Unit 13, Day 3: John 4

New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students, 2015


Introduction

While traveling to Galilee, Jesus passed through Samaria and taught a woman at a well. The woman testified to others that Jesus was the Christ. Later, Jesus healed the son of a nobleman.

John 4:1–42

Jesus Christ teaches a woman of Samaria

Think about the following question: What is the most valuable natural resource on the earth? As you think about what your answer would be, consider such natural resources as soil, iron, coal, oil, gold, and diamonds.

Read the following statement by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Elder David A. Bednar

“We might initially think that gold, oil, or diamonds have the greatest worth. But of all the minerals, metals, gems, and solvents found on and in the earth, the most valuable is water.

“Life springs from water. Life is sustained by water. Water is the medium required to perform the various functions associated with all known forms of life. Our physical bodies are approximately two-thirds water. Whereas a person can survive for many days or even weeks without food, an individual will usually die in only three or four days without water. Most of the world’s great centers of population are situated near sources of fresh water. Simply stated, life could not exist without the availability of and access to adequate supplies of clean water” (“A Reservoir of Living Water,” [Church Educational System fireside for young adults, Feb. 4, 2007], 1; lds.org/broadcasts).

As you study John 4, look for what kind of water is essential to your spirit and where you can find this valuable resource.

In Joseph Smith Translation, John 4:1–4 (in the Bible appendix) we learn that both Jesus and His disciples baptized.

Jesus left Judea and traveled to Galilee. Read John 4:4, looking for the area He passed through while traveling to Galilee.

Look at Bible Maps, no. 11, “The Holy Land in New Testament Times,” and locate Judea, Samaria, and Galilee.

map, Holy Land in New Testament Times(click to view larger)

Jews typically traveled around Samaria rather than passing through it because of the hostility that existed between Jews and Samaritans (see Bible Dictionary, “Samaritans”). Jesus chose to travel through Samaria instead of going around it.

Read John 4:5–9, looking for what happened when Jesus stopped at a well near the city of Sychar in Samaria. (The phrase “about the sixth hour” in verse 6 means it was around noon.) Notice the woman’s surprise when Jesus asked her for a drink.

Read John 4:10–12, looking for what Jesus said in response to the woman’s question.

Jesus and woman at well

What did He offer her?

When the Savior used the phrase “gift of God” in verse 10, He was referring to Himself as the Savior of the world and the source of living water.

Read John 4:13–14, looking for what Jesus said about the water that He offered.

Elder David A. Bednar

To better understand what the living water represents, read the following statement by Elder Bednar: “The living water referred to in this episode is a representation of the Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel. And as water is necessary to sustain physical life, so the Savior and His doctrines, principles, and ordinances are essential for eternal life. You and I need His living water daily and in ample supply to sustain our ongoing spiritual growth and development” (“A Reservoir of Living Water,” 2).

  1. journal icon1.

    In your scripture study journal, draw a cup of water and label it: The Savior and His gospel. Then write about why water is an appropriate symbol of the Savior and His gospel.

With this symbolism in mind, read John 4:14 again, and consider what principle we can learn about the Savior and His gospel.

One principle we might identify from this verse is that if we come unto Jesus Christ and earnestly partake of His gospel, then we will receive eternal life. Consider writing this principle in the margin of your scriptures.

Read John 4:15–18, looking for what the woman requested of Jesus and how the Savior responded. Think about how this woman needed the water the Savior offered.

Jesus’s answer indicated that He knew this woman’s situation.

What thoughts or feelings might this woman have had when Jesus revealed details about her that a typical stranger could not have known?

One truth we can learn from these verses is that Jesus Christ knows our sins and offers us His gospel to help us overcome them. Why is this truth important to know and understand?

Read John 4:19–20, looking for what the woman said to Jesus that demonstrated that her perception of Him was changing.

In Samaria is a mountain named Mount Gerizim. Centuries before the Savior’s mortal ministry, the Samaritans had built a temple there as a place of worship. Unlike the Jews, however, the Samaritans did not have the priesthood authority to perform ordinances, and they rejected many teachings of God’s prophets.

Read John 4:21–24 and Joseph Smith Translation, John 4:26 (in John 4:24, footnote a), looking for what Jesus taught the woman about worshipping God.

According to the Joseph Smith Translation, what blessing comes as we worship God in “spirit and in truth”?

From these verses we learn that if we worship the Father in spirit and in truth, He will bless us with His Spirit.

As you read the following statement by Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, look for and mark what it means to worship the Father in spirit and truth:

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

“Our purpose is to worship the true and living God and to do it by the power of the Spirit and in the way he has ordained. The approved worship of the true God leads to salvation; devotions rendered to false gods and which are not founded on eternal truth carry no such assurance.

“A knowledge of the truth is essential to true worship. …

“… True and perfect worship consists in following in the steps of the Son of God; it consists in keeping the commandments and obeying the will of the Father to that degree that we advance from grace to grace until we are glorified in Christ as he is in his Father. It is far more than prayer and sermon and song. It is living and doing and obeying. It is emulating the life of the great Exemplar [Jesus Christ]” (“How to Worship,” Ensign, Dec. 1971, 129–30).

  1. journal icon2.

    Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. a.

      When has your worship of Heavenly Father invited the Spirit to help you in your life?

    2. b.

      According to Elder McConkie’s statement, what can you do to better worship the Father in spirit and truth? (Write a goal of one thing you can specifically do better.)

Read John 4:25–26, looking for what Jesus revealed about Himself to the woman.

Read John 4:27–30, looking for what the woman did after talking with the Savior.

What did she say that indicated she had gained a testimony of Jesus Christ?

From this account we can learn that as we gain a testimony of Jesus Christ, we are filled with a desire to share it with others.

In John 4:31–37 we read that Jesus’s disciples returned with food. When they asked Him to eat, He taught them that He was sustained not by eating but by performing His Father’s will. He then invited them to see that opportunities to preach the gospel were abundant.

Read John 4:39–42, looking for the impact of the woman’s testimony on the people in her city.

According to John 4:42, what did the people say to the woman?

John 4:43–54

Jesus heals a nobleman’s son

John 4:43–45 records that Jesus left Samaria and entered Galilee. Read John 4:46–54, looking for who met Jesus and what blessing this person sought from Jesus.

Based on what Jesus said in verse 48, why did He delay granting the blessing this man sought? How did this man demonstrate that he did not need a sign to believe?

From this account we can learn that as we believe in Jesus Christ without needing signs, the Lord will confirm our belief.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught the significance of healing of the nobleman’s son: “This is the first healing miracle that is set forth in detail in the Gospels. Those performed at the Feast of the Passover and throughout all Judea are not described or explained. This miracle—the second performed in Cana—adds a new dimension to Jesus’ healing ministry that we have not seen up to this point. It is in fact a dual miracle: one that healed the body of the absent son, and one that cured unbelief and planted faith in the heart of the present father” (The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4 vols. [1979–81], 2:12).

  1. journal icon3.

    Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. a.

      Why is it important that we believe in Jesus Christ without needing signs?

    2. b.

      How does the Lord confirm our belief as we faithfully believe in Him?

  2. journal icon4.

    Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:

    I have studied John 4 and completed this lesson on (date).

    Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: