John 4:10 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 4:10, NIV: "Jesus answered her, 'If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.'"

John 4:10, ESV: "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.”"

John 4:10, KJV: "Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water."

John 4:10, NASB: "Jesus replied to her, 'If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who is saying to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.'"

John 4:10, NLT: "Jesus replied, 'If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.'"

John 4:10, CSB: "Jesus answered, "If you knew the gift of God, and who is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would ask him, and he would give you living water.""

What does John 4:10 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

One of the core principles involved in evangelism is the idea of "felt need." In short, a person can't act to correct a problem they don't know they have! Here, Jesus is introducing the woman to the fact that she has a spiritual thirst which needs to be satisfied. Later in the conversation, Jesus will be far more direct about the woman's sin (John 4:16–18).

While this conversation reads like a summary, rather than a word-for-word transcript, Jesus' reply is still odd. When a strange man asked her for a drink, all alone, she probably wondered what His intentions were. His answer was almost certainly not what the woman was expecting to hear. Remarkably, some of her answers during the rest of the conversation are pointed and witty, even sarcastic. Jesus' demeanor probably helped to ease her mind, even if she was still unsure of who He was, or what He was talking about.

Jesus will again refer to the idea of "living water" later in this gospel (John 7:38–39). In both contexts, this is imagery suggesting the Holy Spirit.