Insights into the Gospel of John: Chapter 4

By Lloyd Ellefson

It's always exciting to see what the Spirit reveals as we let Him interpret the scriptures to us! While many of the historical accounts in the gospels do not have a great bearing on our faith, the truths spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ inspire us, change us and free us from our deceptions!

Israel only saw Jesus as an ordinary man - another Jew! Some even saw Him as an extraordinary Jew, and marvelled at the miracles He did. It's easy to believe what you see, but that belief only resides in the natural mind! Actually, most of the Israelites did not see the miracles - they just heard of them. This gave rise to many stories about Jesus - some were true and some weren't.

Jesus performed many healings, exercised great authority, did many great works and revealed the Father to us! He came to bring us the righteousness of God which was resident in Him! He had a growing consciousness of who He truly was. He identified with the consciousness that is in God. Before God created the universe there was only God; He alone existed! He was the only one who possessed a mind, a thought, or a consciousness. Therefore there is only one true consciousness of life and one true mind!

The first man was of the earth - earthy. Jesus, the second man, or the Son of Man, came from heaven - He was heavenly! (Jn. 3:13) His conception of things came out of heaven; it did not come out of the earth as Adam's did. So His consciousness of God was a divine consciousness. This meant He was partaking of the divine nature and the divine nature's understanding. It was a consciousness of God that natural man can never experience. Christ's mind was at rest as far as evil, sin, sickness, death, and destruction were concerned. He demonstrated that by overcoming every one of them!

By receiving the same mind that is in Christ Jesus we become one with Him! The purpose of His coming was to give us His sense of being and His realization of life! To receive His life, we have to identify with Him and recognize that we were crucified with Him, because He crucified the old humanity. (Gal. 2:20) Those who have been baptized into Christ Jesus, have been baptized into His death and have also been buried with Him. (Rom. 6:3-11) This is our death to our old consciousness. Our new consciousness is not one of death and earthiness or of things which pass away. In Christ we are being resurrected out of our old consciousness and ascended into the same consciousness that is resident in Him. Today we can walk in this new life in the Holy Spirit!

Jesus was a conqueror; He was an overcomer! He did not have any problem with fear. He trusted His Father and only did what the Father showed Him to do. Therefore He could overcome every attack of fear - even the fear of the horrible death by crucifixion! He did not fear unanswered prayer when He healed the sick and raised the dead. Selfish prayers and the fear of unanswered prayer result in fruitlessness. Although Paul tells us we don't know how to pray as we ought, we still think we do. We know that when people get sick, we should pray for them. But how do we pray for them? Instead of just praying for their health, let's also pray that they receive the consciousness of God which would release them from the fear of sickness and death and give them peace! We all need to improve in this area.

Let's look at John 4. "Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were)." (vv.1-2) John baptized with water. His baptism symbolized the death of the old man and the old government.

Jesus appeared at the Jordan River to be baptized by John. He went into the Jordan under the government of the law, because for thirty years He had been under the law - offering the required sacrifices. After His baptism He was no longer governed by the law! The government of His life had changed. The Holy Spirit came upon Him and God declared Him to be His Son. He was now governed by the Holy Spirit! Jesus did this for all humanity and thereby showed us a new way! He did these things for us - not for Himself!

This change of government was symbolized by Israel many years ago. Before Israel could cross the Jordan to enter Canaan, the Levitical priests had to carry the ark and step into the water. They had to remove twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan and put them on land, and take twelve stones from the land and put them in the middle of the Jordan. This whole procedure symbolized a change in government - 12 being the number for government in the scriptures. The Jordan is called the river of death, so they had to cross it before they could pass from the world into the kingdom of God. They were going from a bondage in Egypt to a promise in Canaan! A new land necessitates a change of government. They received a new government in their lives when they passed over the Jordan.

After the Israelites left the bondage of Egypt, all those who were over twenty years of age, died in the wilderness because of their lack of faith. Since Moses represented the law, he could only see the promised land. He could not enter in, nor could he take anyone in; he also had to die. During the wilderness wanderings the male children had not been circumcised, so they had to receive a new circumcision.

Jesus participated in John's baptism of repentance - not of sin, for He had never sinned, but of having been under the law. He turned from the lordship of the law and its righteousness, and received a new government and a new consciousness through the Holy Spirit. This occurred when the Spirit came upon Him and God said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased." (Matt. 3:17)

It was on the basis of this union with God that Jesus began His ministry! This was Christ's adoption, or His placing as a Son. In the scriptures adoption means coming out of the law, and as a son, being placed over the servants, over the household and over the law. (Galatians 4) The law was no longer Christ's master or lord, and the Holy Spirit caused Him to cry, "Abba! Father!" He always was God's Son, but this demonstrated Christ's deliverance or redemption from the law that He experienced for us.

This experience is also ours. When we come of age or to maturity, the Father also speaks to us, and we are released from the law. His Spirit comes to us and we hear God say, "You are My son." This changes everything! Even as Christ's ministry came out of His union with the Father, so our ministry also comes out of this union and this knowledge. All true ministries come from the Son. No ministry will ever produce sons. Many ministries try to produce better Christians, but this is working backwards. We must first recognize that we are sons before we can reproduce the level of ministry that the Son has. John said, "I must decrease". When we decrease, there is no longer as much sin to repent of, because Christ has increased in us. Our knowledge of being in the life of God must increase.

"He left Judea, and went away again into Galilee. And He had to pass through Samaria...And Jacob's well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, `Give Me a drink.' For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, `How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman? (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans)." (vv.3-4; 6-9) The Jews of Samaria had intermarried with different nations, and were therefore considered impure.

It is interesting to note that Jesus was not ruled by Jewish custom and fear. For example, speaking to the Samaritan woman was against Jewish practice - and she was even an adulterous woman! Jesus did not fear rejection nor the critical remarks of the religious hierarchy. We, on the other hand, are often governed and motivated by fear. This is illustrated by many of the things we do. For example, we don't want to leave our traditions because we fear rejection. Parades are organized against pornography and abortion, because people fear these aberrations will infiltrate society. The organizers are not motivated by love for mankind but by a legalistic attitude. So often no grace is extended toward these people; they even burn the facilities where abortions are practised. They are afraid of losing control - control of government regulations and losing the moral standards of this country.

Earthly countries need laws. Christians obey the laws of the country because they know that every power is of God. But the kingdom of God functions differently. It does not operate by commandments, religious laws and rites, but by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. When Christians understand their adoption, they will cease their legalism and operate in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ!

The woman again questioned Jesus. "You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You?" Now why didn't she say, "Our father Abraham?" The Samaritans called Jacob their father, whereas the Jews or Israelites called Abraham their father because they knew the promise was to Abraham. Jesus answered by comparing the water Jacob gave with the water He gives. "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal (or age-during) life." (vv.12;14)

Jesus offers us water to drink; He offers Himself as food and drink! "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves." (Jn. 6:53) Humanity has failed to see that this is spiritual food for the spiritual man. Christ is the truth and the life, so as we receive His life and feed on His truth (there is no other truth), we are eating of Him. The soul (mind, emotions and will) is in the blood, so as we live out of His mind, emotions and will, we are drinking His blood. In the kingdom of God, Christ is our food and drink. Those who do not understand this have taken a wafer and wine and substituted them for spiritual food. Natural food does not become spiritual food. It doesn't work! This is simply paganism. There isn't any redemption in that and there isn't any lasting spiritual effect.

Jesus promised to give us the water of life, and we need His life continually! The prayer, "Give us this day our daily bread," is not only for physical sustenance but also for spiritual sustenance! Jesus said that we need to come to Him and drink; if we get the drink from Him instead of from the world, or from the cup of the harlot, He will give us living water! In John 7 Jesus said that the Holy Spirit was not yet given because Christ was not yet glorified. So the drink could not have been given at that time; but the heart condition was given. When the time comes for the living water to be dispensed, those whose heart condition is right may drink.

God looks at the heart and knows exactly who will drink and who won't. He knows exactly what state the heart is in. He knows the end from the beginning. We have no qualms in accepting the fact that God is omniscient. Since He knows everything, it is really stupid to try to hide anything from Him. He knows us better than we know ourselves. Jesus said that He Himself knew what was in man. (Jn. 2:24-25)

Therefore, if His Spirit is in us, He will also give us discernment as to what is in people's hearts. As we grow in Christ, we will begin to recognize where people are in their relationship to Christ - whether they are only satisfied with being forgiven and receiving God's temporal blessings, and heaven in the future, or if they are truly yearning for life and a relationship with Him. Unless we understand that there is more to Christianity than the forgiveness of our sins, the deep desires of our heart will not be fulfilled.

"The woman said to Him, `Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty, nor come all the way here to draw.' He said to her, `Go, call your husband, and come here.' The woman answered and said, `I have no husband.' Jesus said to her, `You have correctly said, "I have no husband;" for you have had five husbands; and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.'" (vv.15-18) Jesus may have thought, "Lady, you are just like humanity. You have been married to so many husbands, so many different covenants, different ideas of God and different ways of praying, but you have never had a true husband. All those husbands are gone, and not one of them has filled the bill. And you don't have a true husband now. Your orientation has been completely wrong." This was true of Israel, it was true of Samaria, and it is true of all natural humanity!

"The woman said to Him, `Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped in this mountain; and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.'" (vv.19-20) Now Jesus had not said that, but she thought that He, being a Jew, would think that.

"Jesus said to her, `Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, will you worship the Father.'" (v.21) Notice that Jesus said, "worship the Father;" He did not say, "worship God". True worship consists of worshiping the Father! In order to do this, we need to understand sonship.

"...true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (vv.23-24) The law and the prophets prophesied until John, but after John the fulfillment came. The fulfillment of prophecy has come in Jesus Christ! Our method of worship has come from the Old Testament. Worshiping the Lord consists of more than the clapping of hands, the banging of cymbals and praising the Lord. True worship can only come in knowing the Father in spirit and in truth and in the full surrender of our wills to Him! To submit our wills to Him, we have to know Him and what He has done for us.

God does not receive honor from man, and neither does Jesus Christ. We have a wrong conception of God if we think that worship consists of saying nice things to Him, and that this will affect His ego, and therefore change His attitude toward us so that He will answer our prayers. These ideas are an abomination to Him! Unless our worship is based on the reality of who God is, it is false worship. It is trying to get something for ourselves instead of a surrender of ourselves! We cannot fool God. True worship of the Father is spiritual!

The flesh cannot please God for it cannot be in subjection to the Spirit! A physical display of emotions may often accompany our worship, but the physical is not spiritual. In true worship the physical does not predominate. We are to do all things in moderation; if something is out of control, it is not controlled by the Holy Spirit. We are not to be so spiritual that we don't have any physical emotions, nor so physical that we lose our spirituality in the experience. The emotions of the Spirit are not to be overtaken by the flesh. In my observation, those who have the least understanding and spiritual consciousness, are the most radical in their exercise of physical demonstration in their worship. We do not judge or condemn them, knowing this will change when they grow spiritually.

Somewhere between the two extremes is the sweet comprehension of what God has done for us, and what He is now doing in us! People worship at different levels of understanding. However, since we are in the same Spirit, we can still have a unity in worship; this does not consist of a unity in doctrines or behavior patterns.

"The woman said to Him, `I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ). When that One comes, He will declare all things to us.' Jesus said to her, `I who speak to you am He.'" (vv.25-26) It was not hard for Jesus to confess that He was the Christ. But to confess that He was the Son of God, was another matter. He knew that only the Father knows who the Son is, so it was up to Him to reveal that to people. This is very critical.

Only the Father can reveal the Son. Only the Father can make people know that we are His sons by revealing His Son in us. In this life, a man cannot be a father until he has fathered or adopted a child. Only God has the ability to exercise His attributes as Father before the Son has been revealed. When the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son. The Son came through a woman to fulfil what was said to Eve. He is the way of God.

Jesus came to make the Father's name known, for in John 17:26 He said, "I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known." The name He made known was no longer Jehovah, nor a Jehovah compound name like Jehovah Rapha. The Son, Jesus Christ, revealed God as FATHER. This name embodies all the names of God progressively revealed in the Old Testament and adds the new dimension of relationship! It is the most wonderful name by which we can know God! God had fathered a Son and He reveals the Father to us! So the term "Father" came to represent God.

This had not been revealed prior to the manifestation of the Son, and humanity could not understand that God could also be our Father. So when Jesus called Him His Father, the Jews became incensed. At one point Jesus asked them, "For which of My works are you going to stone Me?" They replied, "It is not because of Your works. It's because you blasphemed God, saying He is Your Father." However, we have to embrace this precious truth that God is our Father! When the Spirit of Christ comes into us, we cry, "Abba! Father!" We do not cry, "Jesus". As we come to understand that a union with Christ has taken place, it will cause us to say "Father", even "Our Father".

Notice that the woman said, "I know that Messiah is coming." (v.25) This is still a popular saying today! The Jews, as well as most Christians, believe that the Messiah is yet to come. This means tomorrow, not today. I recall someone relating that he had been driving along and he saw a sign that said, "Free beer tomorrow." He wondered how that fellow could put that sign up and leave it there. Some time later when he drove by again, that same sign was still there. So he went to collect his free beer, but they told him it was free tomorrow! However tomorrow never comes; it is never today! When we say God is going to do this or that, it is always in the future. It is never present. The Jews as well as most Christians have been waiting for their Messiah to come - and they are still waiting.

However, we know He has come. So we're not waiting for what He is "going to do", because we want to be brought into what HE HAS DONE. He said, "I finished the work." What did He finish? There are a lot of things He has not finished, but He has finished dealing with the old man. He has crucified the old man! He is crucified; he is dead! Since Jesus Christ crucified the old humanity, He must be finished with it!

Things would really change if we believed that! Instead of believing what God has done, we are trying to remodel or resurrect the old man! In many circles there even seems to be an urgency to do this. It's as though God has not done enough yet - but He's going to. We're always waiting; we're always on the verge of something new God is going to do. Whatever God has purposed to do, He is bringing to pass. His word is settled in heaven! Jesus said, "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself." (Jn. 12:32) We need to leave all our earthy ideas and be drawn up into Christ! This happens in the Spirit.

"And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He had been speaking with a woman, yet no one said, `What do you seek?' or, `Why do You speak with her?' So the woman left her waterpot, and went into the city, and said to the men, (apparently she knew the men) `Come, see a man who told me all things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?' They went out of the city, and were coming to Him. Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, saying, `Rabbi, eat.'" (vv.27-31)

Let me just digress for a moment and say a few words regarding prayer. We pray for things we desire. If our desires are the same as Christ's, our prayers will be answered. Praying in the name of Christ and in the Spirit of Christ is not begging, because Christ is not a beggar. Begging will not result in receiving more from Him. God has given us the Spirit of Christ through whom He brings forth His desires. His desire is that His goodness, mercy and grace come into being in us! The Spirit gives us the assurance that God will give us whatever we need.

Jesus said, "I have food to eat that you do not know about." (v.32) Jesus lived by "every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." God's words to Him were His sustenance! Christ is our bread of life! Without receiving His truth we cannot grow spiritually!

"Do you not say, `There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest?' Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest." (v.35) Why were they to lift up their eyes? They were not to look at the trivialities that have no spiritual significance; they were to look at the fields and see that they were ready to be reaped. The harvest season had arrived!

The time for harvesting the fruit of repentance constituted the fullness of time for God to send His Son. The seed that had been planted was the law, and the law was now bearing fruit and was ready to be harvested. To prepare the way, God sent John the Baptist to preach repentance, the fruit of the law, and it needed to be harvested. Since we have been living in the law for such a long time, it has been growing on us and has become our sense of being. Since our consciousness has been in the law, there should be a great harvest of repentance. This is needed in order to receive the new consciousness or realization that is in Jesus Christ. As we grow in Christ, we grow in His sense of being!

Through the law sin abounds; through it comes the knowledge of sin. The law is only a form of truth, so it keeps us in bondage. As long as we are under the law, we do not realize the bondage we are in. Christ is the truth, and He alone can make us free! In order to be released from the law and the consciousness of the law, we have to die to the law. This is more than repenting of specific sins, for that is not enough. We need to be freed from our old nature and become a new creature in Christ Jesus! The only way we can be delivered from sin is to walk in the consciousness that was in Christ. As we walk in His consciousness, we will not walk in the consciousness of the law!

John emphasized repentance. Since Christ is the end of the law for righteousness, we need to repent of our law consciousness, that we may come to Christ. He who comes to Christ is released from the law. He is first received by Christ, then proceeds into sonship and adoption and authority. The realization of being a son is a prerequisite for becoming a minister of God. Christ, the anointed One, brings us into that.

"Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together." (v.36) That is why we'll sing the song of Moses! God had a wonderful purpose for Moses. Without the giving of the law we could not repent of our sin-consciousness and come to Christ! "For in this case the saying is true, `One sows and another reaps'." (v.37) Moses sowed the law, and we reap the benefit.

"`I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored and you have entered into their labor.' From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, `He told me all the things that I have done.' So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of His word." (vv.38-41)

Only after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the subsequent outpouring of the Holy Spirit, could people manifest the nature of Christ. There were many true believers prior to the crucifixion, but the nature of Christ was not manifested in them. They did not know that their hearts were right until the Holy Spirit came - and He could not come before Christ was crucified and risen. It is the Holy Spirit who witnesses to our hearts that we are children of God.

The word bears fruit in the heart in which it lodges. "For with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation." (Rom. 10:10) Man believes in his heart! The faith unto salvation is not in the mind, for head knowledge merely consists of the knowledge that is in the carnal mind. This mind always strives against the Spirit, and therefore has to die. It is difficult to understand why Christians should fear physical death and do everything possible to sustain physical life, but do not fear their carnal mind which is in death and an enemy of God, This does not seem to bother them a bit.

The carnal mind can never be submitted to the law of God - never! It can never repent. As long as the old nature is active in us, our sinful passions will produce sinful deeds, and the fruit of those deeds is death. The carnal mind clings to the death that resides in it. It does not want Christ, for the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God! The old man is the vehicle of sin and the minister of sin. Sin came into the world through one man, and death passed upon all men through one man - the Adamic man. This is an absolute. No one has escaped and no one will!

In order to come into life we have to be raised into a new man. That is why the coming of Christ is good news! He brings us truth and causes us to grow in the understanding and consciousness that is in Him! So instead of imputing sins and condemning people, we declare the finished work of Jesus Christ! We have the mind of Christ! In order to know what was in His mind, we have to look into the Gospels and find out how He thought. His mind did not dwell on death, condemnation, earthiness, earthly riches, and earthly governments. Therefore our minds shouldn't be absorbed by those things either. We want to be concerned with the same things the mind of Christ was concerned with!

We are aliens and pilgrims here, so our hope is not anchored in this world. Therefore we are not trying to correct this world by getting into its government, nor by becoming entangled with its affairs. We are citizens of a new country where all the redeemed dwell - of the kingdom of God! It is a kingdom of life, and we praise God for that!

In the course of Jesus' travels, a nobleman came to Him and asked Him to heal his son. "So Jesus said to him, `Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe.'" (v.48) In Matthew 16 Jesus told the Pharisees and Sadducees that they could tell what kind of weather to expect by the signs in the sky, but they could not discern the signs of the times - meaning they could not discern what was going on spiritually! They did not know what was transpiring in the kingdom of God.

This is also true of most people today. They only have an awareness of what is transpiring in the natural realm; they cannot discern the real problem nor do they know the solution. So people look to the natural realm for the solution of all their problems, whether they are economic, medical, social, etc. Instead, they need to look to the spiritual realm for the solution. Humanity needs to get a consciousness of God so that it can be released from its earthy consciousness!

Not only did Jesus say, "If you don't see signs and wonders, you won't believe," but He also said, "Blessed is he who does not see, yet believes." Paul's teaching in 2 Cor. 4:18 amplifies this: "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen..." We place our emphasis on what is in the unseen, for that is where the reality is! Faith is the ASSURANCE of things hoped for. It is not merely hoping for, and expecting our natural desires to be gratified. That is not faith. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for in the spiritual realm! When we live in this assurance, we are living in faith! By faith we share the truth we have in Christ, and who we really are in Him! Faith contains the evidence of things that are in the spiritual realm. Since we have the evidence, we no longer long to see. "But My righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him." (Heb. 10:38) Christ is our sign and our wonder, so we don't need any more signs and wonders!

"The royal official said to Him, `Sir, come down before my child dies.' Jesus said to him, `Go, your son lives.' The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started off. As he was now going down, his slaves met him, saying that his son was living. So he inquired of them the hour when he began to get better. Then they said to him, `Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.' So the father knew that it was at that hour in which Jesus said to him, `Your son lives'; and he himself believed and his whole household." (vv.49-53)

What an awesome relief to hear the statement "Your son lives." How could Jesus say this? This boy was very sick, and the people could tell that death was approaching. By saying that the boy would live, Jesus was overcoming everything they were believing. Jesus knew that the boy was not going to die because He had received this knowledge from the Father. Otherwise He would not have said it.

Let's compare this healing with other healings to see if there is a principle involved of which we should take note. At the pool of Bethesda there was a multitude of people, yet Jesus only healed one person. Jesus did not heal the lame man who sat by the gate, and whom He doubtlessly had passed many times; He let Peter heal him later on. You see, Jesus was called, not only to bring physical healing to mankind, but to bring faith for a new life and a new relationship; a faith that would overcome the trials and temptations and whatever we lack in this life.

Sometimes I wonder what would happen if God would heal everyone. If everyone walked around in perfect health and enjoyed life, no one would want to die. They wouldn't want heaven. They wouldn't even know they needed God. If that were all there was, the healing ministry would eventually defeat itself. So God cannot allow healing to be of prime importance. There are still enough healings that we can know the power of God!

God is not healing all of us at present, nor is He having all of us walk in perfect health because we have so much growing to do. If we love this world, we do not love God, because that love is not the love we receive from the Father. He who loves the world makes himself an enemy of God, because this world system and this way of living are in the hands of the wicked one, the adversary. They are designed to destroy the faith we have in God.

God wants us to have a faith that is not dependent on perfect health and perfect circumstances. However He gives us enough health so that we can live and minister. Our Father cares for us and will take care of us and His work! God bless you! Amen.

Return to "Insights into the Gospel of John" by Lloyd Ellefson

Archived Writings by Lloyd Ellefson