 9:27.
For special love for onés native land, see also, e.g., Seneca Ep. Lucil 66.26; Menander Rhetor 2.4, 392.8–9; Iamblichus V.P. 32.214.
Davies, Land, 329; Brown, Community, 39; Schnackenburg, John, 1:462; Van Belle, «Faith.» The term applies most easily to onés place of origin, not onés citizenship (Philostratus Hrk. 44.1).
Ellis, Genius, 79.
More peripheral, first-time readers might have taken such language philosophically (Anaxagoras called heaven his «fatherland» in Diogenes Laertius 2.7; cf. the world in Musonius Rufus 9, p. 68.15–16, 25; citizenship in the world, ibid. 68.21–22; Diogenes Laertius 2.99; 6.2.63, 72; Seneca Ep. Luci1. 28.4; Marcus Aurelius 12.36), but the sense is clear after reading the Gospel as a whole.
So Westcott, John, 78; Meeks, Prophet-King, 40.
Fortna, «Locale,» 72.
Cf. Stauffer, Jesus, 70.
This is a summary statement, like those frequently found in Mark, Philostratus, and Josephus (cf. Aune, Environment, 54).
Cyril applies it to Nazareth here (1.300.6–12, on John 4:44), whereas John Chrysostom applies it to Capernaum (Hom. Jo. 35.1.2; cf. Matt 11:21; Luke 10:13; Wiles, Gospel, 21).
Schnackenburg, John, 1:462; Boring et a1., Commentary, 96; and Davies and Allison, Matthew, 2:460, cite Pindar O1. 12.13–16; Apollonius of Tyana Ep. 44; Dio Chrysostom Or. 47.6.
See Liv. Pro. 2.1–3 on Jeremiah (ed. Schermann §25).
Liv. Pro. 2(ed. Schermann §25 p. 81); 6(ed. Schermann §17 p. 60); 7:1–2 (ed. Schermann §14 p. 51); Jub. 1:12; Josephus Ant. 10.38; 4 Bar. 9:31; Pesiq. Rab. 26:1/2; see further Amaru, «Prophets»; Schoeps, «Prophetenmorde.»
Davies and Allison, Matthew, 2:460, who also regard Gos. Thom. 31 and P.Oxy. 1 as likely expansions of Lukés version. Compare also εδέξαντο in John 4with δεκτός in Luke 4:24.
While those who emphasize the connection to the following context are correct, they are incorrect to relate it only weakly to the preceding context (as Feuillet, Studies, 39–43, does).
«Cana of Galilee» probably serves as a geographical inclusio bracketing 2:1–11, but this might increase, rather than decrease, its representative function.
Braun, Jean, 16.
Jesus' arrival after two days (4:43,46) мая also constitute a link with the first Cana miracle (2:1; Moloney, Belief 177).
Also others, e.g., Moloney, Belief 190; Maccini, Testimony, 108–9; Borchert, John, 220; Culpepper, John, 146.
Smith, John (1999), 126, compares the shift to the plural second person in 3:11–12.
Horsley, Galilee, 65.
See Qedar, «Weights.» Paganism is widely attested in first-century Palestine (cf., e.g., Flusser, «Paganism»; Hirschfeld, «Town-Plan»; Gersht, «Reader»; di Segni, «Inscription»); cf. the second-century Roman temple in Upper Galilee in Magness, «Observations,» and the late-second-century Roman villa near Jerusalem in Edelstein, «Villa.»
Cf. also the loyalty of Agrippa IÍs officer to Rome (Price, «Enigma»).
Cf. Moloney, Belief 183. Besides Romans who lived in Capernaum (Laughlin, «Capernaum»), some soldiers passed through places in Galilee (Dar and Kokkinos, «Inscriptions»).
Feuillet, Studies, 45. So also Origen Comm. Jo. 13.395 (but he believes the Gentile symbolizes Abraham father of Israel, 13.402). Calvin, John, 1(on John 4:46), suggests a noble in Herod's court, but maybe sent by Caesar. Tannaim disagreed as to whether Israelites or Gentiles prevailed in the land of Israel (p. Demai 2:1,22c).
Kysar, John, 73.
Whitacre, John, 115. It is, of course, possible at the end of the first century that John's ideal audiencés primary knowledge of Herod Antipas мая stem from the gospel tradition.
Horsley, Galilee, 214–15. Tilborg's connection with the imperial administration in Ephesus (Ephesus, 100–101) at most informs some of John's audience on an affective leve1.
Παις (4:51) is equivalent to υιός in 4:46, not useful for distinguishing sources (cf. its affectionate use as «child,» e.g., in CIJ 1:369, §505).
For examples of petitions for others, see Theissen, Stories, 49 (citing 1QapGen 20.21–22; Philostratus Vit. Apol1. 3.38; Strabo 17.801), who also notes that the motif of faith is absent in many of these cases (excepting Strabo 17.801).
B. Ber. 34b, bar.; the comparison is often noted (e.g., Moore, Judaism, 377 n. 6; Dibelius, Tradition, 150). Rabbis affirmed that God could do anything, including surmount great distances (Gen. Rab. 59:11).
Urbach, Sages, 1:117.
Brown, John, 1:193.
Higgins, Historicity, 22–26; Hunter, John, 54; Smith, John (1999), 125. Dodd, Tradition, 194–95, also regards this as possible.
Michaels, John, 65; Witherington, Wisdom, 127; John Chrysostom Hom. Jo. 35 (on John 4:40–53).
Michaels, John, 65. Dodd, Tradition, 190, also draws parallels with Mark 7:24–30. Transformation of a servant to a son seems more problematic, though παις can mean either.
Bultmann, Tradition, 225.
So Epid. inscr. 3 and 4, in Grant, Religions, 56–57. Theissen, Stories, 49, notes that the motif of faith is sometimes absent, but also notes that the convincing of skeptics by a miracle is a frequent motif (p. 56, citing 2 Kgs 5:11; Epid. inscr. 3,4,9, 36, 37; Lucian Abdic. 5).
Theissen, Stories, 51, cites S7G3 1173; Epid. inscr. 48; Philostratus Vit. Apol1. 1.9; 4.1; Tacitus Hist. 4.81; Suetonius Vesp. 7; Dio Cassius 65.8.
Theissen, Stories, 58–59, cites, e.g., Philostratus Vit. Apol1. 3.38; 4.10, 45; 7.38; Lucian Philops. 11; IG 4.128.
Theissen, Stories, 67–68, citing Lucian Philops. 16; Diogenes Laertius 8.67 (also cited in Bultmann, Tradition, 225).
E.g., Epid. inscr. 5 (Grant, Religions, 57).
Brown, John, 1:191, regards πιστεύω with the dative as less firm a commitment than πιστεύω εις. The former, however, appears in Jesus' summons to faith for eternal life (6:40; 8:24; 12:46; and most significantly, 20:31); the latter usually implies commitment but not in every case (2:23; 8:30).
Koester, Symbolism, 85, also notes that the invalid of 5:5–7, unlike the royal officer, expresses an almost magical view of healing.
E.g., Plutarch Bride 19, Mor. 140D; see further Balch, Wives, 99.
E.g., Bruce, John, 118. Cf. Strachan, Gospel, 110, though he мая overstate when he calls this «a touch of great exactness.»
Pace MacGregor, John, 122, who uses this seeming discrepancy to justify allegorizing «seventh» as the perfect number though John nowhere else allegorizes designations of time. The exigencies of ancient travel sometimes meant meeting messengers with news on the way (Cicero Fam. 4.12.2; Mark 5:35; Luke 7:6).
Bruce, John, 119. This мая be true, though it is doubtful that many members of John's audience would know Galilean geography well enough to catch this point.
See Plutarch Cimon 18.7. Timing (John 4:52–53) also appears as central in some other miracles (e.g., 1 Kgs 14:17) and could constitute a divine sign itself (e.g., 2 Kgs 8:5).
«Healing» (ίάσηται, 4:47; ίαθείς, 5:13), although literal here, could also perform a metaphoric function, alluding to the healing that occurs in salvation (ιάσομαι, 12:40).
See also Feuillet, Studies, 44–51.
Brown, John, 1:191.
Evans, John, 51, therefore thinks this report stems from the early church rather than a historical incident. More likely, the experience of the church reflects the same social phenomenon also reflected here.
Cf., e.g., Plutarch Bride 19, Mor. 140D.
Some think that 4:54's «second» sign ignores signs done after 2(2:23; cf. also the problematic enumeration of 21:14); but John мая mean the second recorded sign. Postulating an unedited signs source here is unnecessary (see Brodie, Gospel, 231–32).