John 4:1

When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,
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Alcuin of York

AD 804
The question is often asked, whether the Holy Spirit was given by the baptism of the disciples; when below it is said, The Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. We reply, that the Spirit was given, though not in so manifest a way as he was after the Ascension, in the shape of fiery tongues. For, as Christ Himself in His human nature ever possessed the Spirit, and yet afterwards at His baptism the Spirit descended visibly upon Him in the form of a dove; so before the manifest and visible coming of the Holy Spirit, all saints might possess the Spirit secretly. Our Lord left Judea also mystically, i.e. He left the unbelief of those who condemned Him, and by His Apostles, went into Galilee, i.e. Into the fickleness of the world; thus teaching His disciples to pass from vices to virtues. The parcel of ground I conceive to have been left not so much to Joseph, as to Christ, of whom Joseph was a type; whom the sun, and moon, and all the stars truly adore. To this...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Truly had the Pharisees’ knowledge that our Lord was making more disciples, and baptizing more than John, been such as to lead them heartily to follow Him, He would not have left Judea, but would have remained for their sake: but seeing, as He did, that this knowledge of Him was coupled with envy, and made them not followers, but persecutors, He departed thence. He could too, had He pleased, have stayed amongst them, and escaped their hands; but He wished to show His own example to believers in time to come, that it was no sin for a servant of God to fly from the fury of persecutors. He did it like a good teacher, not out of fear for Himself, but for our instruction. It may perplex you, perhaps, to be told that Jesus baptized more than John, and then immediately after, Though Jesus Himself baptized not. What? Is there a mistake made, and then corrected? . Or, both are true; for Jesus both baptized, and baptized not. He baptized, in that He cleansed: He baptized not, in that He dipped n...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
1. It is nothing new to your ears, beloved, that the Evangelist John, like an eagle, takes a loftier flight, and soars above the dark mist of earth, to gaze with steadier eyes upon the light of truth. From his Gospel much has already been treated of and discussed through our ministry, with the Lord's help; and the passage which has been read today follows in due order. What I am about to say, with the Lord's permission, many of you will hear in such wise that you will be reviewing what you know, rather than learning what you know not. Yet, for all that, your attention ought not to be slack, because it is not an acquiring, but a reviewing, of knowledge. This has been read, and we have in our hands to discourse upon this passage— that which the Lord Jesus spoke with the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well. The things spoken there are great mysteries, and the similitudes of great things; feeding the hungry, and refreshing the weary soul. 2. Now when the Lord knew this, when He had heard th...
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AD 735
He must needs pass through Samaria; because that country lay between Judea and Galilee. Samaria was the principal city of a province of Palestine, and gave its name to the whole district connected with it. The particular place to which our Lord went is next given: Then comes He to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar.
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Cornelius a Lapide

AD 1637
When therefore Jesus knew, &c. . . . than John , that Isaiah , than John had made and baptized, says S. Augustine (lib2 , de cons. Evang, c18), for John was now in prison. For these things had happened through the occasion of John"s imprisonment. For Jesus, knowing of John"s imprisonment, and fearing the envy and calumny of the Pharisees, who had already stirred up Herod against John , that they might not be the means of casting Himself also into prison through the instrumentality of Herod or Pilate, and put him to death before the time predetermined by the Father, prudently retired out of Judea into Galilee. See what has been said about this on Matt iv12. Although Jesus, &c. Both because Jesus was occupied in the greater works of preaching and Healing the sick; as Paul saith, "Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel" ( 1 Corinthians 1:17), also that He might show that the efficacy of His baptism was greater than that of John"s. See what has been said on iii32. He lef...

Glossa Ordinaria

AD 1480
The Evangelist, after relating how John checked the envy of his disciples, on the success of Christ’s teaching, comes next to the envy of the Pharisees, and Christ’s retreat front the them. When therefore the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard
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John Chrysostom

AD 407
He did it too to pacify the envy of men, and perhaps to avoid bringing the dispensation of the incarnation into suspicion. For had he been taken and escaped, the reality of His flesh would have been doubted. Christ Himself did not baptize, but those who reported the fact, in order to raise the envy of their hearers, so represented it as to appear that Christ Himself baptized. The reason why He baptized not Himself, had been already declared by John, He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Now He had not yet given the Holy Spirit: it was therefore fitting that He should not baptize. But His disciples baptized, as an efficacious mode of instruction; better than gathering up believers here and there, as had been done in the case of Simon and his brother. Their baptism, however, had no more virtue than the baptism of John; both being without the grace of the Spirit, and both having one object, viz. that of bringing men to Christ. Christ on withdrawing from Judea, joined th...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
He indeed baptized not, but they who carried the news, desiring to excite their hearers to envy, so reported. Wherefore then 'departed' He? Not from fear, but to take away their malice, and to soften their envy. He was indeed able to restrain them when they came against Him, but this He would not do continually, that the Dispensation of the Flesh might not be disbelieved. For had He often been seized and escaped, this would have been suspected by many; therefore for the most part, He rather orders matters after the manner of a man. And as He desired it to be believed that He was God, so also that, being God, He bore the flesh; therefore even after the Resurrection, He said to the disciple, Handle Me and see, for a spirit has not flesh and bones Luke 24:39; therefore also He rebuked Peter when he said, Be it far from You, this shall not be unto you. Matthew 16:22 So much was this matter an object of care to Him. 2. For this is no small part of the doctrines of the Church; it is the ch...

Tertullian of Carthage

AD 220
By the Apostle John, who says that "already many false prophets are gone out into the world "the fore-runners of Antichrist, who deny that Christ is come in the flesh. Withal, issued any such proclamation in favour of sinners; as when He permitted contact even with his own body to the "woman, a sinner"-washing, as she did, His feet with tears, and wiping them with her hair, and inaugurating His sepulture with ointment; as when to the Samaritaness-not an adulteress by her now sixth marriage, but a prostitute-He showed (what He did show readily to any one) who He was;

Theophilus of Antioch

AD 184
But after the sons of Jacob had desolated the city, by the slaughter of the Sychemites, Jacob annexed it to the portion of his son Joseph as we read in Genesis, I have given to you one portion above your brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword, and with my bow. This is referred to in what follows, Near to the place of ground which Jacob gave to his son Joseph. But why does the Evangelist make mention of the parcel of ground, and the well? First, to explain what the woman says, Our father Jacob gave us this well; secondly, to remind you that what the Patriarchs obtained by their faith in God, the Jews had lost by their impiety. They had been supplanted to make room for Gentiles. And therefore there is nothing new in what has now taken place, i.e.; in the Gentiles succeeding to the kingdom of heaven in the place of the Jews. He mentions our Lord’s sitting and resting from His journey, that none might blame Him for going to Samaria Himself, after He had forbidd...

Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
When God, the Lover of man, became flesh for our sake, the purpose of His every action was to bring benefit to us. So it is here: when He perceived that the Pharisees had heard of His fame and knew that this would incite them to envy, He departed into Galilee, thereby teaching us two things. First, that we should spare our enemies and try every means not to give cause for offense or envy; and second, that we should not throw ourselves into temptation foolishly and needlessly, but instead withdraw for a while until the anger of our enemies has abated. Although He had the power to withstand those who hated Him, even if they had rushed to attack, yet He withdrew from them so that His human nature and flesh would not seem to be an illusion. If He had continuously escaped from their midst, how much scope would this have given to the Docetists, the Manichees, Valentine, and the accursed Eutyches [heretics who denied the fulness of Christ's human nature]? The Evangelist alludes to the slander...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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