Copyright 1990
Revised March 1992 & November 1994


o Was Jesus a Jew? Where does Salvation come from?
o First, a synopsis of John 4:5-26
o Mandatory considerations for a correct understanding
o Why did Jesus use "We"?
o In Spirit and in Truth
o Is Salvation from the Jews?
o Origin of the word "Jew"
o Who were the Judeans?
o Jesus would not walk in "Jewry"
o Antithesis of Christianity
o Was Jesus a Jew?
o The Lion out of Judah
o Some current considerations

     In the 4th chapter of the Gospel according to the Apostle John we find the record of some astounding teachings of Jesus. In his conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well near the town of Sychar, he made it plain that salvation was very different in character from that which the Jews had been teaching the people. But he also said that salvation is of the Jews. This makes the passage puzzling in the English language, and it needs careful study if it is to be correctly understood, as we shall see.


     Why is it so important to understand this particular portion of the Bible? Although it is important to understand all of the Bible, this passage is of special significance because of the current opinion among many that Christianity arose out of Judaism, that there exists a Judeo-Christian value system, that Jews have their own covenant with God which circumvents the atonement of Jesus Christ, and that the United States have a special obligation to the religious-political state of Israel. In short, a correct understanding of this Scripture helps to place the above issues in their proper perspectives.

     I'm faced with the nearly impossible task of making this clear to differing groups, to those who have little desire to study details, and also to those who demand a more scholarly explanation. I hope my presentation will meet the needs of everyone. For those who dislike details, please make an effort to "hang in there": I believe the results will be worth while.

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     Verses 5-6: Jesus and his disciples traveled from Judea in the south to Galilee in the north, and stopped on the way at a water well outside of Sychar, a town in Samaria.

     Verses 7-8: A Samaritan woman came to the well for water. Jesus asked her for a drink.

     Verse 9: The woman wondered why Jesus talked to her because she perceived he was a Jew, and Jews shunned Samaritans.

     Verse 10: Jesus told her that if she knew the gift of God and who was speaking to her, she would ask him for living water.

     Verses 11-12: The woman didn't comprehend what he meant. She noted that he had no container with which to draw water, and besides, did he think he was greater than her forefather Jacob who dug the well and drank from it?

     Verses 13-14: Jesus told her that the water from the well would not satisfy thirst indefinitely, but the living water he gave would produce eternal life.

     Verse 15: The woman still didn't comprehend, but was eager for such water that would prevent her having to come back to the well repeatedly. She wanted to reduce her work load.

     Verses 16-18: Jesus told her to fetch her husband, but she confessed she had no husband, whereupon Jesus acknowledged she told the truth, for she had lived with five men and the present one was not her husband.

     Verses 19-20: The woman immediately perceived that Jesus was a prophet because he knew the intimate details of her life. Defensively, she then appealed to her religion and her forefathers, contrasting her beliefs with those of the Jews who worshiped at Jerusalem, and ascribing to Jesus the religious beliefs of the Jews.

     Verses 21-24: Jesus disavowed his connection with either Jewish worship at Jerusalem or Samaritan worship at Gerizim, and said the hour was near when no one would worship at either place. He said she didn't comprehend what she worshiped, and that "we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews." He said the hour had come when true worshipers would worship God in spirit and in truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. He said God is spirit, therefore whoever worships him must worship in spirit and in truth.

     Verse 25: The woman said she knew Messiah was coming and he would show them all things.

     Verse 26: Jesus then told her that he was the Messiah.

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     A superficial reading of this passage of John's Gospel will not suffice to render a correct interpretation. We must study it carefully.

     In verse 9 the Bible doesn't state that Jesus was a Jew. The woman assumed he was a Jew. We're not told why she assumed this; perhaps it was because she knew he was traveling from Judea to Galilee. The Bible often records the statements and opinions of the people in it, but their statements are not necessarily true unless the text is clear that God agrees with them, or that the statement is from Him. An obvious example of this is when Caiaphas the High Priest accused Jesus of blasphemy (Matt. 26:65). His statement was untrue.

     Note also in verse 9 that the Bible doesn't say that the Samaritans hated the Jews, but that the woman said the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans. The Old Testament and history tell us that the Samaritans were a mixture of the tribes of Israel with outsiders and that is why the Jews shunned them. It was primarily the Jews who were the snobs, although the Samaritans were not guiltless. It is obvious that Jesus was not snobbish. He was not only passing through their land which the Jews avoided, he was also conversing with one of them, another act forbidden by the Jews. This clearly indicates that Jesus did not practice the religion of the Jews in this matter.

     Verse 10: Jesus initiated a "witnessing" situation in which he offered universal salvation to the woman. He was doing his Father's business by giving an open invitation to a non-Jew to become a child of God. He was contradicting everything the Jews believed about Messiah.

     Verses 11-12: The Samaritan woman considered herself a descendant of Jacob who was the patriarch of all the 12 Tribes of Israel. She thought of Jacob as a great man. She considered herself to be as true to the laws of Moses as the Jews, maybe more so. She was partly correct, for the Samaritans did not practice Rabbinism as the Jews did.

     Verses 13-14: Jesus was teaching with metaphors, figures of speech. Living water obviously meant eternal life. He was giving her the gospel of salvation message. Like the Roman Centurion whose servant needed healing (Matt. 8:5-13) and the Canaanite woman whose daughter needed healing (Matt. 15:21-28), Jesus demonstrated throughout his ministry that salvation was available to anyone, not just to Jews. He found great faith among some non-Jews.

     Verse 15: The Samaritan woman dwelt on worldly things, not understanding that Jesus talked to her of spiritual things. God's primary concern is with our spiritual condition, but the Samaritan woman repeatedly focused on her worldly desires. You and I often do the same.

     Verses 16-18: The woman was an adulteress but Jesus did not condemn her for that. He was truthful and firm, but kind. This again tells us that he was not a Jew because the Jews, according to the Bible, were exclusivists. They would not have talked to the Samaritan woman, much less have offered her kindness and salvation. Remember the account of the good Samaritan, recorded at Luke 10:30-36.

     Verses 19-20: Because Jesus obviously knew the woman's sins, she at once acknowledged him as a prophet, but human nature being what it is, she retreated defensively into her own mind-set, i.e., that her religion was just as good as the Jewish religion. She inferred that Jesus was like all other Jews, demanding that she worship at Jerusalem.

     Verses 21-24: Did Jesus demand that she conform to Judaism by worshiping at Jerusalem? No, he did not. Instead, he told her that all true worshipers of God would soon worship him in spirit and truth and that no true believer would worship at either Jerusalem or at Gerizim (the Samaritan place of worship).

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     Why did Jesus use the plural "we" in v.22? It is important that we turn to John 3:11 and 14:23 for similar situations. In John 3:11, for example, he was talking to Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. Nicodemus had asked how he could be born again, where-upon Jesus said, "...I say unto thee, WE speak that WE do know, and testify that WE have seen; and ye receive not OUR witness." (Emphasis added) He used the plural four times, and the situation is closely parallel to the one with the Samaritan woman. His use of we was much like our editorial we. I conclude that he meant his Father God and Himself.

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     What does it mean to worship God in spirit and truth? For this answer we go to the two great commandments given by Jesus: Love God genuinely and thoroughly (and strive to bring our characters into line with his); and Love our neighbors as ourselves (Matt. 22:37-40), i.e., treat others as we would like to be treated, commensurate with the principles of the New Testament. This is the worship that God is seeking. Jesus gave this message to the Samaritan woman and the people of Sychar. He didn't tell her to go to Jerusalem and worship with the Jews; there is no record that he told her to seek out some synagogue to attend. The Jews wouldn't have received her anyway, and he knew that the temple at Jerusalem would be destroyed a few years hence (Matt. 24:2). The change from old covenant to new covenant was now being implemented.

     The Samaritan woman and many residents of the town became Christians. Jesus stayed with them two days and taught them.

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     Now let's back up a bit and deal with that troublesome clause in verse 22:".. for salvation is of the Jews." (KJV)

     Considering the whole context thus far, did Jesus promote Judaism? It is clear that he didn't. If he didn't promote Judaism, how could salvation be of the Jews? We just learned that he told the woman of Samaria that he was the Messiah, the Living Water. Wouldn't it be a contradiction for him to tell her that in him was salvation and then turn right around and tell her that salvation was of the Jews? We know that at another time he said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh to the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) What, then, is our answer? The answer will be found by understanding the New Testament as an integrated whole, relevant history, and the language of this passage.

     The preposition of in the KJV ("salvation is of the Jews"), or the preposition "from" in some other translations, does not accurately reflect the Greek. The Greek language was far more specific when prepositions were used. For example, "from" in English could mean that a person walked from the house, but we wouldn't know whether the person was in the house and walked out of it, or standing near the outside wall and walked away from it. That's not true of the Greek. In the Greek we would know exactly what happened if the Greek preposition "ek" (1) were used; the person would have been inside the house and walked out of it, for "ek" means "out of". And that's the preposition used by the Apostle John when he recorded Jesus' saying that salvation is "out of" the Jews. I will return to this later.

(1) Please note that "--" signifies the Greek symbols. We didn't know how to put them in the computer document. We are sorry for the inconvenience and will remedy the problem when we figure out how. . . --BeWISE

     However, knowledge about this preposition is insufficient for a complete answer to the problem. The next language barrier is the word "Jews". This may come as a surprise to many, but it is impossible for Jesus to have used the word "Jews", for the simple reason that the word did not exist in his time. It didn't arrive on the scene of history until the Greek and Latin were translated into English hundreds of years later, and then it had to evolve into its present form. Here's how it happened:

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     The English word "Jew" evolved phonetically from the prefix "iou" of the Greek word "ioudaioz" which means "Judean". This prefix is pronounced "you". The alphabet of New Testament Greek does not contain the letter "J", and the English alphabet had no "J" prior to the 14th century, and it wasn't predominantly used until the 17th century. The King James Bible in 1611, for example, used the word "Iudea", not our present "Judea", and it was pronounced "you-dee-a".(2) The "J" evolved later from the "I" by placing the curl on the bottom and the dot or horizontal line over the top in certain font styles.

(2) The accent was probably placed on the second syllable.

     Some of the early English forms of the word Jews were: "Iues, "Ioues", "Iuus", "Iuwis", and "Iewes". These were all pronounced with the sound of "you" in the prefix. We can see that the word "Jew" came only from the prefix of the Greek "ioudaioz". Since the word "Jew" did not exist at the time of the writing of the New Testament (it's an English concoction), and we know that it means "Judean", we need to know who the Judeans were.

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     Judeans were inhabitants of southern Canaan,(3) the area called Judea (Judaea) where Jerusalem and the temple were located. Judea is the same as "Judah", and Judah was the tribe of Israel that was allocated that geographical area when all twelve tribes conquered the inhabitants of Canaan about 1400 B.C. The patriarch of the tribe was the fourth son of Jacob, who was the son of Isaac, and Isaac was the son of Abraham. Jacob, who had been renamed Israel (Gen. 32:28) had twelve sons each of whom was the patriarch of a tribe of Israel, each of which received a portion of the land of Canaan. God had already planned that the LEGAL (4) lineage of Messiah would be through Judah, for in Gen. 49:10 Moses wrote:
"The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be."
(3) Canaan later became known as Palestine.
(4) "Legal" lineage as opposed to "genetic" lineage.

     The Tribe of Judah was the largest of the twelve and the most influential. It had the place of leadership. God simply said that it would continue in this position until Shiloh, the Messiah, came. Messiah would then take the leadership and receive the allegiance of the people. We know that Jesus' LEGAL lineage was traced back to David, Judah, Jacob and thence to Abraham, and those who believed on him as the Messiah gave him their allegiance in fulfillment of the prophecy quoted above. He took the sceptre from Judah.

     At the time of Christ's ministry not all of the citizens of Judea were descended from Judah. Many were descendants of Esau who was Judah's uncle. However, they had submitted to circumcision about 130 B.C., consequently becoming co-religionists with the Judahites, who by then were practicing Rabbinism which had been developed during the exile in Babylon. Judeans (today called Jews), therefore, were those who practiced the religion with which Jesus clashed. THIS IS CRITICAL INFORMATION, for on this hangs the understanding of the difference between Hebrews, Israelites and Jews, and the difference between the Mosaic law and the Talmud. It also helps to dispel the ignorance about the promises to Abraham and the inheritance of the land of Palestine. Rabbinism was, and is, a conglomeration of Old Testament misinterpretation, Babylonian mysticism, and human rationalizations. It is referred to in the New Testament as the "tradition of the elders" (Matt. l5:1-3),(5) and is known today as Talmudism, or Judaism. Its rulers were entrenched at Jerusalem in Judea at the time of Jesus.

(5) Rodkinson, "The History of the Talmud" p.70.

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     We see in the King James Version (John 7:1) that Jesus would not walk in "Jewry" any longer because the Jews sought to kill him:
"After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him."
     The English word "Jewry" in this verse was translated from the Greek word "-------" which is feminine for the land of Judea. Modern translations no longer use the word "Jewry" they use the correct translation, "Judea". Here is the New American Standard Bible (NASB):
"And after these things Jesus was walking in Galilee; for He was unwilling to walk in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill Him."
     The "New International Version" (NIV) uses the same word. However, these translations continue to use the word "Jews" later in the same verse. To be consistent they should have translated thus:
"...he was unwilling to walk in Judea, because the Judeans ["--------" (plural)] were seeking to kill him."
     This simply means that those who practiced the religion headquartered at Jerusalem wanted to kill Him. Actually, the king James translators had the right idea. They recognized that the word "Jewry" meant the religion of the Judeans.

     In our time most people think of the Jews as the people of Israel, but that's not correct. An Israelite was one who had descended from Jacob and who practiced the moral, civil, and ritual laws given by God to Moses. In Jesus' time individual Jews may or may not have descended from Jacob, but they practiced Rabbinism. Jesus fulfilled all things given by God to Moses, whereas the Jews held on to the shell only.

     In a yet truer meaning we could render that portion of John 7:1 this way:

"...he was unwilling to walk in Judea, because the Rabbinate was seeking to kill him."

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     Today, the term "Jews" should denote those who adhere to the TALMUD, the bible of Rabbinism, although many who claim to be Jews are secularists. In any case, the beliefs of Jewish leaders are the antithesis of true Christianity. We can see this antithesis operating from ancient times right up to the present. For example, Gershon Mamlak, in the June/July 1989 issue of "Midstream", a Jewish publication, praised Caiaphas the High Priest and his colleagues for condemning Jesus. He said,
"Their rejection of Jesus' teaching is one of the glorious episodes of Jewish history."(6)
(6) "The Two Trials of Jesus, pp 29-32

     This statement by Mamlak might be construed as genocidal Christian-bashing, the reverse of what Jewish leaders think is "anti-Semitism". If someone were to say that Hitler's rejection of the Jews was one of the glorious episodes of "Gentile" history, the Jewish community and the mass media would light up with the spirit of vengeance. An apology would be demanded and probably received, just as in the case of the Rev. Bailey Smith of Oklahoma, who several years ago said that God does not hear the prayers of Jews. He became unbearably controversial; the media just wouldn't let it rest. He finally recanted and "joined" them.

     Probably most Jews depend upon their rabbis for knowledge of the Talmud and its meaning, just as most Christians, unfortunately, depend upon their pastors and other teachers for explanations of the Bible. And it is certainly true that practically all Christians are ignorant of Rabbinism, Talmudism, Judaism. This is why they still think of Jews as the people of Israel and vice versa.

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     We are now prepared to ask the vital question: Was Jesus a Jew? Given the above historical and Biblical evidences and current Jewish opinions, it is impossible for Jesus to have been a Jew. Add to that the fact that he was born without a human father, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit in a virgin,(7) we can see the absurdity and blasphemy of calling Jesus a Jew, or in believing that Christianity emerged from Judaism. It is also a mistake to believe that Jews are a race (by anthropological criteria),(8) even though many of them believe that one must be born of a Jewish mother (the liberals now say father also) in order to be a Jew. In reality, the Jewish community is composed of religious factions and secularists within a more or less pluralistic, though cooperative culture.

(7) Jewish leaders and friends are once again openly calling Jesus an illegitimate child. The Westar Institute of Sonoma, California and its Jesus Seminar are rehashing distortions that were long ago laid to rest. See the Press-Democrat of Santa Rosa, California, Oct. 14, 1994, p.B2.
(8) For example, see Arthur Koestler's "The Thirteenth Tribe", chap.8.

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     Let us return now to our question: did salvation come from the Jews? What did Jesus mean when he made that statement?

     First, look at Matt. 2:6:

"And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda [Judah], art not the least among the princes of Juda [Judah]: for *OUT OF* thee shall come a Governor; that shall rule my people Israel." (Emphasis added)
     Matthew quoted from Micah 5:2 in the Old Testament which was a Messianic prophecy:
"And thou, Bethlehem, house of Ephratha, art few in number to be reckoned among the thousands of Juda [Judah]; yet out of thee shall one come forth to me, to be a ruler of Israel; and his goings forth were from the beginning, even from eternity." (From the Greek O.T.)
     This shows that the Old Testament predicted that Christ (Messiah) would come out of Bethlehem of Judah. The expression "out of" is translated from the Greek preposition "--" just as John used it to record Jesus' conversation with the Samaritan woman. Messiah, our salvation, was to come out of the land of Judah. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem and the magi came searching for him, King Herod inquired of the chief priests and scribes about the birth place of Messiah. They told him that the prophet Micah had predicted that it would be Bethlehem. That's why Herod then had all the male infants in Bethlehem killed who were two years old and under.

     Now look at Heb. 7:14:

"For it is manifest that *OUT OF* Juda [Judah] has sprung our Lord..." (Emphasis added)
     Finally, the "Apocalypse of Jesus Christ"(9) refers to him as the Lion *OUT OF* the Tribe of Judah (Rev. 5:5). He is the One who triumphed over Satan and death, the One who will return to judge the world. With all these facts in mind, the only reasonable conclusion I can reach regarding Jesus' conversation with the Samaritan woman is that in reality he was saying to her:
You don't understand what you worship, but we (Father and Son) understand, because salvation comes *OUT OF* Judah. I AM THE LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH, THE MESSIAH WHO WAS FORETOLD BY THE PROPHETS. I WILL GIVE YOU ETERNAL LIFE IF YOU BELIEVE ON ME.
(9) Better known as the Book of the Revelation.

     I believe that anyone who studies these Greek Scriptures in the Gospels of John and Matthew, knowing that they link with Old Testament predictions, and who will also link them to the Book of the Revelation, will see that this makes sense and avoids contradiction and confusion. It is faithful to the Old and New Testaments, to the Greek and English languages, and to history. It shows that salvation came out of Judah in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, and not from the Jews. And if one will reflect carefully on it, it explains many religious, political, and social errors of our time.

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     There has been an enormous onslaught of DISinformation fed to the public about the "special status" of Jews. The nation's foreign policy in the Middle East has been dominated by special consideration for the Jews. Billions of dollars of our taxes have been used to support "Israel", in spite of the unconstitutionality of doing so. Such support is unconstitutional because our government is not supposed to favor one religion over another.

     It is terribly ironic that Christians have been forced to support the Rabbinic religion and the atheists of "Israel", while our own children were for many years barred from religious meetings on the campuses of our public schools. This condition has come about largely due to the efforts of Jewish organizations in America.(10) The anti-Christ system has been quite successful in molding public opinion via the mass media. Although Hollywood has been the worst offender over the years, currently we see many TV productions such as "scientific" documentaries, "historical" docudramas and others which also miseducate the public and help to form mistaken opinions.

(10) See Ginn, Gordon, "The Political Suppression of Religious Expression", The National Justice Foundation, Sacramento, N/D.

     Much propaganda is placed right in the scripts of entertainment programs where people least expect it, and cultural patterns and mannerisms exert strong influence on the viewers. Thus they are brainwashed. Sadly, Christians are not immune to this deception. Matt. 24:24 tells us that Satan will, if he can, deceive even the elect. We see telltale evidence of this deception not only in the Christian community's overt acts, but also in its unconscious habits, even sometimes in the casual remarks of ministers and television preachers. Many of them have "bought" error from the world via its mass media, and have rejected truth from unpopular sources. I've known of evangelical churches to enthusiastically invite anti-Christ personalities to speak from their pulpits, while rejecting genuine Christians who wanted to present the historic views of the Christian Church.

     Especially disturbing is the increasingly popular claim that Jesus was an illegitimate child. This is the Jewish Talmudic view. Recently, Jane Schaberg, a feminist instructor at the University of Detroit Mercy, a Jesuit school, spoke to the Jesus Seminar(11) of Sonoma, California, a group that has eliminated 80% of the words attributed to Jesus in the Gospels. Interestingly, her Jesuit school has a Jewish studies program offering ten courses for credit taught by Jewish rabbis. One course is titled "Jesus and Judaism", and the course description states: "Judaism was the religion of Jesus..." This kind of propaganda is indicative of the success of Talmudism, the ancient and continuing foe of Christians. Numerous Bible passages such as Daniel 7:25, II Peter 3:3-10, Jude 1:6-18, and Revelation 17:3-18:21 describe Christ's enemies and admonish us to:

"Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." (Rev. 18:4)
(11) The Press-Democrat, Oct. 14, 1994.

     Many Christians have succumbed to some of those sins, one of which is regurgitating such DISinformation, or being silent about truth that might hurt their reputations. They shun some of their brethren who are telling the truth because those brethren are thought to have spiritual, social or political halitosis.

     This was written in defense of Christian beliefs, not as a polemic against Jews or Judaism. Only God can judge the human heart. But because Jewish leaders and their friends are getting bolder in their attempts to neutralize or destroy Christianity, Christians must be alerted and given tools to combat this trend. Our forbears defended the faith vigorously and we should do no less. I hope the reader will see the intense importance of this information and will actively help to distribute it.

     May God in His mercy direct our paths. May we assign the proper attributes and praise to our Lord Jesus Christ!

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