Gospel Doctrine, New Testatment Lesson 5, “Born Again”

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John 4, Jesus speaks with a Samaritan woman

Q. Who were the Samaritans?

. . . When the Ten Tribes were transported to Assyria more than seven centuries before the Christian Era, Samaria was repeopled by heathen colonists from other Assyrian provinces. These pagan peoples, intermixing somewhat with scattered remnants of Israel, founded the race of despised and hated Samaritans of Jesus’ day. As a nation, they claimed Jacob as their father and maintained they were inheritors of the blessings of the chosen seed. Their religion, partially pagan in nature, accepted the Pentateuch, but rejected the prophets and the psalms. In the day of Jesus they were friendly to Herod and Rome, but bitter toward the Jews, a feeling fully reciprocated by their Jewish kindred.
–Bruce R. McConkie

– Jesus must have recognized that at least this woman was of the house of Israel, otherwise he would not likely have come to teach her. Although the gospel was eventually to be preached to all the world, his personal ministry was only to be to the literal house of Israel

(Read John 4:1-6)

JST says whatever their intentions were before, the Pharisees now sought to put him to death because people were following him and being converted. They were threatened by his power and influence, possibly sheds more light on Nicodemus

Bible map #11 of Samaria/ Judea / Galilee – “left Judæa, and departed again into Galilee. And he must needs go through Samaria.”

– Samaria is right between the two, would be going out of his way to avoid Samaria (as most Jews did) but Jesus deliberately went through Samaria, deliberately talked with a woman who was a Samaritan, going against the social

The savior knew her background and despite her situation, living with someone she wasn’t married to and he still went out of his way to teach the gospel to her, didn’t judge, this led to many other Samaritans having the gospel.

(read John 4:6-15)

Q. Why did he ask her for water?

V6 says it was the 6th hour. The Jewish day starts at 6am so the 6th hour would be sometime between 12 and 1pm, so its the middle of the day, he has been walking all day and it tired and probably really thirsty

What is the most valuable substance or commodity in the world? We might initially think that gold, oil, or diamonds have the greatest worth. But of all the minerals, metals, gems, and solvents found on and in the earth, the most valuable is water. Life springs from water. Life is sustained by water. Water is the medium required to perform the various functions associated with all known forms of life. …a person can survive for many days or even weeks without food, an individual will usually die in only three or four days without water. Most of the world’s great centers of population are situated near sources of fresh water. Simply stated, life could not exist without the availability of and access to adequate supplies of clean water. …Given the vital role of water in sustaining all forms of life, the Savior’s use of the term “living water” is supernally significant.”
–Elder Bednar

Q. Why didn’t the woman understand the Savior at first?

“…The whole episode compares secular things to spiritual. The woman was engrossed in the worldly things-the flesh, the natural water, the rope, the bucket. She could hardly grasp the idea of the ‘living water,’ and even when she began to believe, her response was that she would like some of that special kind of water so that she would never have to come again to the well to draw. She was still thinking in physical terms. It took some time before she could appreciate that the ‘living water’ Jesus could give would be like a flowing well ‘springing up unto everlasting life’.”
–Robert J. Matthews

Q. What is the living water that the Savior offers?

(Guidance, covenants, comfort, inspiration from scriptures, words of prophets – living = moving, active, eventually it will be eternal life if we stay on that path )

– I want to add emphasis that we don’t have to wait until the next life to receive that living water. In fact we should be seeking that every day.

John 7:37-39 (living water = The gift of the Holy Ghost)

1 Nephi 11:25 (fountain of living waters/tree of life, represents the love of God)

– A major point of this lesson, there’s a lot of them, but as I was studying I thought of this scripture in the D&C, in the middle of the prayer given at the Kirtland temple dedication, Joseph Smith starts to pray for the kings and rulers, the poor and needy and all people of the world and prays:

That their hearts may be softened when thy servants shall go out from thy house, O Jehovah, to bear testimony of thy name; that their prejudices may give way before the truth, and thy people may obtain favor in the sight of all…”
–D&C 109: 56

We must let go of prejudices, false ideas and whatever limiting beliefs we hold that prevent us from fully embracing the gospel and keeping God’s commandments. It is then that we can receive the promises such as these:

24 That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.
–D&C 50:24

67 And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things.
–D&C 88:6

I know that as we allow the Spirit to soften our hearts and accept the gospel more fully, with willingness to act on what we know is true, we will be blessed with the living water of the Spirit and we will feel God’s love more deeply and receive his help and guidance daily.

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