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Our Lord the light.


17 everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the 18 world through him might be saved. He who believeth in him shall not be condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed on the name of 19 the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the 20 light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, lest his deeds should be dis21 covered. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”

After these things Jesus and his disciples came into the land of Judea; and there he 23 tarried with them, and baptized. And John also was baptizing in Enon near Salim, because much water was there: and they came, and came, and 24 were baptized. For John was not yet cast into prison..




Then arose a question between some of John's 26 disciples and a Jew about purifying. And they

instance of God's love to mankind; but were he only a man, and the end of his mission only to teach and instruct like other prophets, I do not see any force in this statement; but if he were the Word, and the design of his coming was both to teach men, and by the shedding of his blood to redeem them from the curse, then his reasoning is just. Rom. v. 8. Heb. ii. 9, and 1 John iii. 16.; iv. 9, 10. Whoever receives him, and believes and obeys him, shall be pardoned, justified, and saved; but on the other hand, such as reject him, his doctrine, and precepts, are condemned already; first, by the law which they have violated, and by the light of the gospel, which they resist.-In God. By divine aid, and are according to the will of God. Newcome supplies, "are wrought through faith in God." Campbell, "that it may be mani. fest his actions are agreeable to God.”

22. Came into the land, &c. From Jerusalem to some part of the land of Judea, as then distinguished from Samaria, Galilee, and Perta. Baptized. Not personally, but by his disciples. Ch. iv. 2.

23. Aenon, near Salim, &c. According to Eusebius, Aenon was eight miles from Scythopolis, southward, near to Salim and the Jordan Much water, &c. Or more literally, many streams.' The meaning of the term is unquestionably a fountain;' and this was divided, most probably, into many small streams, for the purpose of watering the contiguous grounds. As in the dry season water was very scarce in most places of Judea, this circumstance is noticed, that John administered the rite of baptism to the multitudes that attended him, where there was a copious spring; and from which also the people might be refreshed. Had John gone there for the purpose of immersion only, he might have performed the rite better in the Jordan, near to which river Enon was!

John's testimony to him.

came unto John, and said to him, "Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond the Jordan, to whom thou borest testimony, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him." John an- 27 swered and said, "A man can receive nothing, unless it be given him from heaven. Ye your- 28 selves are witnesses for me that I said, I am not the Christ, but am sent before him." The 29 bridegroom is he who hath the bride: but the friend of the bridegroom, who standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease. 30 He that cometh from above is above all he 31 who is from the earth is earthly, and speaketh as from the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. And what he hath seen and heard, 32 that he testifieth; and yet none receiveth his testimony. He that hath received his testimony 33 hath set to his seal that God is true. For he 34 whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God; for God giveth not the Spirit by measure to him. The Father loveth the Son, and 35 hath given all things into his hand. He that 36


25. A Jew about purifying. The best mss. and some versions read in the singular. This person is called a Jew, in distinction from John's dis ciples; and as Pearce suggests, he was one who had been 'purified,' or baptized by our Lord's disciples. With Kypke, I think some of John's followers

had questioned the right and propriety of any other than he baptizing; and they came to John to receive his opinion. Ch. i. 15-34.

27. A man can receive, &c. A man's rank, in any office, is what God appoints, and in a sovereign manner bestows.

29. The friend of the, &c. The bridegroom is the principal person; but John, as his friend, could and would rejoice in hearing his voice, and wit nessing his happiness.

31-32. Cometh from above, &c. If coming from above, or from heaven, meant only receiving a divine commission, then John came from above, or from heaven, as well as Jesus, Ch. i. 6.; and the evident contrast here intended is destroyed. It is said, that John did come from heaven as Jesus did, and for proof we are referred to Matt. xxi. 25, and parallel passages, where it is said 'the baptism of John was from heaven.' But this is a different thing: John is now speaking of the different origin of himself and Christ; the one is from above, the other from the earth, born like other men, and speaketh as from the earth; but could not speak of what he had heard and seen in heaven as Jesus did. The pre-eminence of Christ is stated as resting on this coming from above; on this account he is above all; above all prophets and teachers, because he testifieth what he hath seen and heard.

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REFLECTIONS UPON CHAPTER III. 1. We are taught what is indispensably requisite in order to be the subjects of Christ's kingdom on earth, or to share in the glories and happiness of it in heaven. We are degenerate and sinful, and must therefore be born again, be born of the Spirit; for without this change we cannot understand or relish the spiritual blessings and privileges of this kingdom. No merely external advantages will avail; not the acquisition of science, the refinements of education, or even the enjoyment of the highest religious advantages. We may possess all these, and yet be in spiritual darkness; may be the slaves of our unhallowed propensities, and dead in trespasses and sin. Hence let us implore the divine Spirit, who by his mysterious influence can change our hearts, enlighten our minds, and give life to our souls; and who will become in us a spirit of grace and supplication; and be our comforter and sanctifier.

2. From our Lord's further remarks, we learn the amazing love of God in the gift of his dear son to a sinful world. In the fulness of time God sent forth his son, made of a woman, and in the likeness of sinful flesh; but he came from above, from the bosom of the father, and spoke what he knew, and testified what he had seen. love that such a person should come to be a light to enlighten the

35. Given all things, &c. Subjected all things to him; for he is the bead over all things for the Church.

36. He that believeth, &c. John closes his noble testimony to Christ in the most serious and impressive manner, assuring his own followers, that if they believed on him they should enjoy everlasting life; but if not, they should be doomed to suffer all the horrors of future punishment.

CHAP. IV. 1. The Lord knew, &c. What had passed, Ch. iii. 25, 26, having been related to him; and that the circumstance had been also related to the jealous Pharisees. That he made. That Jesus made; but the repetition of the name for the pronoun is frequent in scripture. See Gen ii. 3.; xix. 24. John vii. 32, &c.

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2. Himself baptized not, &c. There was a dignity in this manner; and by this Jesus showed his superiority to John, who baptized in person. This baptism I consider the same as John's, a baptism binding to repentance, and referring to the Messiah as about to come. Had Jesus permitted or commanded his disciples to baptize into his name as the Messiah, he would have brought on himself at once the weight of Pharisaic wrath, before he had taught those doctrines, and wrought those miracles, which were to be the proofs of his Messiahship. Comp. Matt. xvi. 20.; xvii. 9. 3. He left Judea, &c. After having abode there about eight months.

passeth through Samaria.

| must needs go through Samaria. He therefore 5 cometh to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near to the portion of land which Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob's well was there. 6 So Jesus, being wearied with his journey, sat down by the well; and it was about the sixth hour. And a woman of Samaria cometh to 7 draw water. Jesus saith to her "Give me

to drink." (For his disciples had gone to 8 the city to buy food.) Then the Samaritan 9 woman saith to him, Why dost thou, being a Jew, ask drink of me, who am a Samaritan? (for the Jews have no friendly dealings with

nations, and the glory of God's people Israel! But how much greater is this love, that he should come to be lifted up upon the cross, to suffer and die for our sins! The father did not spare him; Jesus did not spare himself. He was stricken, smitten of God and afflicted; and yet as the good shepherd, he laid down his life for the sheep. Let him be the object of our confidence, love and gratitude; and let us bear his reproach joyfully.

3. We are admonished by the baptist's repeated testimony, to cultivate a humble, believing spirit, and to rejoice in the person and work of Jesus. He felt no envy, no repining at the growing reputation and success of Jesus; for he knew that as he came from heaven furnished with the richest endowments of heavenly power and wisdom, he must be above all. John, as a burning and shining light in the dark night, could be content to sink into obscurity at the approach of the sun of righteousness. He could be content to see him increase in fame, in the multitude and holiness of his disciples, while he decreased; and he could rejoice in this as the friend, forerunner and harbinger of Jesus. May we cultivate the same holy regard to Jesus, receive his testimony, believe in him with the heart unto righteousness, and make confession with our lips unto salvation.

This appears from verse 35th. For harvest began soon after the passover. Levit. xxii. 10, 15; and now there were only four months to harvest.


Must needs go, &c. Both because it was the nearest road to Galilee, and because he knew for what purpose he was about to visit that city.

5. Sychar. This was anciently called Shechem. See Gen. xxxiii. 18, 19.; xxxv. 4.; xlviii. 22.; and from Judg. ix. 7, appears to have been situated at the foot of Mount Gerizim. The Jews called it Sychar, the city of drunkards, by way of reproach.

-Sixth 6. Jacob's well, &c. So called, because he had made use of it.hour. Or noon. Jesus was wearied with his jouruey, and here rested, until his disciples returned from the town with provision.

9. No friendly dealings, &c. This is clearly the sense; for in a way of trade it seems they had dealings, as the 8th verse proves. The hatred of the Jews towards the Samaritans arose from many causes-their foreign origin and idolatry, 2 Kings xvii. 24-41,-their injurious conduct towards them when they returned from captivity, Ezra iv. 1-6. Nehem. vi. 1-14.-the temple which they had built in opposition to that of Jerusalem-and their constant practice of joining with the enemies of the Jews..

10. The gift of God, &c. Campbell renders 'the bountifulness of God;' and Schleusner considers dapay as used in the sense of xg2.Cor. ix. 14, 15.

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The Samarilan woman

10 the Samaritans.) Jesus answered and said to her, "If thou knewest the gift of God, and who he is that saith to thee, Give me to drink;' thou wouldst have asked of him, and 11 he would have given thee living water." The woman saith to him, "Sir, thou hast no vessel to draw with, and the well is deep: whence then canst thou have that living water? 12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, 13 and his children, and his cattle?" Jesus answered and said to her, "Whosoever drinketh 14 of this water will thirst again: But whosoever shall drink of the water which I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water which I will give him shall be in him a fountain of water 15 springing up to everlasting life." The woman

saith to him, "Sir, give me this water, that 16 I thirst not, nor come hither to draw." Jesus saith to her, "Go, call thy husband, and 17 come hither." The woman answered and said, "I have no husband." Jesus saith to her, "Thou hast rightly said, 'I have no husband :' 18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in this thou 19 hast spoken truly." The woman saith to him, "Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped on this mountain; and

And upon this his disciples came, and won- 27 dered that he talked with the woman: yet none said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her? The woman then left her 28 waterpot, and went into the city, and saith to the men, "Come, see a man, who hath told 29 me all things that ever I did is not this the Christ?" Then they went out of the city, and 30 came unto him.



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As this sense is rather unusual, I adhere to the common version; and I think the sense is, "if thou knewest what God can bestow, and that I am the Christ, thou wouldst have asked of me to teach thee and save thee; to give thee the living water of my Spirit and truth."

11. No vessel to draw, &c. Understanding Christ as speaking of springwater, and perceiving he had no vessel to draw with, as travellers usually had, she asks, whence he could have this living water?

12. Greater than our, &c. They called Jacob their father, and considered this well as honoured by his having drunk out of it.

14. A fountain of water, &c. Divine grace and knowledge would assuage the restless desires of the mind, and be like an overflowing fountain of holy exercises and affections, and ending in the enjoyment of eternal life.

16. Call thy husband, &c. Jesus finding the woman not capable of understanding his allusion, now touches on a subject, which made her sensible that he was a prophet; and the knowledge he discovered tended to convince and convert the Samaritans.

taught and instructed.

ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where
men ought to worship." Jesus saith to her, 21
"Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when
ye shall worship the Father neither on this
mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem. Ye worship 22
what ye know not: we worship what we know:
for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour 23
cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers
shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth:
for such are they whom the father seeketh to
worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that 24
worship him must worship him in spirit and in
truth." The woman saith to him, "I know 25
that the Messiah cometh, (which signifieth the
Christ:) when he is come, he will tell us all
things." Jesus saith to her, "I who speak 26
unto thee am he."

18. Hast had five, &c. The practice of divorcing wives was so common, and of others marrying them, that we need not wonder that this woman had been five times married. She was now living with a man as a wife, without having observed the usual form of marriage; and the design of Jesus, iu mentioning this, was to awaken her slumbering conscience to a sense of her sin. Pearce renders, "Thou hast no husband now;" and Rosenmuller, that she was espoused, but not brought home.

19, 20. I perceive that, &c. She knew that he must be one, from the supernatural knowledge which he had discovered; and desirous of waving

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In the mean time his disciples besought him, 31 saying, Master, eat." But he said to them, 32


the subject on which he had touched, asked the question which divided so much the Jews and the Samaritans, which was the true place of worship, Samaria or Jerusalem.

21-24, The hour cometh, &c. When neither Samaria nor Jerusalem shall have any preference; but until that time come Jerusalem should be considered as the place which God had appointed for his worship.- -Ye worship what, &c. They rejected the writings of the prophets, and their knowledge was much inferior to that of the Jews. They were, nearly as ignorant as their heathen neighbours.—Salvation is, &c. The Saviour must spring from the tribe of Judah and the house of David; and when he hath set up his kingdom it will be more generally known that God is a spirit,' and that all acceptable worship is that which is in or with the spirit' or mind, irrespective of place or temple; and in truth,' as opposed to the typical rites which are now observed.

25. Tell us all things. This shows that the Samaritans were expecting the Messiah would soon come, and that he would be a prophet. With great condescension Jesus informs this woman that he was the Messiah.

27-33. And upon this, &c. The woman, convinced of her own sin, and surprised at the discovery made, hastened to inform her friends and neighbours. 'Come, see a man, &c.' This is the language of penitence and gratitude.

31-38. Master cat, &c. From this circumstance Jesus takes occasion to inform them that to teach and save sinners, which was the work given him to do, yielded far more pleasure to his mind, than animal food did to his appetite. He noticeth that men were flocking to hear him and to seek salvation;

The Samaritans believe.


Nobleman's son healed.

"I have food to eat which ye know not of." || For Jesus himself declared, that a prophet 44 33 Then said the disciples one to another, "Hath hath no honour in his own country. So when 45 34 any man brought him aught to eat?" Jesus he had come into Galilee, the Galileans resaith to them, "My food is to do the will of ceived him, having seen all the things that he 35 him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say did in Jerusalem at the feast: for they also had not ye, There are yet four months, and then gone to the feast. So Jesus came again into 46 cometh harvest? behold, I say to you, Lift up Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. your eyes, and look on the fields, for they are And there was one of the king's household, 36 already white for harvest. And he who reapeth whose son was sick at Capernaum. This man, 47 receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit to ever- when he heard that Jesus had come out of lasting life that both he who soweth and he Judea into Galilee, went to him, and besought 37 who reapeth may rejoice together. And herein him that he would come down, and cure his is that saying true, 'One soweth, and another son: for he was at the point of death. Then 48 38 reapeth.' I send you to reap that on which ye said Jesus to him, said Jesus to him, "Unless ye see signs and have bestowed no labour: other men have la- wonders, ye will not believe." He of the king's 49 boured, and ye have entered into their labours." household saith to him, "Sir, come down ere 39 And many of the Samaritans of that city my child die." Jesus saith to him, "Go; 50 believed on him for the saying of the woman, Depart; thy son liveth." And the man believed who testified, "He told me all things that ever the words which Jesus had spoken to him, 40 I did." When therefore the Samaritans had and departed. And as he was now going down. 51 come to him, they besought him that he his servants met him, and told him, saying, would abide with them: and he abode there "Thy son liveth." Then he inquired of them 52 41 two days. And many more believed because the hour when he began to amend. And they 42 of his own words; And said to the woman, said to him, "Yesterday at the seventh hour, "Now we believe, not because of thy report the fever left him," report the fever left him," So the father knew 53 only for we have heard him ourselves, and that it was at the very hour, in which Jesus know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour had said to him, "Thy son liveth :" and himself of the world." believed, and his whole household. This second 54 miracle Jesus did, after he had come out of Judea into Galilee.


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Now after the two days he departed thence, and went into Galilee, but not to Nazareth.


I. We learn our Lord's

great condescension and mercy. How would have turned away
with disgust from a character like that of the woman of Samaria; but
Jesus pitied, instructed and turned her to God. She was a lost sheep
and the good shepherd followed and restored her. What a gift to
men is Christ! He could impart the life-giving waters of his grace
and spirit; waters which afford the noblest refreshment and defight
here and which spring up to eternal life. O let us seek these living

and that this state of things might be compared to corn ready for the sickle. How happy were the apostles to be sent to reap this harvest, and to enter into the labour of the prophets, of John and of Jesus.

39-42. And many of the, &c. The readiness of the Samaritans to receive Jesus, on the testimony of the woman, and their coming and listening to his discourse, as well as their invitation, afford a proof what Jesus had been saying to his disciples. They acknowledge him to be indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world; an acknowledgment more full and clear than his own disciples had yet made.

43. But not to Nazareth. With Campbell, I have added this as what is necessary to elucidate the text, and be a ground of what follows.


waters; that becoming spiritual in our frame of mind we may render to God a homage and service suitable to his spiritual nature. Let us reflect that places and forms of worship are now of no importance, and that only spiritual worshippers are acceptable to God.


2. Let us behold with pleasure the example and zeal of our Lord, and the success of his labours. The conversion of one sinner led to that of many; and shall we not tell to our neighbours, what we know of Christ? Let us invite them. Come, see this adorable person,

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Pool of Bethesda.


A. D. 31. Jesus on the sabbath cureth an imfirm man; the Jews cavil and prosecute him for it; he nobly vindicates himself by the testimony of the Father, of John, and by his own works.


AFTER these things there was a feast of the 2 Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, 3 having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of infirm persons, of blind, lame, withered, [waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever therefore after the troubling of the water went in first was made well of whatsoever disease he 5 had.] And a certain man was there, who had 6 had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying, and knew that he had been now a long time afflicted, he saith to him, 7 "Dost thou desire to be made well?" The infirm man answered him, "Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another goeth 8 down before me." Jesus saith to him, "Rise,

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who knows all that we have done, and who is indeed the Christ! Let us hear and imitate him. It was his food and drink to do the will of his father, and it surely should be ours to do his. Especially should those who minister in holy things, be careful to embrace every opportunity of doing it, as they have entered into the labours of so many others, who have preceded them. They laid the foundation of many spiritual temples, and let us build them up; they sowed the good seed, and let us watch its growth and preserve it from birds of prey, that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.

Infirm man cured. take up thy couch, and walk." And immedi- 9 ately the man was made well, and took his up couch, and walked.

Now on that day was the sabbath. The Jews 10 therefore said to him that was cured, "It is the sabbath: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy couch." He answered them, "He who made 11 me well, himself said to me, Take up thy couch, and walk." Then they asked him, 12 "What man is that who said to thee, "Take up thy couch, and walk?" But he that was cured 13 knew not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place. Jesus afterward meeteth him in the temple, and 14 said to him, "Behold, thou art made well: sin no more, lest some worse thing befal thee." The man departed, and told the Jews that it 15 was Jesus, who had made him well. And for 16 this did the Jews persecute Jesus, [and sought to slay him,] because he had done these things on the sabbath.

CHAP. V. 1. A feast of the Jews. Pearce, and some other critics, contend that this was the feast of Pentecost; but it is far more probable that it was the Passover. See Doddridge's note.

2. Sheep-gate. See Nehem. iii. 1, 32.; xii. 39.- -A pool, &c. Jerom says, It is still there, nigh the place where the temple stood. Bethesda, or house of mercy; the pool and building were thus called, as Jacob called the place where he slept, Bethel.

3, 4. Waiting for the, yc. I have inclosed these words in brackets, as being of doubtful authority. The learned reader may see Griesbach, who marks them as what should probably be omitted, and gives the authorities for it. With Doddridge, I observe that the 7th verse seems to require the account contained in these; and the difficulty of explaining these may have led some to suspect, and others to omit them. I suppose, with Pearce, that these were mineral waters, and that it was usual for persons to bathe therein; that some unusual commotion had lately been observed at particular seasons, and some cures wrought on those who had first bathed, which, according to the opinion of the Jews, occurred through some divine agent. See Pearce's Vind. yol. 2. X


But Jesus said to them, "My Father worketh 17 hitherto : and I also work.” Wherefore the 18 Jews sought the more to kill him, because he

3. Let us not doubt the power of Jesus to heal and save us; but like the noble person apply to Jesus for this purpose. He sought the life of his son; and he did not seek in vain. The power of Christ could reach any place or any person; and in the instance recorded, it was effectually exerted. The cure of the son was a means of producing faith in the hearts of all the household; and the power of the Lord was as much displayed in the latter as in the former instance. Thus salvation, in the noblest sense, came to this house! O that we may be enabled to believe, that so both ourselves and our household may be saved.

5-9. Thirty-eight years. A long period of affliction, which moved the compassion of Jesus to put the question, dost thou desire, &c.'; and even unsolicited he restores him.

10. It is the sabbath, &c. Strange that they should thus speak to him, if they knew that he was the afflicted person, who had so long sat there in vain. 11-16. He who made me well, &c. This was his apology, yet he did not know his benefactor, until Jesus finding him in the temple, probably having come there to return thanks for the special mercy conferred, informed him who it was that had cured him. Often did the Jews cavil at our Lord for doing good on the Sabbath. See Matt. xii. 9-14.

17. Worketh hitherto, &c. In preserving and governing all things, and conferring benefits and blessings on men without respect to days; and like him, I rest not on the Sabbath from showing mercy, and doing acts of kindness.

18. His own father, &c. As the Jews called God their father,' and as Jesus taught his disciples to address him in the same manner, they could not surely blame him for speaking in this style, had they not perceived that he used the terms in a peculiar and distinguishing sense. In this peculiar sensé "the Son of God,' was understood to signify the Messiah; and as Jesus claimed 161

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