John Calvin Complete Commentary - John 4:1 - 4:1

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John Calvin Complete Commentary - John 4:1 - 4:1


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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

1.When, therefore, the Lord knew. The Evangelist, intending now to give an account of the conversation which Christ had with a Samaritan woman, begins with explaining the cause of his journey. Knowing that the Pharisees were ill-disposed towards him, he did not wish to expose himself to their anger before the proper time. This was his motive for setting out from Judea. The Evangelist thus informs us that Christ did not come into Samaria with the intention of dwelling there, but because he had to pass through it on his way from Judea to Galilee; for until, by his resurrection, he should open up the way for the gospel, it was necessary that he should be employed in gathering the sheep of Israel to which he had been sent. That he now favored the Samaritans with his instruction was an extraordinary and almost accidental occurrence, if we may be allowed the expression.

But why does he seek the retirement and lurking-places of Galilee, as if he were unwilling to be known, which was highly to be desired? I reply, he knew well the proper way to act, and made such use of the opportunities of usefulness that he did not allow a moment to be lost. He wished, therefore, to pursue his course with regularity, and in such a manner as he judged to be proper. Hence too we hear that our minds ought to be regulated in such a manner that, on the one hand, we may not be deterred by any fear from going forward in duty; and that, on the other hand, we may not too rashly throw ourselves into dangers. All who are earnestly desirous to pursue their calling will be careful to maintain this moderation, for which they will steadily follow the Lord even through the midst of deaths; they will not rush into them heedlessly, but will walk in their ways. Let us, therefore, remember that we must not advance farther than our calling demands.

That the Pharisees had heard. The Pharisees alone are mentioned by the Evangelist as having been hostile to Christ; not that the other scribes were friendly, but because this sect was at that time in the ascendant, and because they were filled with rage under the pretense of godly zeal. It may be asked, Did they envy Christ that he had more disciples, because their stronger attachment to John led them to promote his honor and reputation? The meaning of the words is different; for though they were formerly dissatisfied at finding that John collected disciples, their minds were still more exasperated, when they saw that a still greater number of disciples came to Christ. From the time that John avowed himself to be nothing more than the herald of the Son of God, they began to flock to Christ in greater crowds, and already he had almost completed his ministry. Thus he gradually resigned to Christ the office of teaching and baptizing.