Thoughtful Thursday – Logos and the Samaritan Woman

The Samaritan Woman
Jacek Malczewski: 1912 Oil on Cardboard. Can we say "loose woman?"

 

Logos and the Samaritan Woman

In the Gospel of John, the story of the Samaritan Woman’s encounter with Jesus is one of the first signs that are encountered.  I have several concerns about this particular story and the way it has been used, interpreted, and translated.  I will examine:

  1. Translation issues concerning the Samaritan Woman and Logos,
  2. The Logos and John:  A general word study of how the word Logos is used throughout the Gospel of John,
  3. The Logos and the Samaritan Woman:  An examination of the Samaritan Woman in relationship with the Logos, and
  4. A brief examination of the ramifications of the relationship between Logos and the Samaritan Woman.

Translation Issue:  Logos

In the translation from Greek to English, there is one main issue that directly concerns the interpretation of the Samaritan Woman.  That concern is the usage/ translation of the word Logos.  John uses this word and its various cases carefully throughout the gospel, so serious consideration and thought should occur whenever Logos, or any case of Logos, is encountered.  In the story of the Samaritan Woman in the Gospel of John (4:7-42), Logos appears in verses 37, 39, and 41.  My translations of these verses are below:

  • Verse 37:  For in that, the Word is true:  that one is the sower and one is the reaper.
  • Verse 39:  In the city, many of the Samaritans believed in him by the Word of the woman testifying “that he told me all I did.”
  • Verse 41:  And many more believed the Word of him.

Narrowing our focus to verses 39 and 41 leads to this comparison in Greek:

τον λογον της γυναικος μαρτυρουσης (v. 39) and τον λογον αυτου  (v. 39).  In both cases, τον λογον is in the accusative which makes it the direct object of the verb.  In verse 39, the woman (της γυναικος) is genitive which would make her possess the Logos.  In verse 41, him (αυτου ) is also genitive.  The genitive case is most often translated as a prepositional phrase.[1]  This is not a problem if our Biblical translations would apply this evenly to verse 39 and verse 41.

NRSV NASB ESV NIV
Verse 39 Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.” 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.” Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”
Verse 41 And many more believed because of his word. Many more believed because of His word And many more believed because of his word. And many more believed because of His own word.

Additionally, in verse 39, there are three elements present in this phrase:  (1)  τον λογον – the Word, (2) της γυναικος – of the woman, and (3) μαρτυρουσης (the one testifying or the testifier, a participle of testify).  All three elements present say different things, Word, woman, testifier.  Yet, most of our translations compress these elements saying, “the woman’s testimony.”  I believe this is an egregious removal of the Word from the Samaritan Woman, thereby lessening her role in the eyes of the reader.  Perhaps it is not a purposeful lessening, but it definitely decreases her impact and role in the story of Logos coming into the world.

In summary, in verse 39, there is a lack of cohesion between translations regarding the word, the woman, and testifying.  In verse 41, there is consistency across the board.  The Greek is clear: the Word is of the woman-testifier.  Given the great importance the author of John places on the Word (Logos) and the inconsistent application of the correct translation, I think it is important to examine how the author of the Gospel of John uses Logos.

Logos and John

The author of the book of John uses a form of Logos in 35 verses.  The references to Logos can be broken into 2 categories: (1) theological development, (2) referring to people, including Jesus.  The Gospel of John is initiated with the theological development of Logos that has Logos simultaneously identified with wisdom, reason, and the Divine.  For the author of John, from the outset, Logos becomes laden with a surplus of meaning.  It ties together Greek philosophy and Jewish wisdom and incarnates it into the person of Jesus.  From a technical standpoint, Logos has a variety of meanings signifying verbal [2]utterances, discourses, speech, instruction, or narrative.[3]  It is interesting to see how this is applied.

Theological Development

Kim says, “The Prologue summarizes how the ‘Word,’ which was with God in the very beginning, came into the sphere of time, history, tangibility—in other words, how the Son of God was sent into the world to become the Jesus of history, so that the glory of God might be perfect disclosed.  The rest of the book is nothing other than an expansion of this theme.”[4]  The Logos, for John, is the revelation of God to the world.[5]  John very carefully develops the ‘Word’ and we should be extremely cautious when we encounter any form of the Logos, especially given the Johannine predilection for infusing double meaning into her/his writing.  Expressions of double meaning are much more pervasive than originally thought.[6]  Symbolic interpretation (the ‘Word’) is a valid means of seeing double meaning.[7]

Since the author of John takes great pains to establish key concepts in the divine Logos,[8] creating in it a symbol of divine incarnation and wisdom, we should take pains in our interpretations to consider the theological significance Logos carries, especially given the careful crafting of the Gospel of John and the repetition of words.[9]  Any word that is repeated, in one case or another, 35 times bears special consideration.  Additionally, given the fact that there are perfectly acceptable verbs that the author of John uses within the Gospel (λαλέω, λέγω, μαρτυρέω[10]), any use of Logos bears special consideration.

Logos References in the Gospel of John

Of the 35 verses referring to Logos within the Gospel of John:

  • two are theological development,
  • 22 instances refer to Jesus’s Word or are references by Jesus,
  • six refer to God’s word (one being through Isaiah),
  • 1 instance is Jesus praying for the disciple’s Word (often translated message) after his death,
  • 2 instances are anonymous Jews speaking against Jesus during the trial in Chapter 19, and
  • 1 instance of an unknown voice in verse 21:23
  • 1 instance of a concretely identified person, the Samaritan Woman.

It is my contention that where there is only one single references to a concrete personality connected with Logos, we ought to pay attention, especially given the Johannine author’s predilection for using words with double meaning and the established imbuing of theological meaning into the word Logos.

Logos and the Samaritan Woman

It is when the Logos comes to the world and is embodied by Jesus that we begin to see the work of the Word and Wisdom.  I will examine:  (1) the concept of Logos, especially as relating to people who are not Jesus, (2) the Samaritan Woman and her interpretive history and why this affects how we view her relationship with Logos, (3) the Samaritan Woman’s unique relationship with Jesus, (4) her apostolic identification, and the (5) co-identification of Logos and the Samaritan Woman.

Logos and People

The entire Gospel of John can be viewed in terms of the Logos and its action in the world.  An understanding of Logos is essential in any attempt to understand John.[11]  Logos most certainly pulls on wisdom tradition, provides echoes of the divine feminine for Jesus, and pulls on Greek tradition in which Logos embodies reason.  In identifying with Sophia (wisdom), Logos presents three attributes:  present before creation, originates with God, and dwells with Israel.[12]  I would like to focus a moment on what dwelling with Israel might be in a Johannine context.

In John, we have the constant replacement of Jewish traditions with Jesus/Logos.  Right from the beginning, we have the Logos replacing Sophia.  It continues with Jesus assuming the tabernacle, Eve is replaced with Jesus’ mother-“the woman,” Jesus is the new Moses, Jesus even replaces the “I AM.”  The list goes on.  The point being, that as Jewish symbols, traditions, and festivals are being replaced or assumed by Jesus, the question can be asked, “If Logos originates with God and dwells with Israel, what does this look like after replacement?”  God’s chosen people become those who respond and receive the Logos.  In receiving the Logos, Jesus gives them the “authority to become children of God.”[13]  They receive the Logos and become the new Israel.

I still have to wonder about the desire to distance the Samaritan Woman from the Logos, from being the new Israel, as presented in many of the translations.  I can only assume that it is because of her changing status through time.  She has evolved from a polite, friendly, if slow-witted woman during the time of the ancients,[14] to a woman who “deserves full enlightenment” during the medieval era,[15] to a woman called a prostitute during the time of reformation.[16]  In some cases, authorities today still suspect the Samaritan Woman of being less deserving than others of her place and relationship with the Logos.  One resource names her gossip and notes that she ceases to play a role after the people of Sychar come to Jesus personally.[17]  Her importance is diminished.  There is an alternate interpretation available that would have the people reporting back to the Samaritan Woman rather than dumping her.  I believe that the Samaritan Woman would rejoice and the personal relationship with Jesus that the Samaritans developed.

Additionally, if the Samaritan Woman were the amoral, promiscuous, cast-away that is portrayed from the reformation period forward, the response of the townspeople to her testimony would not be to believe the Logos of the woman who testified.[18]  However, it is clear that the people came to belief based on the Word of the woman and further developed a personal relationship with Jesus.  If viewed through a developmental lens, this is akin to children growing in their parent’s faith (that of the woman’s) and then developing their own expression and relationship with the divine Logos, Jesus.  This is a perfectly natural and expected chain of events that is encouraged by the Johannine theology of a personal relationship with Jesus.  However, this does not mean that they cast aside their parent, the Samaritan Woman.  It simply means that they have a new relationship with each other and with Jesus/Logos.

The Samaritan Woman has a unique relationship with Jesus that would preclude the idea of her role in the community ceasing.  The Samaritan Woman is the first person that Jesus says one of his ‘I AM’ statements.[19]  When the Samaritan Woman says, “I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Anointed; when he comes, he will tell us everything.”  Jesus said to her, “I AM he.”[20]  This is a major step forward in the self-revelation of God through the person of Jesus.  It is significant that it is said to the Samaritan Woman.  Examining the symbolism of the Samaritan Woman, whether representing an actual person or a community of people, we know that the chosen person/people that receive the self-revelation of Jesus/God are unclean and rejected by the religious elite establishment.  What does it say for the rejected and unclean person/people to be the first recipient of the Divine Logos’ self-revelation?

Another unique moment between Jesus and the Samaritan Woman is simply that they are together, alone.  There are only two times that Jesus is present in the Gospel of John without any of his disciples.  One is with the Samaritan Woman and the other is at the Garden of Gethsemane after his arrest.[21]  Why would the Samaritan Woman be alone with Jesus at the well?  It could very well be the set-up of the betrothal type scene, or it could be the betrothal scene combined with the idea that this is something more:  A betrothal between Jesus and Samaria, producing (replacing?) beloved children of God.  With the inclusion of this relationship between Jesus and the Samaritan Woman, we can be “fairly certain that the Johannine community had a significant Samaritan component.”  [22]  In this story, this betrothal, the Samaritan Woman becomes like Eve.[23]  Like “Eve, the mother of all life, [she] delivers life to the people of Samaria by introducing them to Jesus.”[24]  By acting as divine mother, she brings the Samaritans into relationship with the Logos and enables them to become children of God.  This is unique among all the disciples.

The Samaritan Woman’s unique relationship with Jesus gives her apostolic identification.[25]  It is, in fact, the possession of the Logos (δια tον λογον) that confers the apostolic identification upon the Samaritan Woman.  As C. K. Bartlett says, “to bear witness is the task of a disciple.  The woman joins with John the Baptist as witness, and in fact precedes the apostles.”[26]  It is through the Word of the woman who testifies that the Samaritans come to believe in Jesus.  Bartlett reinforces that “they could do no more when they heard Jesus’ own word.”[27]  She evangelizes the Samaritans.

By bringing the Word to the Samaritans, the woman becomes co-identified with Logos.  It is in the evangelizing process that she comes to “full faith”[28]  This “full faith” is reflective of the highest union possible with God.  This is limited only in so far as the Logos is manifested.[29]  All that is created, formed, generated between the woman and her cooperation with Logos is divine.[30]  She begins to bridge the gap between the divine Logos and the people of Samaritan, just as the Logos, in Jesus, bridges the gap between the Divine and all people.  She becomes the agent of Logos which is the historical role of Wisdom.[31]  Just as Wisdom “bridges the gap between human and divine,”[32] so does the Samaritan Woman and so does Logos.  Because of the Word of the woman who testifies, the people of Samaria believe in Jesus.  The Samaritan Woman transforms from what could be characterized as a “word without value” to “a word like ‘Jesus’ that saves.”[33]  The idea that simply because some of the townspeople do not need to rely upon the Samaritan Woman for their belief in Jesus that she has no role in the community is absurd.  There is an entire country of people to be evangelized.  And as the first apostle, the new Eve to the Samaritans, this Woman, co-identified with the Word, will be leading the way to enabling the Samaritans to develop their own, personal relationship with the Divine Logos.

Summary

By looking at the translation issues, the Logos and John, and the Logos and the Samaritan Woman, I have found several sticking points in historical presentations of the relationship between Logos and the Samaritan Woman.  The ramifications of taking the Logos away from the Samaritan Woman lie in who we are and who she is.

Platonism brought us the spheres of forms and particulars, in which forms (reason/soul) is privileged over the particulars (senses/body) of the world.  Western civilization has been struggling with body/soul dualism ever since.  It has pervaded our ideologies, theologies, and our treatment of people.  Reason has become the preferred way of being in the world while the body, senses, has been discarded or trampled upon.  In this system of being, “some” people become privileged over “other” people.  In the privileging of reason/soul over sense/body, it allows evils such as slavery to exist because there are no ramifications to the soul which is perceived as everlasting.  The body, as a temporary state, can be abused and discarded.

When we allow body/soul dualism, we allow objectification.  Objectification leads to disembodiment in the sense of the body as the unholy other.  When we are disembodied, we can no longer connect to creation.  When we are disembodied, we can no longer connect to the “other.”  When we are disembodied, we can no longer connect to ourselves.  We can neither connect to immanence or transcendence.  That leaves us in limbo.

But is this who people really are?  The divine incarnation of the Logos in Jesus affirms the holiness of all bodies.  It unites spirit and matter and makes them intrinsically related.  I cannot separate my body from my soul as all revelations I experience are felt and expressed in the body.  Humanity is embodied in a sacred manner:  One body/soul being—both immanent and transcendent.

This is perfectly modeled by the Samaritan Woman.  The Samaritan Woman achieves such a close relationship with the Logos that she can carry it to the people.  This leads to her full experience of faith and becoming both the first apostle and the new Eve to the Samaritan people.  This would not occur if she did not allow the Logos to become embodied within her, awakening her apostolic abilities.

The Logos, as an expression of God, is a complete part of the Samaritan Woman.  The Samaritan Woman is a complete part of the Logos.  This is a beautiful model of the incarnational aspect of the Holy Divine that lives within.  In God’s Logos, is the recognition that the Samaritan Woman, that people, that all of creation exist together (immanence) and yet God is so much more (transcendence).  God is the wellspring of life, the living water.  We are all each an incarnational piece of God’s cosmic creation.  The Samaritan Woman models to us this story explicitly.  The Logos is of the woman.  When we take the Logos away from her, we take the Logos away from all of us and return us to body/soul dualism that privileges “some” over “other.”

WORKS CITED

Barbara Brown Taylor. "Reflections on the Lectionary." Christian Century, February 12, 2008, 19.

C. K. Barrett. The Gospel According to John:  An Introduction with Commentary and notes on the Greek Text, Second Edition. London: SPCK, 1978.

Craig S. Farmer. "Changing Images of the Samaritan Woman in Early Reformed Commentaries on John." Church History 65, no. 3 (Spring 1996): 365-372.

David W. Wead. "The Johannine Double Meaning." Restoration Quarterly 2, no. 13 (1970): 106-120.

Derek Tidball. "Completing the Circle:  The Resurrection According to John." Evangelical Review of Theology 2, no. 30 (2006): 169-183.

E. Richard. "Expressions of Double Meaning and their Function in the Gospel of John." New Testament Studies 31 (1985): 96-112.

Eric May. "The Logos in the Old Testament." Catholic Biblical Quarterly 4, no. 8 (October 1946): 438-447.

Herman C. Waetjen. "Logos pros ton theon and the Objectification of Truth in the Prologue of the Fourth Gospel." The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 63, no. 2 (April 2001): 265-286.

Jane S. Webster. "Transcending Alterity:  Strange Woman to Samaritan Woman." In A Feminist Companion to John:  Volume 1, ed. Amy-Jill Levine with Marianne Blickenstaff, 126-142. New York: Sheffield Academic Press Ltd, 2003.

Janeth Norfleete Day. The Woman at the Well. Leiden; Boston; Koln: Brill, 2002.

Jerome H. Neyrey. "What's Wrong with this Picture?  John 4, Cultural Stereotypes of Women, and Public and Private Space." Biblical Theology Bulletin:  A Journal of Bible and Theology 24, no. 2 (Summer 1994): 77-91.

Peter Coad. "Grammar 1a: Noun." Great Treasures, 2008. http://blog.greattreasures.org/ (accessed March 12, 2011).

Raymond E. Brown. The Gospel and Epistles of John:  A Concise Commentary. Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1988.

Sandra M. Schneiders. Written That You May Believe. New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 2003.

Stephen S. Kim. "The Literary and Theological Significance of the Johannine Prologue." Bibliotheca Sacra, no. 166 (October-December 2009): 421-435.

Walter Bauer. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1979.

APPENDIX A

Translation of John 4:7-42 and comparison to NRSV (with my notes)

Verse My Translation NRSV Notes
7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water.  Jesus said to her, “Give me drink.” A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.”
8 For his disciples had gone to the city so that they may buy food. 8 (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.)
9 The Samaritan woman says to him, “How is it that you being a Jew, ask to drink, of me, the one who is a Samaritan woman? The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” The verb for drink is past tense infinitive.  Infinite verbs have the “to” at the front, i.e. to go, to drink.
10 Jesus answered and said to her:  “If you had known the gift of God, and somebody is the one saying to you:  “Give me drink,” you would have asked him and he would have given you life-giving water. Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” From C. K. Barrett, the gift of God is Torah. Living waters reference 1 Enoch where water is Wisdom (Sophia).
11 The woman says to him:  “Lord, you have nothing to draw water and the well is deep.  Where do you have the life giving water?” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water?
12 You are not greater than our father, Jacob who gave us the well and drank from it himself and his sons and his cattle?” Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it? Translations miss the no/not of the μὴ which prefaces this section.  It could be Are you not?  Or a way of speaking that is like a statement/ question.  μὴ is also a “marker of a question” per Louw-Nida.[34]
13 Jesus answered and said to her:  “each one who drinks of this water will thirst again. Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again,
14 But, whoever drinks of the water that I will give, no, he will not thirst eternally, but the water I will give him, the fountain of water will come springing up in him to life eternal. but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” γενήσεται   Future, middle (subject does the action and will be affected), active, indicative (it is).
15 The woman says to him:  “Lord, give me this water that I may not thirst, so I may not draw here.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”
16 He says to her: “Go call your husband (man) and come here.” Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.”
17 The woman said and answered: “I have no husband.”  Jesus says to her:  you answered well “I have no husband.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’;
18 “For you had five husbands and now the one you have is not your husband.  What you have said is true.” for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!”
19 The woman says to him:  “Lord, I see that you are a prophet.” he woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet.
20 “Our fathers worshipped in these mountains and y’all say that Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship”. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21 Jesus says to her:  “Woman, believe me, the hour comes soon .  Neither in the mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
22 “You worship the one you have not known, we worship one we have known because the salvation is from the Jews.” You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
23 “But the hour comes and it is now soon the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth and the Father desires such worshippers.” But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him.
24 “God is spirit and worshippers ought to worship in spirit and truth.” God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” πνεῦμα ὁ θεός is a push back against anthropormorphizing God[35]
25 The woman says to him:  “I have known that the Messiah comes, , the one who says he is Christ: when that person comes, he will reveal to us all things.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.” Barrett recommends reveal rather than proclaim.[36]
26 Jesus says to her:  “I AM the one speaking to you.” Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.”
27 And upon this came his disciples, and they were wondering that he was speaking with a woman.  However, nobody said:  “What are you looking for?” or “Why are you speaking with her?” Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are you speaking with her?”
28 The woman then left her waterpot and went to the city and she says to the people, Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people,
29 “Come, see the man who told me all I did.  Is this not the Christ?” “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?”
30 They went out of the city and they were coming to him. They left the city and were on their way to him.
31 In the meantime, the disciples were asking him, saying:  “Rabbi eat.” Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, “Rabbi, eat something.” Where do they get “something?”  This is the perfect betrothal scene meal set-up twist if that isn’t there!
32 But he said to them, I have meat (nourishment) to eat who you have not known. But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” I am inclined to go with the pronoun referencing a person rather than using “that.”  There are other words for “that.”  If it is kept a person, it further fits the betrothal type scene.  Also, meat could be thought of as nourishment.
33 Then the disciples were saying to one another, “Who brought him something to eat?” So the disciples said to one another, “Surely no one has brought him something to eat?”
34 Jesus said to them, “My nourishment is that I should do the will of the one who sent me and I should finish his work.” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work.
35 Do not say, “There are yet four months and the harvest comes?  Behold, I say to you, Lift up your eyes and see the land they are ripe for harvest now. Do you not say, ‘Four months more, then comes the harvest’? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting.
36 The reapers receives wages and gathers fruit for eternal life so that the sower and the reaper rejoices together. The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 
37 For in that the Word is true:  that one is the sower and one is the reaper. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’
38 I sent you to reap where you have not toiled.  Others have labored, and you have entered their labor.” I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”
39 In the city many of the Samaritans believed in him by the Word of the woman testifying that he told me all I did. Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.” This is much clearer in the Greek. τον λογον της γυναικος. Barrett only mentions “to bear witness” (testifying).[37]The woman is genitive (possessive).  The Word is in the accusative case so it is the direct object of the verb testify.  Also, testifying is μαρτυρουσης which is a participle in the genitive case.  There is no true verb in this phrase.  It is extremely disenheartening that of the NRSV, KJV, ESV, and the NIV all leave out Word.  The NASB uses Word but puts it into the genitive case.
40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they were asking him to live with them and he stayed there two days So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days
41 And many more believed the Word of him. And many more believed because of his word. Note:  This is the SAME case as the Word of the woman.  Why translate them differently?
42 They were saying to the woman that “No more do we believe because of your speech:  we have heard from him and know that this is truly the Savior of the world.” They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.”

APPENDIX B

References to Logos in John

1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth
2:22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.
4:37 Thus the saying (literally “the word) ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true.
4:39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony (literally the word of the woman), “He told me everything I ever did.”
4:41 And because of his words many more became believers.
4:50 Jesus replied, “You may go. Your son will live.”  The man took Jesus at his word and departed.
5:24 “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.
5:38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent.
6:60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching (literally word, not teaching.). Who can accept it?”
7:36 What (literally “what is this word?”) did he mean when he said, ‘You will look for me, but you will not find me,’ and ‘Where I am, you cannot come’?”
7:40 On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.”
8:31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching (literally abide/hold to my word), you are really my disciples.
8:37 I know you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word.
8:43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what (literally “hear the word of me”) I say.
8:51 I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.”
8:52 At this the Jews exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that if anyone keeps your word, he will never taste death.
8:55 Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word.
10:19 At these words the Jews were again divided. 20 Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?”
10:35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken
12:38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet.
12:48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. (Jesus speaking)
14:24 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching (literally “my word)”. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
15:3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.
15:20 Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.
15:25 But this is to fulfill what (literally the word that is written) is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.
17:6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.
17:14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.
17:17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
17:20 My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message
18:9 This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”
18:32 This happened so that the words Jesus had spoken indicating the kind of death he was going to die would be fulfilled.
19:8 When Pilate heard this (literally “this the words”), he was even more afraid, 9 and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer.
19:13 When Pilate heard this (literally “this the words”), he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha).
21:23 Because of this, the rumor (literally the word) spread among the brothers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”

[1] Peter Coad, "Grammar 1a: Noun," Great Treasures, 2008, http://blog.greattreasures.org/ (accessed March 12, 2011).

[2] Stephen S. Kim, "The Literary and Theological Significance of the Johannine Prologue," Bibliotheca Sacra, no. 166 (October-December 2009): 431.

[3] Eric May, "The Logos in the Old Testament," Catholic Biblical Quarterly 4, no. 8 (October 1946): 438.

[4] Stephen S. Kim, "The Literary and Theological Significance of the Johannine Prologue," Bibliotheca Sacra, no. 166 (October-December 2009): 424-425.

[5] Stephen S. Kim, "The Literary and Theological Significance of the Johannine Prologue," Bibliotheca Sacra, no. 166 (October-December 2009): 431.

[6] E. Richard, "Expressions of Double Meaning and their Function in the Gospel of John," New Testament Studies 31 (1985): 97.

[7] David W. Wead, "The Johannine Double Meaning," Restoration Quarterly 2, no. 13 (1970): 117-118.

[8] Stephen S. Kim, "The Literary and Theological Significance of the Johannine Prologue," Bibliotheca Sacra, no. 166 (October-December 2009): 424.

[9] Derek Tidball, "Completing the Circle:  The Resurrection According to John," Evangelical Review of Theology 2, no. 30 (2006): 171.

[10] Speak, say, testify

[11] Janeth Norfleete Day, The Woman at the Well (Leiden; Boston; Koln: Brill, 2002), 156.

[12] Jane S. Webster, "Transcending Alterity:  Strange Woman to Samaritan Woman," in A Feminist Companion to John:  Volume 1, ed. Amy-Jill Levine with Marianne Blickenstaff (New York: Sheffield Academic Press Ltd, 2003), 127.

[13] Herman C. Waetjen, "Logos pros ton theon and the Objectification of Truth in the Prologue of the Fourth Gospel," The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 63, no. 2 (April 2001): 276.

[14] Craig S. Farmer, "Changing Images of the Samaritan Woman in Early Reformed Commentaries on John," Church History 65, no. 3 (Spring 1996): 366.

[15] Craig S. Farmer, "Changing Images of the Samaritan Woman in Early Reformed Commentaries on John," Church History 65, no. 3 (Spring 1996): 369.

[16] Craig S. Farmer, "Changing Images of the Samaritan Woman in Early Reformed Commentaries on John," Church History 65, no. 3 (Spring 1996): 371.

[17] Jerome H. Neyrey, "What's Wrong with this Picture?  John 4, Cultural Stereotypes of Women, and Public and Private Space," Biblical Theology Bulletin:  A Journal of Bible and Theology 24, no. 2 (Summer 1994): 88.

[18] Janeth Norfleete Day, The Woman at the Well (Leiden; Boston; Koln: Brill, 2002), 173.

[19] Barbara Brown Taylor, "Reflections on the Lectionary," Christian Century, February 12, 2008, 19.

[20] Jn 4:25-26a

[21] Janeth Norfleete Day, The Woman at the Well (Leiden; Boston; Koln: Brill, 2002), 159.

[22] Sandra M. Schneiders, Written That You May Believe (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 2003), 102.

[23] Jane S. Webster, "Transcending Alterity:  Strange Woman to Samaritan Woman," in A Feminist Companion to John:  Volume 1, ed. Amy-Jill Levine with Marianne Blickenstaff (New York: Sheffield Academic Press Ltd, 2003), 139.

[24] Jane S. Webster, "Transcending Alterity:  Strange Woman to Samaritan Woman," in A Feminist Companion to John:  Volume 1, ed. Amy-Jill Levine with Marianne Blickenstaff (New York: Sheffield Academic Press Ltd, 2003), 139.

[25] Sandra M. Schneiders, Written That You May Believe (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 2003), 103.

[26] C. K. Barrett, The Gospel According to John:  An Introduction with Commentary and notes on the Greek Text, Second Edition (London: SPCK, 1978), 243.

[27] C. K. Barrett, The Gospel According to John:  An Introduction with Commentary and notes on the Greek Text, Second Edition (London: SPCK, 1978), 243.

[28] Raymond E. Brown, The Gospel and Epistles of John:  A Concise Commentary (Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1988), 38.

[29] Herman C. Waetjen, "Logos pros ton theon and the Objectification of Truth in the Prologue of the Fourth Gospel," The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 63, no. 2 (April 2001): 268.

[30] Herman C. Waetjen, "Logos pros ton theon and the Objectification of Truth in the Prologue of the Fourth Gospel," The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 63, no. 2 (April 2001): 270.

[31] Jane S. Webster, "Transcending Alterity:  Strange Woman to Samaritan Woman," in A Feminist Companion to John:  Volume 1, ed. Amy-Jill Levine with Marianne Blickenstaff (New York: Sheffield Academic Press Ltd, 2003), 128.

[32] Jane S. Webster, "Transcending Alterity:  Strange Woman to Samaritan Woman," in A Feminist Companion to John:  Volume 1, ed. Amy-Jill Levine with Marianne Blickenstaff (New York: Sheffield Academic Press Ltd, 2003), 128.

[33] Jane S. Webster, "Transcending Alterity:  Strange Woman to Samaritan Woman," in A Feminist Companion to John:  Volume 1, ed. Amy-Jill Levine with Marianne Blickenstaff (New York: Sheffield Academic Press Ltd, 2003), 141.

Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament : Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.). New York: United Bible societies.

[35] C. K. Barrett, The Gospel According to John:  An Introduction with Commentary and notes on the Greek Text, Second Edition (London: SPCK, 1978), 238.

[36] C. K. Barrett, The Gospel According to John:  An Introduction with Commentary and notes on the Greek Text, Second Edition (London: SPCK, 1978), 239.

[37] C. K. Barrett, The Gospel According to John:  An Introduction with Commentary and notes on the Greek Text, Second Edition (London: SPCK, 1978), 243.

4 comments

  1. Sam373 said on March 16, 2011
    This Is great. To think that God's Word or Logos is the power of God, The Holy Spirit that became (incarnate) as the the true son where as we are an image, or likness of what the Christ is and created us to be. The Logos is the perfect template. Jesus the Christ is the First man to emulate and imitate the Father as should we that are the Father's adopted. John explained in John 14:16-17, that this point can be comprehended only by those that have been reunited with God, the Holy Spirit. .. YOU R MIND BLOWING Cloaked Monk!!!
  2. Trisha said on March 17, 2011
    i share your spirit jane, even though not the knowledge, i prefer analyzing things instead of following them blindly.
  3. Lisa said on March 17, 2011
    I think this is a brilliant piece. Thank you.

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