John 4:9 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 4:9, NIV: "The Samaritan woman said to him, 'You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?' (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)"

John 4:9, ESV: "The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)"

John 4:9, KJV: "Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans."

John 4:9, NASB: "So the Samaritan woman *said to Him, 'How is it that You, though You are a Jew, are asking me for a drink, though I am a Samaritan woman?' (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)"

John 4:9, NLT: "The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, 'You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?'"

John 4:9, CSB: ""How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman? " she asked him. For Jews do not associate with Samaritans."

What does John 4:9 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Samaritans were mostly hated by Jews for being religious and ethnic half-breeds. Men and women who were not related did not usually speak to each other in public. And Jews would never think to share utensils with an "unclean" Samaritan. Therefore, everything about Jesus request would be suspicious to this woman. Being alone, she probably would not have approached a crowd of strange men. But the disciples had left, and Jesus might have been sitting in a spot she couldn't see until she was close by.

Knowing all of this, it's easier to imagine the nervousness in her question. Some translations include the comment about Jews not having "dealings" with Samaritans as part of her response. Others treat that statement as a separate remark. John does frequently explain cultural ideas in this gospel, so either one is a possibility. Whether the woman said this out loud, or not, it was certainly implied.

Jesus' answer, seen in verse 10, probably surprised her, as well. Judging by her reaction, she seems more than capable of holding up her end of banter.