John 4:27 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 4:27, NIV: "Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, 'What do you want?' or 'Why are you talking with her?'"

John 4:27, ESV: "Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?”"

John 4:27, KJV: "And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?"

John 4:27, NASB: "And at this point His disciples came, and they were amazed that He had been speaking with a woman, yet no one said, 'What are You seeking?' or, 'Why are You speaking with her?'"

John 4:27, NLT: "Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, 'What do you want with her?' or 'Why are you talking to her?'"

John 4:27, CSB: "Just then his disciples arrived, and they were amazed that he was talking with a woman. Yet no one said, "What do you want? " or "Why are you talking with her? ""

What does John 4:27 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jesus had sent the disciples into town to buy food earlier in the passage (John 4:8). The fact that He was alone was probably the only reason the Samaritan woman had approached the well. She might not have even known Jesus was there; in that time and place it would have been unwise for a woman to approach a group of strangers. While they were gone, Jesus opens up the truth to the woman, who responds immediately to what she has learned (John 4:28–30).

No matter how a person looks at it, this passage is embarrassing for the disciples. These men are the students of Christ, and they know Him better than anyone else. And yet, they have told no one about Jesus. They didn't bring a single person back to meet Jesus. Several verses from now, a large number of Samaritans from the town will come to see Him. But they will have been brought by a woman with a sinful reputation, of all people. This makes Jesus' description of the work of God all the more stinging.

In the disciples' defense, they are still very early in their travels with Jesus. Their Jewish culture despised the Samaritans for being half-breeds both in race and religion. And Jesus has not yet given them a command to spread the gospel to others. While being outdone in evangelism by a Gentile woman is awkward, it's not a great moral failure, either.

The verse also shows the immediate impression Jesus has made on His disciples. Even this early in their travels together, they are not openly questioning His actions. Virtually every detail of the prior passage was against cultural norms. Jesus was speaking to a woman, also a Samaritan, in a way that His culture considered inappropriate. But the disciples already know Jesus well enough to trust that He must have a good reason for what He is doing.