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Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.

The woman still understands him to speak of real water.

1(5. Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.

17. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband:

18. For thou hast had five husbands, and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.

Bishop Pearce thinks that Christ's motive for desiring the woman to call her husband, was only to let her know that he was possessed of supernatural knowledge, and knew that she had had five husbands, who died in succession; and the clause which we translate, "he whom thou now hast is not thy husband," he would render, "Thou has^ no husband now," supposing the text to have been altered. Certainly the respect shown to this woman both by Christ and her countrymen, makes it improbable she should be the infamous character generally supposed, living in fornication with a sixth man, after having had five husbands.

19- The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.

Divinely authorized teachers among the Jews often possessed a supernatural knowledge of present and past events, -as well as of such as were future. This woman, therefore, justly infers our Lord's claim to that character from the knowledge which he discovered in

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warmly agitated between her countrymen and the Jews, respecting the proper place of worshipping the Divine Being.

20. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain, and ye say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.

As the great design of the Jewish dispensation was, to preserve the knowledge of one God in the world, Avhile the Gentiles paid divine honours to many, the Jews were allowed to erect altars to him, and to pay him public worship, but in one place, and that place, since the time of Solomon, was the temple at Jerusalem, 1 Kings ix. 3. 2 Chron. vii. 12. The Samaritans, admitted the same general maxim, but insisted that this honour belonged to the temple which they had built upon mount Gerizim, and in vindication or their

f>ractice pleaded the example of their ancestors, Abralam and Jacob, who each of them built altars to God near to Shechem, which was within the country of Samaria, See Genesis xii. 6, 7. xxxiii. 18, 20.

21. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh when ye shall, c< when ye will," neither in this mountain nor yet at Jerusalem worship the Father.

That is, to the exclusion of other places: for under the Christian dispensation, which is about to be established, men will be allowed to worship God in every place.

22. Ye worship ye know not what, or, "what ye do not know," we worship what we do know:

The Samaritans worshipped the same God as the Jews, but admitting no more of scripture than the five books of Moses, they could not be so well acquainted with his character and designs as the Jews, who re, ceived the works of the prophets. •

For salvation is of the Jews.

As a proof that the Jews are hetter acquainted with the Divine Being, they are honoured with the appearance of the Messiah among them, who is to teach men the way of salvation.

23. But the hour cometh and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

To worship God in spirit and in truth is to worship him with the true affections of the heart, unmixed with rites, ceremonies and sacrifices, which are only the symbols of worship.

24. God is a spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

God is an invisible Being, and requires the worship of the mind and affections, which are likewise invisible.

25. The woman saith unto him, I

know that Messias cometh; (which is

called Christ) when he is come he will

teach us all things.

It appears hence that the Samaritans expected the Messiah, and that they entertained juster notions of him than the Jews; for they conceived of him as a teacher only, while the Jews regarded him as a temporal prince. This difference in their opinions is probably to be traced to the different books which they received, as containing a revelation from God. For in the Pentateuch the Messiah is spoken of only as a prophet or teacher, but represented as a king in the latter prophets. This may also account for Christ confessing himself to be the Messiah to the Samaritans, while he carefully concealed it from the Jews. The Samaritans, with such notions of him, were not likely to disturb his ministry.

2(5. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.


This portion of scripture teaches us two very important doctrines, Who is the only object of religious worship, and the most acceptable method of addressing him.

1. The Father, properly denominated so by way of eminence, as the author, of being to all mankind, and better entitled to that honourable appellation than any earthly parents, is alone to be addressed by us in prayer. When Christ was desired to teach his disciples to pray, he directs them to address him as their Father in heaven; and when he wished to inform this woman whom men would be encouraged to worship in every place under the Christian dispensation, it is the Father, thq same Being who had been worshipped before in the temple* in the tabernacle and by the patriarchs, called Jehovah, God, the Lord, the Almighty, and described, as infinite in power and wisdom, universal in his presence, without beginning or end of existence, perfect in goodness, righteousness and moral excellence. This is the only Being whom the old and new covenants represent as strictly and properly intitled to the name of God; the only Being who has a claim to our religious addresses. But Christians, unmindful of the language of both, have coupled with him two other Beings, to whom they have given the name and all the attributes of Deity; one of them, his inspired messenger and servant, but a man like ourselves; the other, no more than an attribute of the divine nature. Thus have they relapsed again into the great error of the heathen world, who worshipped deified men, and deified attributes of the Divine Being, from which it was the great design of the miracles and institutions of the Jewish religion to preserve that people. As you value the honour of the Supreme Being, and would avoid the sin of idolatry, carefully shun this pernicious error; join in no forms of worship in which it is countenanced, nor give them the sanction of your presence. God is jealous of the honours which belong peculiarly to himself, and requires that his servants should be so likewise: between men who have different objects of worship there can and ought to be no fellowship in acts of devotion. Labour to deliver the Christian world from so gross a corruption of true religion, which has been the source and cause of so many other corruptions.

2. Let us remember the only acceptable way in which this Being can be worshipped; that is, by su

{>reme veneration, by unfeigned gratitude, by ardent ove, by chearful confidence; in short, by the affections of the mind and not the posture of the body, or any external rites. Let this thought be deeply impressed upon your minds, whenever you approach the Divine Being, in the services of public or private devotion, and point out to you the object for which you ought to labour. Let this observation also furnish you with a rule, whereby to determine the value of such services; judge not of their worth in the sight of God by their number or frequency; by the place in which they are performed, or the pomp with which they are accompanied; but by the spirit of the worshipper.

3. Let us rejoice in the view here given us of the Christian religion. It is a well of water, springing up to everlasting life, supporting not a frail and mortal existence like the present, but one that will last for ever; it lays the foundation of excellencies which will survive the body, and the world which we inhabit, and be as durable as the Divine Being himself. How im

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