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©Kris Gerbrandt

Chapter 4:39-54 (ESV)

Posted on July 30, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 4:39-54 (ESV) - Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. 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 indeed the Savior of the world.”

After the two days he departed for Galilee. (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.) So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast.

So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.

Question to consider: Do you think the official’s faith was initially genuine? Why or why not?

From the faith that overflowed from the Samaritan woman like living water, many in the town believed her and came out to meet the one whom she called Messiah. They too overflowed with faith and many more believed. By the time that the deacon, Philip, came to Samaria in the book of Acts after the stoning of Stephen, he was able to baptize many in the region, and they received the Holy Spirit from the apostles Peter and John. As Jesus had told them after the visit with the Samaritan woman, “Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

It was not until this time that Peter began to realize that the good news of Christ was not just for the Jews but for the Samaritans and soon after, the Gentiles. Though John wrote of Jesus’ words to Nicodemus that His father loved the world such that He gave His only begotten Son, the scope of these words did not sink in for more than three years after Christ had ascended into heaven and was seated at the right hand of the Father.

Despite the fact that the Pharisees were anticipating the arrival of the Messiah, it was evident that they were more hesitant than the Samaritans to accept that Jesus was Him. It appears that when Jesus and the disciples made their way into Galilee from Samaria, they first visited Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth, but He had not been honored there so they continued north to Cana. This was where Jesus performed His first miraculous sign at the wedding feast, and He was welcomed for the other miracles that Jesus did while in Jerusalem during the Passover celebration.

An official came to Him from Capernaum, not out of faith but out of desperation. His son was about to die, and it is evident that the request was not done in faith, for Jesus pointed out that among the Jews, belief only seemed to come through signs and wonders. The fact that the official’s son was about to die demonstrated that he had exhausted all other resources before coming to Jesus, and it was only because of his son’s illness that he even sought Jesus out. 

Though he desired for Jesus to come back with him to Capernaum, the man accepted Jesus at His word that his son was healed. Of course, it is evident that his acceptance was tenuous because it wasn’t until he verified with his servants that his son was healed at Jesus’ word that he and his family believed.

John ended this bookend encounter in Cana stating that this miracle was the second sign of Christ. Jesus may have performed other miracles, but John saw Jesus healing by His word from a distance as another sign that He was God in flesh.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for accepting our imperfect and tenuous faith and meeting us where we are at. You are its author and perfecter, and we long for the day in which we are able to give You the honor and glory You deserve. Amen.