John 4–5

“John 4–5,” New Testament Teacher Resource Manual (2002), 111–12


The Life of Jesus Christ


Events in these chapters likely occurred within this period

First year of the Lord’s ministry

Second year

Third year

Christ’s birth

First Passover

Second Passover

Third Passover

Final Passover and last week


Have you ever been so thirsty you would willingly give all that you have for some cool, thirst-quenching water? In the land where Jesus walked, water was scarce and precious, and wars have been fought to secure it. Prophets used the imagery of water to suggest the source of eternal life (see Isaiah 8:6; 12:3; 44:3; 55:1; Jeremiah 2:13; Zechariah 14:8). Jesus opened His public ministry by miraculously changing water to wine (see John 2:1–11). He taught Nicodemus that we must be born of water (see John 3:1–7). He taught the woman of Samaria that He offered “living water” that would lead to ”everlasting life” (John 4:10, 14; see vv. 5–14). The sick man near the pool of Bethesda discovered that healing was not in the actual pool of water but in the Savior (see John 5:1–15). John 4–5reveals from what source those who thirst for truth and righteousness can be filled.

Prayerfully study John 4–5and consider the following principles before preparing your lessons.

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Additional Resources

  • The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, 38, 51–52, 109.

Suggestions for Teaching

Choose from the following ideas, or use some of your own, as you prepare lessons for John 4–5.

John 4–5. Knowing the places where Jesus walked can help us remember His life.

(20–25 minutes)

Ask students:

  • What are some places that have special meaning in your lives?

  • Why do some places evoke such strong memories?

Explain that the same thing could be said for Jesus’ mortal ministry. Have the students locate the following places on Bible maps 11 and 12:

  • The River Jordan

  • Jerusalem

  • Cana

  • Sychar

  • Capernaum

  • Pool of Bethesda

Have students scan the following references looking for the significant events that occurred in each of these places:

After discussing the places and events briefly, explain that knowing the geography of Jesus’ mortal ministry can help us remember His life.

John 4:5–30, 39–42. Christ will nourish us spiritually if we love Him and keep His commandments.

(15–20 minutes)

Bring a glass and a clear pitcher of ice water to class. Hold it up and invite someone to take a drink. Ask: What is the value of water in our lives? (It helps sustain life, it refreshes and cools, it quenches thirst.)

Have students read John 4:5–30, 39–42looking for words or details related to water and thirst, and invite them to share their findings. (Answers might include “sixth hour” [noon—hot time of day; v. 6], “well” [v. 6], “drink” [v. 7], “living water” [v. 10], “nothing to draw [up the water] with” [v. 11], “thirst” [vv. 13–14], “springing up” [v. 14], “waterpot” [v. 28].)


  • Why didn’t the woman immediately understand the Savior’s symbolism? (Christ was speaking of spiritual things, while the woman was thinking of earthly things.)

  • How do you think the woman felt when Jesus identified her sins? (see vv. 17–18).

  • How could the living water Jesus offered affect the woman’s life?

  • What did she need to do to partake of this living water?

  • What does Christ offer us that is like water? (Truth, resurrection, forgiveness for our sins if we repent, His Spirit.)

Explain to the students that water is life, especially to people in an arid climate like Palestine’s. Without water, plants, animals, and people die. Point out that those who live in sin or who do not have the gospel are like hot, thirsty land without water. They need the living water of the gospel to restore their spiritual life.

John 5:25, 27–30. Those who died without hearing the gospel will have a chance to receive it in the spirit world.

(20–25 minutes)

Ask students:

  • Have any of you ever had a loved one pass away?

  • Would any of you mind sharing how you felt at the time of this loss? (Note: Be careful not to intrude on sensitive feelings.)

  • How might the pain of losing a loved one be different if you knew the person had never known of Jesus Christ or His gospel?

Have students read John 5:25–30.

  • How might these verses help comfort someone who has lost a loved one, especially one who did not know the gospel?

  • How can the dead be judged fairly if they never had a chance to hear or receive the gospel?

  • What does verse 25 promise to the dead? (They shall hear the voice of the Son of God.)

  • What does it mean to “hear the voice of the Son of God”?

You may want to cross-reference this phrase to Doctrine and Covenants 1:37–38. Point out that when we listen to God’s servants, it is the same as listening to Him.

Have students quietly read Doctrine and Covenants 138:1–19, 29–31, 57. When they finish, ask: How could this revelation bring peace to someone who has lost a loved one?

Have the students create a scripture chain by cross-referencing the first scripture on the following list to the second, the second to the third, and so on to the end, and then cross-referencing the last scripture to the first.

Close with the question: What does it tell us about our Heavenly Father to know that He provides a way for all to hear and understand the gospel?

John 5:31–40. Jesus respected and obeyed the law of witnesses.

(20–25 minutes)

Prior to class put an unshelled nut in a paper bag. Tell the students you have in the bag something that has never been seen before by the human eye. Invite a student the class trusts to look in the bag and tell whether what you said is true. (If the student is not sure, whisper that the inside of the nut has never been seen by the human eye.) Ask the class if they believe the student. Invite another student to come forward and look in the bag. Have this student affirm the testimony of the first. Ask the class how many believe now. Show the class the nut and explain how the inside has never been seen by the human eye. Ask: Does it help to have more than one witness to confirm a testimony?

(Note: If you used the teaching suggestion for Matthew 16:1–4[pp. 41–42], which includes a similar object lesson, you could do something like the following instead. Arrange in advance for a student to report some surprising piece of news to the class. This might be something you learned from a news broadcast that the students wouldn’t have had a chance to hear, or perhaps something unusual that happened to the student that he or she hasn’t told others. Arrange for a second student to confirm the story.)

Have a student read Deuteronomy 19:15. Explain that the law of witnesses is ancient and is spoken of in several passages in the scriptures (see Matthew 18:16; 2 Corinthians 13:1; Ether 5:4; D&C 6:28). Write the following chart on the board to identify the witnesses Jesus cites in John 5:31–40, leaving the “Witness” column blank.

Scripture Reference


John 4:25–26

Jesus Himself

John 5:33–35

John the Baptist

John 5:36

Jesus’ works

John 5:37

The Father

John 5:39

The scriptures

Choose a student to read the first scripture in the “Scripture Reference” column aloud and name the witness mentioned. Write the answer in the “Witness” column, and then pick another student to read the next reference until the chart is done. Ask:

  • When the Savior said to search the scriptures, to what was He referring? (The Old Testament.)

  • Why did He want the people to study the Old Testament? (Old Testament prophets prophesied of the coming of the Savior; see Jacob 4:4–5.)

  • What other witnesses of Jesus’ divinity can you think of? (Possible answers include parents, living prophets, the Holy Ghost, the Light of Christ.)

Close by sharing your testimony of Jesus Christ’s divinity.