Vincent Word Studies - John 4:14 - 4:14

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Vincent Word Studies - John 4:14 - 4:14

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

Whosoever drinketh (ὃς δ' ἂν πίῃ)

So Rev. The A.V. renders the two expressions in the same way, but there is a difference in the pronouns, indicated, though very vaguely, by every one that and whosoever, besides a more striking difference in the verb drinketh. In the former case, the article with the participle indicates something habitual; every one that drinks repeatedly, as men ordinarily do on the recurrence of their thirst. In Joh 4:14 the definite aorist tense expresses a single act - something done once for all. Literally, he who may have drunk.

Shall never thirst (οὐ μὴ διψήσει εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα)

The double negative, οὐ μὴ, is a very strong mode of statement, equivalent to by no means, or in nowise. It must not be understood, however, that the reception of the divine life by a believer does away with all further desire. On the contrary, it generates new desires. The drinking of the living water is put as a single act, in order to indicate the divine principle of life as containing in itself alone the satisfaction of all holy desires as they successively arise; in contrast with human sources, which are soon exhausted, and drive one to other fountains. Holy desire, no matter how large or how varied it may become, will always seek and find its satisfaction in Christ, and in Christ only. Thirst is to be taken in the same sense in both clauses, as referring to that natural craving which the world cannot satisfy, and which is therefore ever restless. Drusius, a Flemish critic, cited by Trench (“Studies in the Gospels”), says: “He who drinks the water of wisdom thirsts and does not thirst. He thirsts, that is, he more and more desires that which he drinks. He does not thirst, because he is so filled that he desires no other drink.” The strong contrast of this declaration of our Lord with pagan sentiment, is illustrated by the following passage from Plato:

“Socrates: Let me request you to consider how far you would accept this as an account of the two lives of the temperate and intemperate: There are two men, both of whom have a number of casks; the one man has his casks sound and full, one of wine, another of honey, and a third of milk, besides others filled with other liquids, and the streams which fill them are few and scanty, and he can only obtain them with a great deal of toil and difficulty; but when his casks are once filled he has no need to feed them any more, and has no further trouble with them, or care about them. The other, in like manner, can procure streams, though not without difficulty, but his vessels are leaky and unsound, and night and day he is compelled to be filling them, and if he pauses for a moment he is in an agony of pain. Such are their respective lives: And now would you say that the life of the intemperate is happier than that of the temperate? Do I not convince you that the opposite is the truth?

“Callicles: You do not convince me, Socrates, for the one who has filled himself has no longer any pleasure left; and this, as I was just now saying, is the life of a stone; he has neither joy nor sorrow after he is once filled; but the life of pleasure is the pouring in of the stream.

“Socrates: And if the stream is always pouring in, must there not be a stream always running out, and holes large enough to admit of the discharge?

“Callicles: Certainly.

“Socrates: The life, then, of which you are now speaking is not that of a dead man, or of a stone, but of a cormorant; you mean that he is to be hungering and eating?

“Callicles: Yes.

“Socrates: And he is to be thirsting and drinking?

“Callicles: Yes, that is what I mean; he is to have all his desires about him, and to be able to live happily in the gratification of them” (“Gorgias,” 494). Compare Rev 7:16,Rev 7:17.

Shall be (γενήσεται)

Rev., better, shall become, expressing the ever-developing richness and fresh energy of the divine principle of life.

In Him

A supply having its fountain-head in the man's own being, and not in something outside himself.

A well (πηγὴ)

The Rev. retains well, where spring would have been more correct.

Springing up (ἀλλπμένου)

Leaping; thus agreeing with shall become. “The imperial philosopher of Rome uttered a great truth, but an imperfect one; saw much, but did not see all; did not see that this spring of water must be fed, and fed evermore, from the 'upper springs,' if it is not presently to fail, when he wrote: 'Look within; within is the fountain of good, and ever able to gush forth if you are ever digging'” (Plutarch, “On Virtue and Vice”).

Unto everlasting life

Christ in a believer is life. This life ever tends toward its divine source, and issues in eternal life.

Come hither (ἔρχωμαι ἐνθάδε)

The best texts read διέρχωμαι, the preposition διά having the force of through the intervening plain.