J. S. Bertram.
In the night scene in John 3 we learn from the Lord Jesus that the door of entry into the Kingdom of God is completely barred to man even at his best, and that to come under the moral sway of God necessitates a new moral being, which as He shows is the prerogative of the Spirit to bring into being in and for man. Here the sovereignty and grace of the Spirit comes into view, "the wind bloweth where it listeth." In his fallen state, man could never at any time have a point of contact with God, "that which is born of the flesh is flesh, the natural man is not subject to the law of God neither indeed can be, so if he was to be suitable to God here he must be born anew; having another origin. The prophets spoke of it (Isaiah 44:3; Ezek. 36:25-27). The Lord confirmed the matter, "we speak that we do know." If man was incapable of apprehending the earthly side of things (i.e., new birth), he was much more so relative to heavenly things. From the outset, the Lord knew and accepted His rejection, and that of the Kingdom. In John 6 they would have made Him king to secure their own ease. Although the kingdom in manifestation is held over meantime, and it now has a moral bearing in which sphere the Authority and goodness of God are recognised. The thought of what is heavenly is now introduced, and such could only be brought to light by One who came down from heaven, and it was incumbent upon Him in view of such to take up the sin question, so He becomes the antitype of the brazen serpent. Sin must be judged and put away before eternal life could be offered, and in so doing a loving and giving God comes to light. For God so loved that He gave! The acceptance of such a testimony brings the individual into the possession of eternal life (this matter is developed in the succeeding chapters), the rejection of the testimony brings condemnation now, to say nothing of the future, which involves what is eternal. Verse 16 refers to God's love to the world in its widest sense but in verse 36 we read "The Father loveth the Son and hath given all things into His hand." It was true of Him here in manhood, but He could only function in the fulness of His commission consequent upon the cross, although what follows in John 4 gives a perfect sample of the present. As the Lord weary, with His journey, sat by Sychar's well (the possessor of all things) asks a drink from a woman of the city, and eager to dispense to her the bounty of heaven He said to 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." Marvellous! the Son in humiliation, the giver of living water; that would be in her a fountain of water springing up into eternal life, the water typifies the Spirit, the new power or spring of life resident in the believer; the power and capacity by which eternal life is now enjoyed: which is in the knowledge of the Father and the Son. This involves a new relationship maintained in righteousness (i.e., opposite to the woman's previous course), formative in its result bringing into correspondence to Christ. Thirst and dissatisfaction are unknown in the order, but we are apt to allow the things of earth to choke up the springing well as in Gen. 26. Her conscience is reached. The matter of worship is next introduced, and the Lord has something specific to say to her on that matter, that it neither appertains to Jerusalem nor Samaria. The hour was then present when the true worshipper must worship the Father in Spirit and according to the truth, so that the person in whom the Spirit dwells stands in relation to the Faith; the Spirit conducts such to the Father and worship is according to the truth, i.e., the revelation of the Father whom the Son makes known. "I will declare Thy name unto my brethren." Under Christ's leadership and in the Spirit's power we join in the singing which He leadeth, in the atmosphere of holy love, where the Father loves the Son; such is the measure of His love to us, the many sons, His brethren.
"Rise our heart and bless the Father,
Ceaseless song e'en here begun;
Endless praise and adoration
To the Father and the Son."