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Neither on This Mountain Nor in Jerusalem: A Study of John 4
Hendrikus Boers
Publication Date
January 1997


“The present study has two main parts. In the first A. J. Greimas’ semiotic theory is used to investigate the text of John 4, and in the second the results of the semiotic investigation are implemented in an interpretation of the chapter.” Based on his rigorous application of semiotic theory to the text of John 4, Boers concludes, “True worship of the Father is in the spirit, not in identifiable religious claims, ‘neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.’ And so the meaning of our passage becomes clear as the progress of revelation of Jesus as the savior of the world in two moves, first in Jesus’ encounter with the woman, repeated in his encounter with the villagers, manifested concretely in the villagers’ overcoming the divisiveness of their claim to true worship over and against that of the Jews. Jesus, the messiah, is neither the savior of the Samaritans nor of the Jews … but the savior of the world.… True worship, worship in the spirit, constitutes a community beyond all earthly religious communities, a community of worship in which all of humanity is united. That is what the villagers recognize; it is the point of the story.”