Golden Chain 12333

vv. 33-36

12333 Jn 3,33-36

CHRYS. Having said, And what he has seen and beard, that he testifies, to prevent any from supposing, that what he said was false, because only a few for the present believed, he adds, And no man receives his testimony; i.e. Only a few; for he had disciples who received his testimony. John is alluding to the unbelief of his own disciples, and to the insensibility of the Jews, of whom we read in the beginning of the Gospel, He came to His own, and His own received Him not.

AUG. Or thus; There is a people reserved for the wrath of God, and to be condemned with the devil; of whom none receives the testimony of Christ. And others there are ordained to eternal life. Mark how mankind are divided spiritually, though as human beings they are mixed up together: and John separated them by the thoughts of their heart, though as yet they were not divided in respect of place, and looked on them as two classes, the unbelievers, and the believers. Looking to the unbelievers, he said, No man receives his testimony. Then turning to those on the right hand he said, He that has received his testimony, has set to his seal.

CHRYS. i.e. has shown that God is true. This is to alarm them: for it is as much as saying, no one can disbelieve Christ without convicting God, Who sent Him, of falsehood: inasmuch as He speaks nothing but what is of the Father. For He, it follows, Whom God has sent, speaks the words of God.

ALCUIN. Or, Has put to his seal, i.e. has put a seal on his heart, for a singular and special token, that this is the true God, Who suffered for the salvation of mankind.

AUG. What is it, that God is true, except that God is true, and every man a liar? For no man can say what truth is, till he is enlightened by Him who cannot lie. God then is true, and Christ is God. Would you have proof? Hear His testimony, and you will find it so. But if you do not yet understand God, you have not yet received His testimony. Christ then Himself is God the true, and God has sent Him; God has sent God, join both together; they are One God. For John said, Whom God has sent, to distinguish Christ from himself. What then, was not John himself sent by God? Yes; but mark what follows, For God gives not the Spirit by measure to Him. To men He gives by measure, to His only Son He gives not by measure. To one man is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge: one has one thing, another another; for measure implies a kind of division of gifts. But Christ did not receive by measure, though He gave by measure.

CHRYS. By Spirit here is meant the operation of the Holy Spirit. He wishes to show that all of us have received the operation of the Spirit by measure, but that Christ contains within Himself the whole operation of the Spirit. How then shall He be suspected, Who said nothing, but what is from God, and the Spirit? For He makes no mention yet of God the Word, but rests His doctrine on the authority of the Father and the Spirit. For men knew that there was God, and knew that there was the Spirit, (although they had not right belief about His nature;) but that there was the Son they did not know.

AUG. Having said of the Son, God gives not the Spirit by measure to Him; he adds, The Father loves the Son, and farther adds, and has given all things into His hand; in order to show that the Father loves the Son, in a peculiar sense. For the Father loves John, and Paul, and yet has not given all things into their hands. But the Father loves the Son, as the Son, not as a master his servant: as an only, not as an adopted, Son. Wherefore He has given all things into His hand; so that, as great as the Father is, so great is the Son; let us not think then that, because He has deigned to send the Son, any one inferior to the Father has been sent.

THEOPHYL. The Father then has given all things to the Son in respect of His divinity; of right, not of grace. Or; He has given all things into His hand, in respect of His humanity: inasmuch as He is made Lord of all things that are in heaven, and that are in earth.

ALCUIN. And because all things are in His hand, the life everlasting is too: and therefore it follows, He that believes on the Son has everlasting life.

BEDE. We must understand here not a faith in words only, but a faith which is developed in works.

CHRYS. He means not here, that to believe on the Son is sufficient to gain everlasting life, for elsewhere He says, Nor every one that said to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. And the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is of itself sufficient to send into hell. But we must not think that even a right belief in Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is sufficient for salvation; for we have need of a good life and conversation. Knowing then that the greater part are not moved so much by the promise of good, as by the threat of punishment, he concludes, But He that believes not the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him. See how He refers to the Father again, when He speaks of punishment. He said not, the wrath of the Son, though the Son is judge; but makes the Father the judge, in order to alarm men more. And He does not say, in Him, but on Him, meaning that it Will never depart from Him; and for the same reason He says, shall not see life, i.e. to show that He did not mean only a temporary death!

AUG. Nor does He say, The wrath of God comes to him, but, abides on him. For all who are born, are under the wrath of God, which the first Adam incurred. The Son of God came without sin, and was clothed with mortality: He died that you might live. Whosoever then will not believe on the Son, on him abides the wrath of God, of which the Apostle speaks, We were by nature the children of wrath.

Catena aurea john 4

vv. 1-6

12401 Jn 4,1-6

GLOSS. The Evangelist, after relating how John checked the envy of his disciples, on the success of Christ's teaching, comes next to the envy of the Pharisees, and Christ's retreat front the them. When therefore the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard, &c.

AUG. Truly had the Pharisees' knowledge that our Lord was making more disciples, and baptizing more than John, been such as to lead them heartily to follow Him, He would not have left Judea, but would have remained for their sake: but seeing, as He did, that this knowledge of Him was coupled with envy, and made them not followers, but persecutors, He departed thence. He could too, had He pleased, have stayed amongst them, and escaped their hands; but He wished to show His own example to believers in time to come, that it was no sin for a servant of God to fly from the fury of persecutors. He did it like a good teacher, not out of fear for Himself, but for our instruction.

CHRYS. He did it too to pacify the envy of men, and perhaps to avoid bringing the dispensation of the incarnation into suspicion. For had he been taken and escaped, the reality of His flesh would have been doubted.

AUG. It may perplex you, perhaps, to be told that Jesus baptized more than John, and then immediately after, Though Jesus Himself baptized not. What? Is there a mistake made, and then corrected?

CHRYS. Christ Himself did not baptize, but those who reported the fact, in order to raise the envy of their hearers, so represented it as to appear that Christ Himself baptized. The reason why He baptized not Himself, had been already declared by John, He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire. Now He had not yet given the Holy Spirit: it was therefore fitting that He should not baptize. But His disciples baptized, as an efficacious mode of instruction; better than gathering up believers here and there, as had been done in the case of Simon and his brother. Their baptism, however, had no more virtue than the baptism of John; both being without the grace of the Spirit, and both having one object, viz. that of bringing men to Christ.

AUG. Or, both are true; for Jesus both baptized, and baptized not. He baptized, in that He cleansed: He baptized not, in that He dipped not. The disciples supplied the ministry of the body, He the aid of that Majesty of which it was said, The Same is, He which baptize.

ALCUIN. The question is often asked, whether the Holy Ghost was given by the baptism of the disciples; when below it is said, The Holy Ghost was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. We reply, that the Spirit was given, though not in so manifest a way as he was after the Ascension, in the shape of fiery tongues. For, as Christ Himself in His human nature ever possessed the Spirit, and yet afterwards at His baptism the Spirit descended visibly upon Him in the form of a dove; so before the manifest and visible coming of the Holy Spirit, all saints might possess the Spirit secretly.

AUG. But we must believe that the disciples of Christ were already baptized themselves, either with John's baptism, or, as is more probable, with Christ's. For He who had stooped to the humble service of washing His disciples' feet, had not failed to administer baptism to His servants, who would thus be enabled in their turn to baptize others.

CHRYS. Christ on withdrawing from Judea, joined those whom He was with before, as we react next, And departed again into Galilee. As the Apostles, when they were expelled by the Jews, went to the Gentiles, so Christ goes to the Samaritans. But, to deprive the Jews of all excuse, He does not go to stay there, but only takes it on His road, as the Evangelist implies by saying, And he must needs go through Samaria. Samaria receives its name from Somer, a mountain there, so called from the name of a former possessor of it. The inhabitants of the country were formerly not Samaritans, but Israelites. But in process of time they fell under God's wrath, and the king of Assyria transplanted them to Babylon and Media; placing Gentiles from various parts in Samaria in their room. God however, to show that it was not for want of power on His part that he delivered up the Jews, but for the sins of the people themselves, sent lions to afflict the barbarians. This was told the king, and he sent a priest to instruct them in God's law. But not even then did they wholly cease from their iniquity, but only half changed. For in process of time they turned to idols again, though they still worshipped God, calling themselves after the mountain, Samaritans.

BEDE. He must needs pass through Samaria; because that country lay between Judea and Galilee. Samaria was the principal city of a province of Palestine, and gave its name to the whole district connected with it. The particular place to which our Lord went is next given: Then comes He to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar.

CHRYS. It was the place where Simeon and Levi made a great slaughter for Dinah.

THEOPHYL. But after the sons of Jacob had desolated the city, by the slaughter of the Sychemites, Jacob annexed it to the portion of his son Joseph as we read in Genesis, I have given to you one portion above your brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword, and with my bow. This is referred to in what follows, Near to the place of ground which Jacob gave to his son Joseph.

Now Jacob's well was there.

AUG. It was a well. Every, well is a spring, but every spring is not a well. Any water that rises from the ground, and can be drawn for use, is a spring: but where it is ready at hand, and on the surface, it is called a spring only; where it is creep and low down, it is called a well, not a spring.

THEOPHYL. But why does the Evangelist make mention of the parcel of ground, and the well? First, to explain what the woman says, Our father Jacob gave us this well; secondly, to remind you that what the Patriarchs obtained by their faith in God, the Jews had lost by their impiety. They had been supplanted to make room for Gentiles. And therefore there is nothing new in what has now taken place, i.e.; in the Gentiles succeeding to the kingdom of heaven in the place of the Jews.

CHRYS. Christ prefers labor and exercise to ease and luxury, and therefore travels to Samaria, not in a carriage but on foot; until at last the exertion of the journey fatigues Him; a lesson to us, that so far from indulging in superfluities, we should often even deprive ourselves of necessaries: Jesus therefore being wearied with His journey, &c.

AUG. Jesus, we see, is strong and weak: strong, because in the beginning was the Word; weak, because the Word was made flesh. Jesus thus weak, being wearied with his journey, sat on the well. CHRYS. As if to say, not on a seat, or a couch, but on the first place He saw - upon the ground. He sat down because He was wearied, and to wait for the disciples. The coolness of the well would be refreshing in the midday heat: And it was about the sixth hour. THEOPHYL. He mentions our Lord's sitting and resting from His journey, that none might blame Him for going to Samaria Himself, after He had forbidden the disciples going. ALCUIN. Our Lord left Judea also mystically, i.e. He left the unbelief of those who condemned Him, and by His Apostles, went into Galilee, i.e. into the fickleness of the world; thus teaching His disciples to pass from vices to virtues. The parcel of ground I conceive to have been left not so much to Joseph, as to Christ, of whom Joseph was a type; whom the sun, and moon, and all the stars truly adore. To this parcel of ground our Lord came, that the Samaritans, who claimed to be inheritors of the Patriarch Israel, might recognize Him, and be converted to Christ, the legal heir of the Patriarch.

AUG. His journey, is His assumption of the flesh for our sake. For whither does He go, Who is every where present? What is this, except that it was necessary for Him, in order to come to us, to take upon Him visibly a form of flesh? So then His being wearied with His Journey, what means it, but that He is wearied with the flesh? And wherefore is it the sixth hour? Because it is the sixth age of the world. Reckon severally as hours, the first age from Adam to Noah, the second from Noah to Abraham, the third from Abraham to David, the fourth from David to the carrying away into Babylon, the fifth from thence to the baptism of John; on this calculation the present age is the sixth hour.

AUG. At the sixth hour then our Lord comes to the well. The black abyss of the well, methinks, represents the lowest parts of this universe, i.e. the earth, to which Jesus came at the sixth hour, that is, in the sixth age of mankind, the old age, as it were, of the old man, which we are bidden to put off; that we may put on the new. For so do we reckon the different ages of man's life: the first age is infancy, the second childhood, the third boyhood, the fourth youth, the fifth manhood, the sixth old age. Again, the sixth hour, being the middle of the day, the time at which the sun begins to descend, signifies that we, who are called by Christ, are to check our pleasure in visible things, that by the love of things invisible refreshing the inner man, we may be restored to the inward light which never fails. By His sitting is signified His humility, or perhaps His magisterial character; teachers being accustomed to sit.

vv. 7-12

12407 Jn 4,7-12

CHRYS. That this conversation might not appear a violation of His own injunctions against talking to the Samaritans, the Evangelist explains how it arose; viz. for He did not come with the intention beforehand of talking with the woman, but only would not send the woman away, when she had come. There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Observe, she comes quite by chance.

AUG. The woman here is the type of the Church, not yet justified, but just about to be. And it is a part of the resemblance, that she comes from a foreign people. The Samaritans were foreigners, though they were neighbors and in like manner the Church was to come from the Gentiles, and to be alien from the Jewish race.

THEOPHYL. The argument with the woman arises naturally from the occasion: Jesus says to her, Give me to drink. As man. the labor and heat He had undergone had made Him thirsty.

AUG. Jesus also thirsted after that woman's faith? At He thirsts for their faith, for whom He shed His blood.

CHRYS. This shows us too not only our Lord's strength and endurance as a traveler, but also his carelessness about food; for his disciples did not carry about food with them, since it follows, His disciples were gone away into the city to buy food. Herein is shown the humility of Christ; He is left alone. It was in His power, had He pleased, not to send away all, or, on their going away, to leave others in their place to wait on Him. But He did not choose to have it so: for in this way He accustomed His disciples to trample upon pride of every kind. However some one will say, Is humility in fisherman and tent-makers so great a matter? But these very men were all on a sudden raised to the most lofty situation upon earth, that of friends and followers of the Lord of the whole earth. And men of humble origin, when they arrive at dignity, are on this very cry account more liable than others to be lifted up with pride; the honor being so new to them. Our Lord therefore to keep His disciples humble, taught them in all things to subdue themselves. The woman on being told, Give Me to drink, very naturally asks, How is it that You, being a Jew, asks drink of me, who am a woman of Samaria? She knew Him to be a Jew from His figure and speech. Here observe her simpleness. For even had our Lord been bound to abstain from dealing with her, that was His concern, not hers; the Evangelist saying not that the Samaritans would have no dealings with the Jews, but that the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. The woman however, though not in fault herself, wished to correct what she thought a fault in another. The Jews after their return from the captivity entertained a jealousy of the Samaritans, whom they regarded as aliens, and enemies; and the Samaritans did not use all the Scriptures, but only the writings of Moses, and made little of the Prophets. They claimed to be of Jewish origin, but the Jews considered them Gentiles, and hated them, as they did the rest of the Gentile world.

AUG. The Jews would not even use their vessels. So it would astonish the woman to hear a Jew ask to drink out of her vessel; a thing so contrary to Jewish rule.

CHRYS. But why did Christ ask what the law allowed not? It is no answer to say that He knew she would not give it, for in that case, He clearly ought not to have asked for it. Rather His very reason for asking, was to show His indifference to such observances, and to abolish them for the future.

AUG. He who asked to drink, however, out of the woman's vessel, thirsted for the woman's faith: Jesus answered and said unto her, If you knew the gift of God, or Who it is that says to you, Give Me to drink, you would have asked of Him, and He would have given you living water.

ORIGEN. For it is as it were a doctrine, that no one receives a divine gift, who seeks not for it. Even the Savior Himself is commanded by the Father to ask, that He may give it Him, as we read, Require of Me, and I will give you the heathen for you inheritance. And our Savior Himself says, Ask, and it shall be given you. Wherefore He says here emphatically, you would have asked of Him, and He would have given you.

AUG. He lets her know that it was not the water, which she meant, that He asked for; but that knowing her faith, He wished to satisfy her thirst, by giving her the Holy Spirit. For so must we interpret the living water, which is the gift of God; as He says, If you knew the gift of God.

AUG. Living water is that which comes out of a spring, in distinction to what is collected in ponds and cisterns from the rain. If spring water too becomes stagnant, i.e. collects into some spot, where it is quite separated from its fountain head, it ceases to be living water.

CHRYS. In Scripture the grace of the Holy Spirit is sometimes called fire, sometimes water, which shows that these words are expressive not of its substance but of its action. The metaphor of fire conveys the lively and sin-consuming property of grace; that of water the cleansing of the Spirit, and the refreshing of the souls who receive Him.

THEOPHYL. The grace of the Holy Spirit then He calls living water; i.e. life-giving, refreshing, stirring. For the grace of the Holy Spirit is ever stirring him who does good works, directing the risings of his heart.

CHRYS. These words raised the woman's notions of our Lord, and make her think Him no common person. She addresses Him reverentially by the title of Lord; The woman says to Him, Lord, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then has you that living water?

AUG. She understands the living water to be the water in the well; and therefore says, You wish to give me living water; but You have nothing to draw with as I have: You can not then give me this living water; Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?

CHRYS. As if she said, You can not say that Jacob gave us this spring, and used another himself; for he and they that were with him drank thereof; which would not have been done, had he had another better one. You can not then give me of this spring; and You have not another better spring, unless You confess Yourself greater than Jacob. Whence then have You the water, which You promise to give us?

THEOPHYL. The addition, and his cattle, shows the abundance of the water; as if she said, Not only is the water sweet, so that Jacob and his sons drank of it, but so abundant, that it satisfied the vast multitude of the Patriarchs' cattle.

CHRYS See how she thrusts herself upon the Jewish stock. The Samaritans claimed Abraham as their ancestor, on the ground of his having come from Chaldea; and called Jacob their father, as being Abraham's grandson.

BEDE. Or she calls Jacob their father, because she lived under the Mosaic law, and possessed the farm which Jacob gave to his son Joseph.

ORIGEN. In the mystical sense, Jacob's well is the Scriptures. The learned then drink like Jacob and his sons; the simple and uneducated, like Jacob's cattle.

vv. 13-18

12413 Jn 4,13-18

CHRYS. To the woman's question, Are you greater than our father Jacob? He does not reply, I am greater, lest He should seem to boast; but His answer implies it; Jesus answered and said to her, Whosoever drink of this water shall thirst again: but whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; as if He said, If Jacob is to be honored because he gave you this water. what will you say, if I give you far better than this? He makes the comparison however not to depreciate Jacob, but to exalt Himself. For He does not say, that this water is vile and counterfeit, but asserts a simple fact of nature, viz. that whosoever drink of this water shall thirst again.

AUG. Which is true indeed both of material water, and of that of which it is the type. For the water in the well is the pleasure of the world, that abode of darkness. Men draw it with the waterpot of their lusts; pleasure is not relished, except it be preceded by lust. And when a man has enjoyed this pleasure, i.e. drunk of the water, he thirsts again; but if he have received water from Me, he shall never thirst. For how shall they thirst, who are drunken with the abundance of the house of God? But He promised this fullness of the Holy Spirit.

CHRYS. The excellence of this water; viz. that he that drinks of it never thirsts, He explains in what follows, But the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. As a man who had a spring within him, would never feel thirst, so will not he who has this water which I shall give him.

THEOPHYL. For the water which I give him is ever multiplying. The saints receive through grace the seed and principle of good; but they themselves make it grow by their own cultivation.

CHRYS. See how the woman is led by degrees to the highest doctrine. First, she thought He was some lax Jew. Then hearing of the living water, she thought it meant material water. Afterwards she understands it as spoken spiritually, and believes that it can take away thirst, but she does not yet know what it is, only understands that it was superior to material things: The woman says to Him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not neither come hither to draw. Observe, she prefers Him to the patriarch Jacob, for whom she ha such veneration.

AUG. Or thus; The woman as yet understands Him of the flesh only. She is delighted to be relieved for ever from thirst, and takes this promise of our Lord's in a carnal sense. For God had once granted to His servant Elijah, that he should neither hunger nor thirst for forty days; and if He could grant this for forty days, why not for ever? Eager to possess such a gift, she asks Him for the living water; The woman says to Him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. Her poverty obliged her to labor more than her strength could well bear; would in that she could hear, Come to Me, all that labor and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. Jesus had said this very thing, i.e. that she need not labor any longer; but she did not understand Him. At last our Lord was resolved that she should understand: Jesus says to her, Go call your husband, and come hither. What means this? Did He wish to give her the water through her husband? Or, because she did not understand, did He wish to teach her by means of her husband? The Apostle indeed says of women, If they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home. But this applies only where Jesus is not present. Our Lord Himself was present here; what need then that He should speak to her through her husband? Was it through her husband that He spoke to Mary, who sat at His feet?

CHRYS. The woman then being, urgent in asking for the promised water, Jesus says to her, Go call your husband; to show that he too ought to have a share in these things. But she was in a hurry to receive the gift, and wished to conceal her guilt, (for she still imagined she was speaking to a man) The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Christ answers her with a seasonable reproof; exposing her as to former husbands, and as to her present one, whom she had concealed; Jesus said to her, you have well said, I have no husband.

AUG. Understand, that the woman had not a lawful husband, but had formed an irregular connection with some one. He tells her, you have had five husbands, in order to show her His miraculous knowledge.

ORIGEN. May not Jacob's well signify mystically the letter of Scripture; the water of Jesus, that which is above the letter, which all are not allowed to penetrate into? That which is written was dictated by men, whereas the things which the eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, cannot be reduced to writing, but are from the fountain of water, that springs up unto everlasting life, i.e. the Holy Ghost. These truths are unfolded to such as carrying no longer a human heart within them, are able to say with the Apostle, We have the mind of Christ. Human wisdom indeed discovers truths, which are handed down to posterity; but the teaching of the Spirit is a well of water which springs up into everlasting life. The woman wished to attain, like the angels, to angelic and super-human truth without the use of Jacob's water. For the angels have a well of water within them, springing from the Word of God Himself. She says therefore, Sir, give me this water. But it is impossible here to have the water which is given by the Word, without that which is drawn from Jacob's well; and therefore Jesus seems to tell the woman that He cannot supply her with it from any other source than Jacob's well; If we are thirsty, we must first drink from Jacob's well. Jesus says to her, Go, call your husband, and come hither. According to the Apostle, the Law is the husband of the soul.

AUG. The five husbands some interpret to be the five books which were given by Moses. And the words, He whom thou now have is not your husband, they understand as spoken by our Lord of Himself; as if He said, You have served the five books of Moses, as five husbands; but now he whom you have, i.e. whom you hear, is not your husband; for you do not yet believe in him. But if she did not believe in Christ, she was still united to those five husbands, i.e. five books, and therefore why is it said, you have had five husbands, as if she no longer had them? And how do we understand that a man must have these five books, in order to pass over to Christ, when he who believes in Christ, so far from forsaking these books, embraces them in this spiritual meaning the more strongly? Let us turn to another interpretation.

AUG. Jesus seeing that the woman did not understand, and wishing to enlighten her, says, Call your husband; i.e. apply your understanding. For when the life is well ordered, the understanding governs the soul itself, pertaining to the soul. For though it is indeed nothing else than the soul, it is at the same time a certain part of the soul. And this very part of the soul which is called the understanding and the intellect, is itself illuminated by a light superior to itself. Such a Light was talking with the woman; but in her there was not understanding to be enlightened. Our Lord then, as it were, says, I wish to enlighten, and there is not one to be enlightened; Call your husband, i. e. apply your understanding, through which you must be taught, by which governed. The five former husbands may be explained as the five senses, thus: a man before he has the use of his reason, is entirely under the government of his bodily senses. Then reason comes into action; and from that time forward he is capable of entertaining ideas, and is either under the influence of truth or error. The woman had been under the influence of error, which error was not her lawful husband, but an adulterer. Wherefore our Lord says, Put away that adulterer which corrupts thee, and call your husband, that you may understand Me.

ORIGEN. And what more proper place than Jacob's well, for exposing the unlawful husband, i.e. the perverse law? For the Samaritan woman is meant to figure to us a soul, that has subjected itself to a kind of law of its own, not the divine lay. And our Savior wishes to marry her to a lawful husband, i.e. Himself; the Word of truth which was to rise from the dead, and never again to die.

vv. 19-24

12419 Jn 4,19-24

CHRYS. The woman is not offended at Christ's rebuke. She does not leave Him, and go away. Far from it: her admiration for Him is raised: The woman said to Him, Sir, I perceive that you are a Prophet: as if she said, Your knowledge of me is unaccountable, you must be a prophet.

AUG. The husband was beginning to come to her, though He had not yet fully come. She thought our Lord a prophet, and He was a prophet: for He says of Himself, A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country.

CHRYS. And having come to this belief she asks no questions relating to this life, the health or sickness of the body: she is not troubled about thirst, she is eager for doctrine.

AUG. And she begins inquiries on a subject that perplexed her; Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. This was a great dispute between the Samaritans and the Jews. The Jews worshipped in the temple built by Solomon, and made this a ground of boasting over the Samaritans. The Samaritans replied, Why boast you, because you have a temple which we have not? Did our fathers, who pleased God, worship in that temple? Is it not better to pray to God in this mountain, where our fathers worshipped?

CHRYS. By, our fathers, she means Abraham, who is said to have offered up Isaac here.

ORIGEN. Or thus; The Samaritans regarded Mount Gerizim, near which Jacob dwelt, as sacred, and worshipped upon it; while the sacred place of the Jews was Mount Sion, God's own choice. The Jews being the people from whom salvation came, are the type of true believers; the Samaritans of heretics. Gerizim, which signifies division, becomes the Samaritans; Sion, which signifies watch-tower, becomes the Jews.

CHRYS. Christ however does not solve this question immediately, but leads the woman to higher things, of which He had not spoken till she acknowledged Him to be a prophet, and therefore listened with a more full belief: Jesus said to her, Woman, believe Me, the hour comes, when you shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. He says, Believe me, because we have need of faith, the mother of all good, the medicine of salvation, in order to obtain any real good. They who endeavor without it, are like men who venture on the sea without a boat, and, being able to swim only a little way, are drowned.

AUG. Believe Me, our Lord says with fitness, as the husband is now present. For now there is one in thee that believes, you have begun to be present in the understanding, but if you will not believe, surely you shall not be established.

ALCUIN. In saying, the hour comes, He refers to the Gospel dispensation, which was now approaching; under which the shadows of types were to withdraw, and the pure light of truth was to enlighten the minds of believers.

CHRYS. There was no necessity for Christ to show why the fathers worshipped in the mountain, and the Jews in Jerusalem. He therefore was silent on that question; but nevertheless asserted the religious superiority of the Jews on another ground, the ground not of place, but of knowledge; You worship you know not what, we know what we worship; for salvation is of the Jews.

ORIGEN. You, literally refers to the Samaritans, but mystically, to all who understand the Scriptures in an heretical sense. We again literally means the Jews, but mystically, I the Word, and all who conformed to My Image, obtain salvation from the Jewish Scriptures.

CHRYS. The Samaritans worshipped they knew not what, a local, a partial God, as they imagined, of whom they had the same notion that they had of their idols. And therefore they mingled the worship of God with the worship of idols. But the Jews were free from this superstition: indeed they knew God to be the God of the whole world; wherefore He says, We worship what we know. He reckons Himself among the Jews, in condescension to the woman's idea of Him; and says as if He were a Jewish prophet, We worship, though it is certain that He is the Being who is worshipped by all. The words, For salvation is of the Jews, mean that every thing calculated to save and amend the world, the knowledge of God, the abhorrence of idols, and all other doctrines of that nature, and even the very origin of our religion, comes originally from the Jews. In salvation too He includes His own presence, which He says is of the Jews, as we are told by the Apostle, Of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came. See how He exalts the Old Testament, which He shows to be the root of every thing good; thus proving in every way that He Himself is not opposed to the Law.

AUG. It is saying much for the Jews, to declare in their name, We worship what we know. But He does not spear; for the reprobate Jews, but for that party from whom the Apostles and the Prophets came. Such were all those saints who laid the prices of their possessions at the Apostle's feet.

CHRYS. The Jewish worship then was far higher than the Samaritan; but even it shall be abolished; The hour comes, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth. He says, and now is, to show that this was not a prediction, like those of the ancient Prophets, to be fulfilled the course of ages. The event, He says, is now at hand, it is approaching your very doors. The words, true worshipers, are by way of distinction: for there are false worshipers, who pray for temporal and frail benefits, or whose actions are ever contradicting their prayers.

CHRYS. Or by saying, true, he excludes the Jews together with the Samaritans. For the Jews, though better than the Samaritans, were yet as much inferior to those who were to succeed them, as the type is to the reality. The true worshipers do not confine the worship of God to place, but worship in the spirit; as Paul said, Whom I serve with my spirit.

ORIGEN. Twice it is said, The hour comes, and the first time without the addition, and now is. The first seems to allude to that purely spiritual worship which is suited only to a state of perfection; the second to earthly worship, perfected as far as is consistent with human nature. When that hour comes, which our Lord speaks of, the mountain of the Samaritans must be avoided, and God must be worshipped in Sion, where is Jerusalem, which is called by Christ the city of the Great King. And this is the Church, where sacred oblations and spiritual victims are offered up by those who understand the spiritual law. So that when the fullness of time shall have come, the true worship, we must suppose, will no longer be attached to Jerusalem, i.e. to the present Church: for the Angels do not worship the Father at Jerusalem: and thus those who have obtained the likeness of the Jews, worship the Father better than they who are at Jerusalem. And when this hour is come, we shall be accounted by the Father as sons. Wherefore it is not said, Worship God, but, Worship the Father. But for the present the true worshipers worship the Father in spirit and in truth.

CHRYS. He speaks here of the Church; wherein there is true worship, and such as becomes God; and therefore adds, For the Father seeks such to worship Him. For though formerly He willed that mankind should linger under a dispensation of types and figures, this was only done in condescension to human frailty, and to prepare men for the reception of the truth.

ORIGEN. But if the Father seeks, He seeks through Jesus, Who came to seek and to save that which was lost, and to teach men what true worship was. God is a Spirit; i.e. He constitutes our real life, just as our breath (spirit) constitutes our bodily life.

CHRYS. Or it signifies that God is incorporeal; and that therefore He ought to be worshipped not with the body, but with the soul, by the offering up a pure mind, i.e. that they who worship Him, must worship Him in spirit and in truth. The Jews neglected the soul, but paid great attention to the body, and had various kinds of purification. Our Lord seems here to refer to this, and to say, not by cleansing of the body, but by the incorporeal nature within us, i. e. the understanding, which He calls the spirit, that we must worship the incorporeal God.

HILARY. Or, by saying that God being a Spirit ought to be worshipped in spirit, He indicates the freedom and knowledge of the worshipers, and the uncircumscribed nature of the worship: according to the saying of the Apostle, Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

CHRYS. And that we are to worship in truth, means that whereas the former ordinances were typical; that is to say, circumcision, burnt offerings, and sacrifices; now, on the contrary, every thing is real.

THEOPHYL. Or, because many think that they worship God in the spirit, i.e. with the mind, who yet held heretical doctrines concerning Him, for this reason He adds, and in truth. May not the words too refer to the two kinds of philosophy among us, i. e. active and contemplative; the spirit standing for action, according to the Apostle, As many as are led by the Spirit of God; truth, on the other hand, for contemplation. Or, (to take another view,) as the Samaritans thought that God w as confined to a certain place, and ought to be worshipped in that place; in opposition to this notion, our Lord may mean to teach them here, that the true worshipers worship not locally, but spiritually. Or again, all being a type and shadow in the Jewish system, the meaning may be that the true worshipers will worship not in type, but in truth. God being a Spirit, seeks for spiritual worshipers; being the truth, for true ones.

AUG. O for a mountain to pray on, you cry, high and inaccessible, that I may be nearer to God, and God may hear me better, for He dwells on high. Yes, God dwells on high, but He has respect to the humble. Wherefore descend that you may ascend. "Ways on high are in their heart," it is said, "passing in the valley of tears," and in "tears" is humility. Would you pray in the temple? pray in yourself; but first do you become the temple of God.

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