Gospel of John #5

John 3:22-4:22
A Compassionate Conversation


Jesus Heads Back to Capernaum

After Jesus talks with Nicodemus, and the conclusion of Passover, Jesus gathered His disciples and packs up to head north back towards Galilee.  Jesus tells them that His mission “must needs” go through Samaria.  While often not the preferred route by Jews because of their bias against “those lowly people”, it is Jesus’ plan, although they apparently first headed northeast and soon came upon John the Baptist and his followers.  John was continuing his work of calling Jews to the baptism of repentance in preparation for the Messiah.  The interactions which Jesus, John & their disciples have are mentioned in John 3:22-36.


John the Baptist’s testimony

  • Jesus heads back to Galilee
    • Jn. 3:22, Jesus finds John baptizing on the east side of the Jordan near Aenon, east of Jordan north of Jerusalem
      • This is rural Judea – cp. Matt. 3:1
  • The last testimony of John the Baptist
    • Matt. 11:7-14, Jesus gives testimony for John the Baptist, says there is  “no one greater” in Matt. 11:11 – the Baptist was unconventional, an eccentric hermit, an enigma of a man chosen to be Christ’s forerunner – “prepare the way, get out of the way”
    • A message of repentance & restoration
      • John’s message was “Prepare for the Messiah to set up the Kingdom” – the “kingdom” is referring to the promise God made to David that his son would be the Messiah Who would one day sit on David’s throne in the Millennial Kingdom
      • Read the background to this in Lu. 3:1-18
    • Jn.  3:25 – A disagreement on the particulars…
      • A Jewish observer stirred up John’s disciples about Jewish laws regarding purification, then they brought up Jesus to somehow strengthen their view –  they were confusing baptism with purification from sin
      • That led the disciples to be distracted by concern about who was ministering to whom for what – “we’re losing market share!”
      • The disciples’ loyalty led to the Baptist’s profound statement of submission to the Messiah, Jesus
    • After this John the Baptist continued to preach until imprisoned – this helps us understand a little more of Jesus’ early ministry, since Matthew & Luke go from the Temptation to John the Baptist’s imprisonment & death – See Matt. 14:3-11
    • I Surrender to Christ
      • Jn. 3:27-28, John’s testimony: “I surrender to Christ”
      • John’s humble response to his disciples made it very clear – Christ is preeminent – John preaches from an OT perspective, anticipating the Messiah but still in the old “economy” –  Jesus is revealing a “new way”, the New Covenant proclaimed by the Messiah in His “First Advent”
      • Jn. 3:30 – “He must increase, I must decrease” – One of the most well-known heart cries of Christianity.

Bible Study Journal
Remember to keep your journal handy whenever you are doing Bible study!  Note all of the extra references given in this article, as we do in all our studies.  Please be sure to stop and spend time looking those verses up in your Bible and writing in your journal what the verses means to you!


  • Christ is the Bridegroom – Jn. 3:29-30, John the Baptist elaborates with an important illustration, since there is no more purpose for the “best man”:
      • Jesus is the Light – John pointed to the Light
      • The picture of the Bridegroom
      • The OT prophets pictured Israel as the Bride of the Lord
        • Isaiah 62:4-5; Jer. 2:2; Hos. 2:16-20
  • Jn. 3:31-35, He Must Increase – “It’s All About Him”
      • Christ’s heavenly origin, v31
      • Christ knew truth firsthand, v32
      • Christ’s words always agree with God, v33
      • Christ had the Holy Spirit without limit, v34
      • The Father sovereignly granted supremacy to Jesus, v35
  • Jn. 3:32-34, the work of a witness
      • Christ has the Spirit without measure
      • “The One sent from God” is a major theme in John, used more than 40 times
      • Hebrew “shaliach”, the sent one, an ambassador or proxy, to stand in for the leader
      • Jesus is the Father’s preeminent “shaliach”
        • Jn. 3:34; 5:24,30; 6:38,44,57; 7:16, 29,33; 8:6,17,26,29
        • And so the disciples and we are Jesus’ “shaluchim”
        • Jn. 13:20; 17:18; 20:21

Bible Study Journal
Look at each of these verses and see how John the Baptist humbly supports the Messiah.

    • Jn. 3:27, The Sovereignty of God, He is in charge
    • Jn. 3:28, Christ’s work is preeminent
    • Jn. 3:29, Joy comes from being obedient – not seeking glory
    • Jn. 3:30, humility puts the focus on Christ – cp. Moses, Num. 11:26-29

Into Samaria

  • Jesus Travels North
    • After spending time with John the Baptist, Jesus gathered His men together again.  He still heads north, but now He is headed into central Samaria to Sychar.  You can use your Bible or Google to find a map of Israel during the time of Jesus… or you can use this one that is posted here.  Look for Sychar  near Mt. Gerizim.   This will show you the path they took to get to Jn. 4:5.
    • John 4:4,  The KJV says “He Must needs go through Samaria”, as if saying “I just have to do this…” Recall Jn. 3:17 – Jesus is on a Rescue Mission – Read ahead to Jn. 4:41, “many more believed”, and think about what is about to happen in Sychar!
    • Jn. 4:6, Jesus is “weary”
      • The humanity of the son of God – fully God, full man
      • This word expresses complete exhaustion
      • cp. Matt. 11:28; Lu. 5:5; 1 Cor. 15:10
  • Samaria’s History
    • Assyria had taken Israel (the Northern Tribes of Israel, later called the “Ten Lost Tribes”) in 722BC, a captivity in Assyria which lasted until 525BC.  This resulted in centuries of lost identity and the mixed marriages in Assyria.  Back in the land where poor and sickly Jews were left behind, the people were also mixed with surrounding Canaanite tribes.  This led to a very diluted blood relationship to true Judaism, and to compromised loyalty to Mosaic Law.  Israel (north tribes) became a compromising, religious society and developed a distinct and error-ridden religious system to replace true Judaism.  Samaria became an ostracized culture
    • The area around Sychar, including Jacob’s Well and Joseph’s Tomb are some of the most strongly validated locations of Israel’s history.  The well is basically as it was dug by Abraham and then Jacob, going down over 100′ to a fresh water spring that still flows.  Shechem is at the valley of Mt. Ebal & Mt. Gerizim – two mountains that form a remarkable ampitheatre-like area used by Israel to shout in antiphonal praise to God .  Read Deut. 27:9-26, and Josh. 8:30-35 for more information about this.

  • John 4:7, Jesus greets the Woman
    • Have you ever gone out on a busy sidewalk in town and sat down by someone and tried to start a conversation with them, hoping that you could lead into sharing the Gospel? Think about that. That’s got to be hard to do. But just think, if you could talk yourself into doing it, what would your approach be? Where would you go? What type of person would you try to find? Would you bring a Bible? Anything else?
    • But then… a Jewish man addresses a sinful Samaritan woman!
        • Makes you think that something special might happen….
    • Compare Nicodemus to the Samaritan Woman
        • They had very different lifestyles, upper crust wealth & religion vs. impoverished sinner,  at opposite poles of the social spectrum
        • Yet both were desperately needy sinners
        • The Jewish nobleman – wealth, religion, influence, pride
        • The Samaritan sinner – poverty, a nobody, a life of sin, hopeless

Bible Study Journal
Jesus actually ministers to four different types of people in Jn. 4 – the woman, the villagers, the disciples, the Cana nobleman & his household. Read the passage and reflect on Jesus’ approach to each, and how they respond.


  • Another “Divine Encounter”
    • John 4:7, “there came a woman” – have you ever noticed any divine encounters in your life, you crossing paths with a person that God obviously planned, perhaps He wanted you to talk with or begin friendship with him or her?
    • Wiersbe comments that like so many other times in the Bible’s account of God’s dealing with man, His sovereignty “works the
      Redemption process” – God’s overarching purpose for every action He takes in the Bible: Redemption!
    • If using Jewish time, this would be Noon, a strange time to be out for water, very hot; many observe John used Roman time in his Gospel so the “sixth hour” would have instead been 6pm
    • Three strikes against her – woman, Samaritan, immoral
  • Moving from Just Talk to Spiritual Truth
    • Something to think about:  If you’re going to tell someone the Gospel message, what are the essential facts you need share? What Bible verses would you refer to? Why is it a good idea to use the Bible when witnessing?
    • Jn. 4:7, the conversation begins
      • Jesus speaks to the woman! And He asks the woman for water!  She must have been amazed.  A Jewish Rabbi would never teach the Law to a woman, and never converse with a Samaritan.
      • Jn. 4:9, Her initial surprise causes her to hide behind the racial divide between their two cultures.  But Jesus had something much more important to share with her!
      • Jn. 4:10, Jesus responds with redemptive truth couched in relevant terms
      • Jn. 4:13-14, Jesus responds with compassion and unsolicited mercy
  • The Sinner Bows before the Savior
    • What is the most important thing a person has to do in order to ask Jesus to be his Savior? Even more important than believing that Jesus died on the Cross in order to pay the penalty for sin?
    • Christianity is different – we offer Living Water!
    • Jn. 4:15, she stops avoiding, and begins listening
    • Jn. 4:16, the key issue in any salvation discussion:  acknowledge your sin which results in your separation from God and your eternal suffering in hell
    • 4:23, True Worship – Worship God is spirit and in truth


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