John 4:28
The woman then left her water pot, and went her way into the city, and said to the men,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(28) The woman then left her waterpot.—The waterpot left behind was a pledge of her return; and it is to us a mark of the presence of him who has related the incidents.

John 4:28-30. The woman then — Seeing other company coming up to interrupt the discourse, immediately left her water-pot — Or pail, behind her, forgetting smaller things, while her thoughts were engrossed with matters of the greatest importance; and went her way with all haste into the city — Where she published the news in the streets, and said to all she met with, Come, see a man which told me all things that ever I did — Even the most secret circumstances of my past life. Our Lord had told her but a few things, but his words awakened her conscience, which soon told her all the rest. Is not this the Christ? — She does not doubt of it herself, but speaks thus to excite them to make the inquiry. Then they went out of the city, &c. — The Samaritans, struck both with wonder and curiosity, did not delay, but accompanied her instantly, wishing, no doubt, that her news might prove true.4:27-42 The disciples wondered that Christ talked thus with a Samaritan. Yet they knew it was for some good reason, and for some good end. Thus when particular difficulties occur in the word and providence of God, it is good to satisfy ourselves that all is well that Jesus Christ says and does. Two things affected the woman. The extent of his knowledge. Christ knows all the thoughts, words, and actions, of all the children of men. And the power of his word. He told her secret sins with power. She fastened upon that part of Christ's discourse, many would think she would have been most shy of repeating; but the knowledge of Christ, into which we are led by conviction of sin, is most likely to be sound and saving. They came to him: those who would know Christ, must meet him where he records his name. Our Master has left us an example, that we may learn to do the will of God as he did; with diligence, as those that make a business of it; with delight and pleasure in it. Christ compares his work to harvest-work. The harvest is appointed and looked for before it comes; so was the gospel. Harvest-time is busy time; all must be then at work. Harvest-time is a short time, and harvest-work must be done then, or not at all; so the time of the gospel is a season, which if once past, cannot be recalled. God sometimes uses very weak and unlikely instruments for beginning and carrying on a good work. Our Saviour, by teaching one poor woman, spread knowledge to a whole town. Blessed are those who are not offended at Christ. Those taught of God, are truly desirous to learn more. It adds much to the praise of our love to Christ and his word, if it conquers prejudices. Their faith grew. In the matter of it: they believed him to be the Saviour, not only of the Jews but of the world. In the certainty of it: we know that this is indeed the Christ. And in the ground of it, for we have heard him ourselves.Left her water-pot - Her mind was greatly excited. She was disturbed, and hastened to the city in great agitation to make this known. She seems to have been convinced that he was the Messiah, and went immediately to make it known to others. Our first business, when we have found the Saviour, should be to make him known also to others. 28-30. left her water-pot—How exquisitely natural! The presence of strangers made her feel that it was time for her to withdraw, and He who knew what was in her heart, and what she was going to the city to do, let her go without exchanging a word with her in the hearing of others. Their interview was too sacred, and the effect on the woman too overpowering (not to speak of His own deep emotion) to allow of its being continued. But this one artless touch—that she "left her water-pot"—speaks volumes. The living water was already beginning to spring up within her; she found that man doth not live by bread nor by water only, and that there was a water of wondrous virtue that raised people above meat and drink, and the vessels that held them, and all human things. In short, she was transported, forgot everything but One, and her heart running over with the tale she had to tell, she hastens home and pours it out. She had no sooner tasted of the living water spoken of by Christ, but she left her water pot: thus Peter tells our Saviour, that they had left all and followed him. She goeth into the city Sichem (no doubt) or Sychar, mentioned John 4:5; and doth not herself enter into a long discourse with the citizens, only invites the citizens to come and see Christ, that they might judge from the hearing of their own ears, and the sight of their own eyes. The woman then left her water pot,.... Her pail, or bucket, she brought with her to the well to draw water in: this she left, either for Christ and his disciples to make use of; or rather through forgetfulness, her mind being greatly impressed, and her thoughts much taken up with what Christ had said to her, and she being in haste to acquaint others with it: so the disciples left their nets, their business, their friends, and all for Christ; and so the saints are brought to quit their earthly and worldly things for the sake of Christ, and his Gospel. The Ethiopic version renders it, "she left her disputation": she left off discoursing with Christ upon the disciples coming to him.

And went her way into the city: the city of Sychar, to inform her friends, relations, and neighbours what she had met with: so Andrew and Philip, when they had found Christ themselves, acquaint others with it, and bring them to him; so Levi, the publican, being called himself by Christ, makes a feast for Christ, and invites many publicans and sinners to sit down with him, that they might know him as well as himself; so the Apostle Paul, when converted, expresses a great concern for his brethren and kinsmen according to the flesh; and such is the nature of true grace, that those that have it would have others partakers of it likewise:

and saith to the men. The Ethiopic version adds, "of her house"; no doubt the men of the place in general are meant; not only those of her family, but the inhabitants of the city. The Syriac version leaves out the words, "to the men". The Jews will not allow the Cuthites, or Samaritans, to be called "men"; this they peculiarly ascribe to priests, Levites, and Israelites (u).

(u) T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 61. 1. & Tosephot in ib.

The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
John 4:28-30. Οὖν] in consequence of the disciples’ coming, which interrupted the interview with Jesus.

ἀφῆκεν, κ.τ.λ.] οὕτως ἀνήφθη τῷ πυρὶ τῶν πνευματικῶν ναμάτων, ὡς καὶ τὸ ἄγγος ἀφεῖναι καὶ τὴν χρείαν, διʼ ἣν παρεγένετο, Euthymius Zigabenus. How great the power of the decisive awakening of the new life in this woman!

πάντα ἅσα] often thus used together in the classics; Xen. Anab. ii. 1. 2; Soph. El. 370, 880, 884; Bornem. ad Anab. i. 10. 3.

ἐποίησα] thus from a sense of guilt she described what Jesus had said to her. His words were therefore the summary of her moral history.

μήτι οὗτος, κ.τ.λ.] not must he not be really the Messiah? as if the question implied an affirmation. So Lücke, but against the constant use of μήτι as simply interrogative, in keeping with which we should rather render the words, yet is not perhaps this man the Messiah? which supposes a negative answer; to be explained, however, as arising psychologically from the fear and bashfulness of surprise at the newly discovered fact, too great for belief. The woman believes it; but startled at the greatness of the discovery, she does not trust herself, and ventures modestly only to ask as one in doubt. See on Matthew 12:23; Baeumlein, Partik. 302. Observe in John 4:30 the change from ἐξῆλθον to the vividly descriptive ἤρχοντο (see on John 4:27; John 20:3). In the latter word the reader sees the crowd coming. Comp. John 4:40, where they arrive.John 4:28. ἀφῆκεν οὖνἡ γυνὴ. “The woman accordingly,” that is, because of the interruption, “left her pitcher,” forgetting the object of her coming, in the greater discovery she had made; and also unconsciously showing that she meant to return.—καὶ ἀπῆλθενὁ χριστός; and went to the city and says to the men, easily accessible because lounging in groups at the hottest hour of the day, “Come, see a man who told me all I ever did”. The woman’s absorption in the thought of the prophet’s endowment causes her to forget the shame of the declaration which had convinced her. She does not positively affirm that He is the Christ, but says μήτι οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ χριστός; This is what grammarians call the “tentative” use of μήτι. The A.V[49] “Is not this the Christ?” is not so correct as R.V[50] “Can this be the Christ?” The Syriac has “Is not this perhaps the Christ?” The Vulgate has “Numquid ipse est Christus?” In some passages of the N.T. (Matthew 7:16, Acts 10:47) μήτι is used in questions which expect a more decided and exclusive negative than the simple μή, “certainly not,” “not at all”. But here and in Matthew 12:23 mere doubt expresses itself, doubt with rather a leaning to an affirmative answer (cf. Hoogeveen, Doctrina Partic., under μήτι; and Pape’s Lexicon, where it is rendered “ob etwa”). The Greek commentators unite in lauding the skill with which the woman excites the curiosity of the men and leads without seeming to lead. [Euthymius says: τὸ δὲ μήτι οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ χριστός; ἀντὶ τοῦ, μήποτε οὗτός ἐστιν; ὑποκρίνεται γὰρ, οἷον ἐπιδιστάζειν, ὥστε παρʼ αὐτῶν γενέσθαι τὴν κρίσιν.]

[49] Authorised Version.

[50] Revised Version.28. The woman then] Better, The woman therefore; because of the interruption.

left her waterpot] Same word for ‘waterpot’ as in the miracle at Cana, and used nowhere else. Her leaving it shews that her errand is forgotten, or neglected as of no moment compared with what now lies before her. This graphic touch comes from one who was there, and saw, and remembered.John 4:28. Ἀφῆκεν, left) either about to fill her water-vessel afterwards, or forgetful of lesser things, through joy; also being thus about to run the less encumbered. The woman treats the water as Jesus treated bread, as a secondary consideration, John 4:32, [To His disciples, urging Him to eat] “I have meat to eat that ye know not of” [Without delay, and by a spontaneous effort, faith, and the joy and certainty of it, are brought to hear in leading others also to the chief good, when once discovered.—V. g.]Verses 28, 29. - The woman then (i.e. in consequence of the arrival of the disciples) left her water pot (ἀφῆκε); left it to itself, forgot the object of her visit to the well, so engrossed was she with the new teaching, so amazed with his revelations; or perhaps, with womanly tact, left it that the disciples might, if they would, make use of it for their Master. Most commentators suggest that she left it, intending by the very act to come back again shortly for water. But this is scarcely the idea conveyed by ἀφῆκε. Archdeacon Watkius truly says that this notice "is a mark of the presence of him who has related the incidents." And she went her way to the city - probably beyond her home (see note, ver. 7), constituting herself at once the messenger and missionary of the new Teacher and Prophet, who had declared himself to be the Messiah - and saith to the men whom she found in the marketplace or highway, Come, see a man who told me all things that ever I did. This exaggeration of the self-revelation was due to the deep conviction of her mind that the Prophet had read her whole life - its weakness and its follies, and it may have been its sins and crimes, not unknown, alas! to others as well. Chrysostom says, "She might have said, 'Come and see One that prophesieth;' but when the soul is aflame with holy fire it looks then to nothing earthly, neither to glory nor to shame, but belongs to one thing alone, the flame which occupieth it." There is a touch of naivete, of loquacity, of impetuous womanhood, about this, that thrills with life. She was not afraid, in the first gush of her new-found joy, to brave the unflattering scorn of the men to whom such a confession was made; and then, in most natural and appropriate fashion, added, He is not however the Christ, is he? The question, by its form, suggests a negative answer; "but," Westcott says, "hope bursts through it (cf. Matthew 12:23)." She knows that he is the Christ, but she wishes the townspeople to guess it - to come to a like conclusion with herself. Water-pot

See on John 2:6.

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