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19The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. 20Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 24God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

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19, 20. Sir, I perceive, &c.—Seeing herself all revealed, does she now break down and ask what hopes there might be for one so guilty? Nay, her convictions have not reached that point yet. She ingeniously shifts the subject from a personal to a public question. It is not, "Alas, what a wicked life am I leading!" but "Lo, what a wonderful prophet I got into conversation with! He will be able to settle that interminable dispute between us and the Jews. Sir, you must know all about such matters—our fathers hold to this mountain here," pointing to Gerizim in Samaria, "as the divinely consecrated place of worship, but ye Jews say that Jerusalem is the proper place—which of us is right?" How slowly does the human heart submit to thorough humiliation! (Compare the prodigal; see on Lu 15:15). Doubtless our Lord saw through the fetch; but does He say, "That question is not the point just now, but have you been living in the way described, yea or nay? Till this is disposed of I cannot be drawn into theological controversies." The Prince of preachers takes another method: He humors the poor woman, letting her take her own way, allowing her to lead while He follows—but thus only the more effectually gaining His object. He answers her question, pours light into her mind on the spirituality of all true worship, as of its glorious Object, and so brings her insensibly to the point at which He could disclose to her wondering mind whom she was all the while speaking to.

21-24. Woman, &c.—Here are three weighty pieces of information: (1) The point raised will very soon cease to be of any moment, for a total change of dispensation is about to come over the Church. (2) The Samaritans are wrong, not only as to the place, but the whole grounds and nature of their worship, while in all these respects the truth lies with the Jews. (3) As God is a Spirit, so He both invites and demands a spiritual worship, and already all is in preparation for a spiritual economy, more in harmony with the true nature of acceptable service than the ceremonial worship by consecrated persons, place, and times, which God for a time has seen meet to keep up till fulness of the time should come.

neither in this mountain nor yet at Jerusalem—that is, exclusively (Mal 1:11; 1Ti 2:8).

worship the Father—She had talked simply of "worship"; our Lord brings up before her the great Object of all acceptable worship—"THE Father."

22. Ye worship ye know not what—without any revealed authority, and so very much in the dark. In this sense, the Jews knew what they were about. But the most glorious thing here is the reason assigned,

for salvation is of the Jews—intimating to her that Salvation was not a thing left to be reached by any one who might vaguely desire it of a God of mercy, but something that had been revealed, prepared, deposited with a particular people, and must be sought in connection with, and as issuing from them; and that people, "the Jews."

23. hour cometh, and now is—evidently meaning her to understand that this new economy was in some sense being set up while He was talking to her, a sense which would in a few minutes so far appear, when He told her plainly He was the Christ.




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