METAPHYSICAL INTERPRETATION OF JOHN CHAPTER 4
4:1When therefore the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 4:2(although Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples), 4:3he left Judea, and departed again into Galilee. 4:4And he must needs pass through Samaria. 4:5So he cometh to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph: 4:6and Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
THE NAME Samaria means "watchtower"; and Samaria represents that department of the objective consciousness which functions through the head. The name Sychar means "drunken," and the place symbolizes a confused state of mind. Sychar was located near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph; physiologically it corresponds to the forehead, seat of intellectual perception. Here also is Jacob's well--inspiration through the intellect alone.
Jesus--I AM--has been compassing the whole man, from within to without, and the I AM "rests" at the point where the intellectual and the spiritual meet.
4:7There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 4:8For his disciples were gone away into the city to buy food. 4:9The Samaritan woman therefore saith unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, who am a Samaritan woman? (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 4:10Jesus answered and said unto unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. 4:11The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: whence then hast thou that living water? 4:12Art thou greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his sons, and his cattle? 4:13Jesus answered and said unto her, Every one that drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 4:14but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up unto eternal life. 4:15The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come all the way hither to draw.
4:16Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 4:17The woman answered and said unto him, I have no husband. Jesus saith unto her, Thou saidst well, I have no husband: 4:18for thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: this hast thou said truly.4:19The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 4:20Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 4:21Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall ye worship the Father. 4:22Ye worship that which ye know not: we worship that which we know; for salvation is from the Jews. 4:23But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for such doth the Father seek to be his worshippers. 4:24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth. 4:25The woman saith unto him, I know that Messiah cometh (he that is called Christ): when he is come, he will declare unto us all things. 4:26Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.
4:27And upon this came his disciples; and they marvelled that he was speaking with a woman; yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why speakest thou with her? 4:28So the woman left her waterpot, and went away into the city, and saith to the people, 4:29Come, see a man, who told me all things that ever I did: can this be the Christ? 4:30They went out of the city, and were coming to him.
Jesus preached one of His greatest sermons to the woman at the well; she was a Samaritan, a heathen. ("Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.") Her highest concept of God was that of a being who had to be worshiped in some temple in Jerusalem or in a certain mountain. Jesus told her, "God is Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth."
To worship God truly we must know where He is and how to approach Him. If, as many teach, God lives in heaven, and heaven is located somewhere in the skies, we have a consciousness of separation from Him, and our approach to Him is uncertain.
But when we know the truth about God, that He is an omnipresent Spirit manifesting Himself to our mind when we think of Him as one with us in Spirit and responding to our every thought, then we know Him as He is.
This lesson on omnipresence needs constant repeating because we function mentally and physically, the material or manifest predominating. Here we are told that Jesus went from Judea to Galilee. Judea connotes Spirit and Galilee connotes manifestation. Jesus told the woman that salvation came from the
Judeans or spiritual-minded. It is easy to understand God as Spirit and man as His spiritual offspring.
The "well of water springing up into eternal life" is the fount of Christ inspiration within man's consciousness. When the seal of material thought is broken this inner spiritual life flows forth peacefully, majestically, vitalizing and renewing mind and body. In the clear light of Truth we are conscious of life as unchanging, eternal.
The Samaritan woman represents the duality of the soul or subconsciousness. It is not the true source of wisdom, although many searchers after Truth fail to distinguish between its revelations and those of Spirit. In Hindu metaphysics it is known as the human and animal soul.
The Samaritans claimed to be descendants of Jacob, and they used portions of the Hebrew Scriptures, but in the eyes of the Israelites the Samaritans were pretenders, not true followers of Jehovah. Thus spiritually enlightened people see in psychic and spiritistic phenomena and the revelations of that branch of occultism an imitation of Truth, without a true understanding of its relation to Spirit.
But the soul must have Truth, and Christ recognizes the soul as worthy; hence this wonderful lesson of John 4:9-26 given to one auditor. The soul draws its life from both the earthly side of existence (Jacob's well) and the spiritual (the Jew), but is destined to draw from a higher fount, omnipotent Spirit. Jesus asked the woman for a drink, which indicates the universality of the spiritual life, present
in the Samaritan woman as well as in Jesus.
"The gift of God" to man is eternal life. The soul informed of this truth asks the Father for the manifestation of this life, and there gushes forth a never-failing stream. But where sense consciousness is dominant the soul is slow to see the realities of ideas, thoughts, and words; the sight is fixed on material ways and means: "Thou hast nothing to draw with ... whence then hast thou that living water?" This is a fair setting forth of the status of the questioning ones of this day who ask the explanation of spiritual things on a material basis.
The Christ is a discerner of thoughts and reads the history of the soul as an open book. When Jesus displayed this ability to the woman, she at once had faith in Him and accepted Him as a prophet, not because she understood His doctrine, but because He had told her of her past: "Come, see a man, who told me all things that ever I did."
In its natural state the soul is attached to localities, forms, and conditions in the world. It believes in the importance of places of worship and in the observance of outward forms. The Mind of Spirit puts all such formalities aside and proclaims the universality of spiritual forces. "God is Spirit." "Neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall ye worship the Father." The soul, by falling into forms of worship, fails to get the true understanding, but the Christ-minded know Spirit. They enter into the consciousness of the formless life and substance and they are satisfied.
The Jews represent spiritual understanding, inspiration;
the Gentiles represent material understanding. Salvation comes only through spiritual inspiration. This is the inner interpretation of Jesus' words "Salvation is from the Jews."
The "woman of Samaria" is a combination of the intellectual and emotional side of the soul. Jesus met her beside Jacob's well (inspiration through the intellect alone) in the city of Sychar (a confused state of mind). The I AM (Jesus) has power to harmonize the intellect by the power of Spirit. But before the I AM can do this, it must get the intelligent attention of the mixed state of consciousness symbolized by Sychar and the Samaritans. Being a combination of both Hebrew and heathen blood, the Samaritans were a mixed race; the woman at the well recognized the separation that exists between absolute Truth and the mixed thoughts of intellect. Jesus is not afraid of being contaminated by such communion. He is willing to imbibe the inspiration of this realm of mind, and in so doing He comes in touch with its interests.
The Jesus consciousness is appealing to intellectual people to recognize the gift of God, the Spirit of universal love and brotherhood. It invites their thoughts to receive the living inspiration, which may be had for the asking. But man must ask. "Ask, and ye shall receive."
The questioning, analytical attitude taken by the woman at the well represents the tendency of intellect to argue: "I see no visible means whereby you can get the everlasting water of life. Are you greater than all the precedents and antecedents of intellectual inheritance and experience?" These assumptions
of the spiritual-minded that they have a truth higher than human reason seem to be farfetched and ephemeral. These are but a few of the many questions and objections of the intellectually wise.
Nevertheless spiritual perception continues to affirm that it has the inspiration that will never slacken or prove wanting. The mortal understands so little that it is constantly asking for more. It is never satisfied with itself or with the knowledge that it finds; but whoever drinks of the true spiritual inspiration will never thirst. It will prove a "well of water springing up unto eternal life."
The outer symbol of worship is adoration, homage; but worship in Spirit and Truth involves absolute union with the character of the object of worship. Therefore in order to fulfill the requirements of spiritual worship, a right understanding of God and a development in oneself of His Spirit are necessary.
4:31In the mean while the disciples prayed him, saying, Rabbi, eat. 4:32But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not. 4:33The disciples therefore said one to another, Hath any man brought him aught to eat? 4:34Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to accomplish his work. 4:35Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh the harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white already unto harvest. 4:36He that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal; that he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. 4:37For herein is the saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. 4:38I sent you to reap that whereon ye have not labored: others have labored, and ye are entered into their labor.
On the divine side of his being man makes contact with spiritual ideas, which are the source of external substance or food. The natural man (represented by the disciples) thinks that the substance necessary for food must be put through the material process of planting and harvesting, but in Spirit the pure substance is always at hand ready to be appropriated by the inner consciousness. In states of high spiritual realization the desire for material food vanishes. Jesus fasted for forty days and "afterward hungered."
4:39And from that city many of the Samaritans believed on him because of the word of the woman, who testified, He told me all things that ever I did. 4:40So when the Samaritans came unto him, they besought him to abide with them: and he abode there two days. 4:41And many more believed because of his word; 4:42and they said to the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy speaking: for we have heard for ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Saviour of the world.
There are always those at hand who need help, and that is our chance to administer aid. The woman who received help from Jesus at the well fled to the city to tell the people of Him. The result was that many came to Him, and He ministered to them all, proving that salvation is for all alike. "God is no respecter of persons." Salvation comes to everyone who assimilates and appropriates these truths and lets them find expression in and through him. Jesus healed and freed those to whom He ministered, and they believed, not because of what the woman said
but because they themselves witnessed what Jesus Himself did.
4:43And after the two days he went forth from thence into Galilee. 4:44For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honor in his own country. 4:45So when he came into Galilee, the Galilaeans received him, having seen all the things that he did in Jerusalem at the feast: for they also went unto the feast.
Jesus came into Galilee, and the Galileans received Him. Spiritually interpreted, this means that the indwelling Christ reaches spiritual consummation, spiritual unity with the original Spirit, in the measure that it manifests life and functions in Spirit consciousness. Life activity (Galilee) is omnipresent, and man needs to apprehend the laws of Spirit, the laws governing all manifest things and his relation to all things.
The natural man looks up to what he considers mysterious and wonderful. He is not impressed by anything he thinks he knows and understands. Miracles to him are expected to come forth from some miraculous background. Therefore, Jesus, the carpenter's son, was of too common origin for His native companions to have any great faith in His claims of spiritual inspiration. "No man is a hero to his tailor." Therefore the Master "did not many mighty works there [in Nazareth] because of their unbelief."
4:46He came therefore again unto Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. 4:47When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son; for he was at the point of death. 4:48Jesus therefore said unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will in no wise believe. 4:49The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. 4:50Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. The man believed the word that Jesus spake unto him, and he went his way. 4:51And as he was now going down, his servants met him, saying, that his son lived. 4:52So he inquired of them the hour when he began to amend. They said therefore unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. 4:53So the father knew that it was at that hour in which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house. 4:54This is again the second sign that Jesus did, having come out of Judaea into Galilee.
It is believed by many professing Christians that the healing of the nobleman's son was a miracle performed only to furnish proof that Jesus came from God. A Bible commentator who is counted very wise in Bible interpretation has said: "Miracles have been wrought only to authenticate the bearers of supernatural revelation, so when a revelation is really being given, the dull minds of men should be compelled to discern, and attend to it by works so evidently due to divine power as to demonstrate that the speaker must bring a message directly from God." Yet Jesus Himself taught that those who believed on Him should do the works that He did and greater works.
The fact is that the healing of the nobleman's son is being duplicated every day of the year by modern followers of Jesus' methods, followers who have numberless absent patients, whom they never see yet whom they heal as effectually as Jesus healed the nobleman's son. Unity has similar cases every day, and the testimonials that we receive bear witness to the efficacy of our healing ministry. The light of Truth is shining more brightly today than ever before. The same faith that healed the nobleman's son will heal all persons who open their minds to it and let go of prejudice and unbelief. This fact is being demonstrated to all who are willing to believe.
Faith on the part of the patient or of someone connected with him is found to be an important factor in absent healing. This nobleman had faith that Jesus could heal his son, and when Jesus uttered the positive truth "Go thy way; thy son liveth," he "believed the word."
Spiritual healing is so marvelous and so far beyond the range of human explanation that it may appear to be supernatural. We cannot explain it clearly, but this we know: When we attain oneness with the invisible force that moves the mind, a new and higher energy sweeps through us; the thought is ablaze, and even our spoken words seem alive. When the word or spiritualized thought is sent to a receptive mind, it is conducted like the oscillations of the wireless telegraph; there is a universal thought ether that carries the message.
When the word goes forth from a spiritual center
(represented by Jesus and His apostles) it becomes a continuous life-giver to all who believe in the spiritual as the source of life. Through faith they "tune in" and catch the message from the living word. "The words that I have spoken unto you are spirit, and are life." "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away."