Verse 54. "This-second miracle" - The first miracle which Christ performed was in this same city of Cana, just after his baptism; and this second took place after his arrival here from Jerusalem, whence, we have seen, he was driven by the persecution raised against him by the scribes and Pharisees. By construing the word palin, again, with elqwn, he came, that confusion which is evident in the common version is entirely removed.
Bishop Pearce says: "It seems probable to me that John, when he wrote this verse, either joined the word palin to elqwn, as he had done in ver. 46, or meant that it should be so joined in the construction." John does not mention here the miracles which our Lord did at Capernaum on his first journey, chap. ii. 11, nor those which he did at Jerusalem on the feast of the passover. See chap. ii. 12; Luke iv. 23.
THERE are several particulars in the preceding history of the Samaritan woman which confirm the doctrine of a particular providence, and show how God manages the most common occurrences in order to accomplish the designs of his mercy and love.
The Gospel must be preached to the Samaritans: this is God's purpose; and in this case, the wrath of man is caused to praise him.
1. Christ finds it necessary to quit Judea because of the persecution raised up against him by the scribes and Pharisees, ver. 1-3. How worthy of admiration is that Divine providence that presses every thing into the accomplishment of its own designs! The doctors of Jerusalem oblige the saviour to leave their city; and a simple woman persuades all the inhabitants of a Samaritan city to open their gates and their hearts, and entreat the Redeemer of the world to enter in.
2. Christ must pass through Samaria, ver. 4. He was so situated in Judea that he could not reach Galilee except through Samaria, without taking a large circuit, which the necessities of the present case could not admit.
Thus, while he appears to fly only from the fury of his persecutors, he is in reality seeking the lost, and fully accomplishing the work he came into the world to perform.
3. Christ being weary finds it necessary to sit down to rest himself by Jacob's well, ver. 5, 6, spent with fatigue and hunger. How energetic was this fatigue? how active was this rest! Nothing can happen to Christ in vain-nothing can turn him out of the way of his mercy-his great work he continues to carry on, without the smallest interruption, where we would have thought it must have been necessarily suspended.
4. The disciples are obliged to go to the city to buy victuals, ver. 8, and Jesus was left alone. Even this circumstance was not only favourable to the conversion of the Samaritan woman, but even essentially necessary, as, without it, she could not have had that opportunity of conversing freely with our Lord; nor would it have been proper for him to have made that discovery of himself, in their presence, which we find he did during their absence. See the note on ver. 26.
5. The Samaritan woman is induced at that very time to go and draw water.
Even so small a circumstance as this becomes a necessary part in the economy of her salvation. There is not a circumstance in our life not an occurrence in our business, but God will make it subservient to our salvation, if we have a simple heart and a teachable spirit. The steps of a good man especially are ordered of the Lord; and, while he acknowledges his Maker in all his ways, he will direct all his steps. A proper consideration of this great truth will produce both confidence and humility.
6. But this blessed doctrine may be abused; for some may suppose that God always acts according to a fixed necessity, through which, whatsoever was, is, or will be, has had its existence, mode of being, operation, and direction, according to predetermined irrevocable laws. This system makes God himself the necessary agent of eternal fate, as it supposes him to be constantly employed in doing what eternal necessity obliges him to perform; and thus his infinite freedom is bounded or acted upon by uncontrollable necessity. Perdition is not farther from glory than necessitating decrees are from a particular and gracious providence, by which the means of salvation are placed within the reach of every human being.