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John 4:3

ESV he left Judea and departed again for Galilee.
NIV So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
NASB He left Judea and went away again to Galilee.
CSB he left Judea and went again to Galilee.
NLT So he left Judea and returned to Galilee.
KJV He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.

What does John 4:3 mean?

Jesus is leaving Judea in order to avoid a confrontation with the Pharisees. Local religious leaders had felt the need to investigate John the Baptist (John 1:19), which eventually caused an argument (John 3:25). Now, Jesus' ministry is even more popular than John's (John 4:1). However, this is not the right time for a conflict with these men (John 2:4), so Jesus travels back to Galilee.

Samaritans were a half-Jew, half-Gentile tribe, both ethnically and religiously. As a result, they were despised by most Israelites (John 4:9). The shortest route from Jerusalem to Galilee is straight through Samaria. However, the more typical choice for Jewish travelers was to travel north only after passing east over the Jordan river, avoiding the Samaritans entirely. Just as Jesus is submissive to the Father's timing, He is also submissive to His plans. Therefore, verse 4 will indicate that Jesus "had to pass through Samaria." While this is not true in a literal geographical sense, what happens next proves that it was certainly necessary in the context of His mission.
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