John 4:2 Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples
The Joseph Smith Translation corrects this phrase to read, 'The Lord...himself baptized not so many as his disciples; For he suffered them for an example, preferring one another' (JST Jn. 4:3-4).
Joseph Fielding Smith
"'Question: Did Jesus himself baptize or did he only instruct his apostles and have them baptize?'
"Answer: The fact is well-established that our Savior held all the keys and authority of the priesthood, and had the divine right to officiate in each and all of the ordinances of the gospel; nor was it beneath his dignity to administer in any capacity whatsoever he desired. Much of his time was taken in administering to the sick, giving eyesight to the blind, raising the dead, healing lepers, and bestowing blessings upon the multitudes who thronged around him. There can be little question as to his authority to do any work that pertained to his ministry. In the third chapter of John, it states definitely that he baptized. In the fourth chapter, as it has come through faulty translations, it states that he did not baptize, or implies as much in most modern translations." (Answers to Gospel Questions, 5 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957-1966], 3: 42.)
John 4:4-5 he must needs go through Samaria
"The shorter road from Judaea to Galilee led through Samaria (Jos. Life 52); and this...was generally taken by the Galileans on their way to the capital. On the other hand, the Judaeans seem chiefly to have made a [detour] through Peraea, in order to avoid hostile and impure Samaria...Such prejudices in regard to Samaria, as those which affected the ordinary Judaean devotee, would, of course, not influence the conduct of Jesus." (Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, [Hendrickson Publishers, 1993], 273)
Bruce R. McConkie
"...this 'road was proverbially unsafe for Jewish passengers, either returning from Jerusalem or going to it, for it passed through the border districts where the feuds of the two rival peoples raged most fiercely. The paths among the hills of Akrabbim, leading into Samaria, had often been wet with the blood of Jew or Samaritan, for they were the scene of constant raids and forays. . . . The pilgrims from Galilee to the feasts were often molested, and sometimes even attacked and scattered, with more or less slaughter; each act of violence bringing speedy reprisals from the population of Jerusalem and Judea, on the one side, and of Galilee on the other; the villages of the border districts, as most easily reached, bearing the brunt of the feud, in smoking cottages, and indiscriminate massacre of young and old.' (Geikie, p. 361.)
"Why, then, did Jesus feel compelled to go through Samaria?...We must conclude, however, that Jesus, though merely en route to Galilee for a greater work, chose to utilize his time and to bear witness of his divinity to the Samaritans." (The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979-1981], 1: 494.)
John 4:9 How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria
"How natural it would have been for others to turn from such a one in disgust. She was a woman; Jews of that age had no more conversation with women than necessary. She was a sinner, a woman who, having had five husbands, was now living with a man not her husband; Levitical law makes deadly clear how Jewish society regarded that.
"Most damning, she was a Samaritan. Today, it's hard to comprehend what that meant. Alfred Edersheim, the nineteenth century Jewish/Christian scholar, in his excellent book Life and Times of Jesus, describes the Samaritan condition:
"'Samaria, the area between Judea and Galilee, was inhabited by foreigners after Israel was taken captive. When the Jews returned from captivity in Babylon, they refused to have anything to do with the idolatrous racial mixture in Samaria. Centuries of bitterness followed.
"'The Samaritans built a rival temple, repudiating all connection with Israel and dedicating their temple to Jupiter. While the Jews agonized under the Roman heel, the Samaritans prospered, even selling many Jews into slavery and waylaying and killing Jewish pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem.
"The Jews retaliated, Edersheim recounts, by treating the Samaritans with every mark of contempt, accusing them of falsehood and irreligion, disowning them as to race or religion. To the Jews, Shechem, the Samaritan capital, was 'the city of fools, derided by all men.' To partake of Samaritan bread was like eating the flesh of swine.
"Heir to this bitter history, Jesus faced the woman who had scorned Him. Forgetting His thirst, ignoring centuries of hatred and mistrust, He taught and loved.
"...So to this common, ignorant, sinful Samaritan woman, of all people, He for the first time revealed Himself, in plainness, to be the promised Messiah. With her and her people he spent two days, seeking to give to them the living water that springs up into eternal life. And many of these despised people believed and recorded their plain and simple testimony that this was the Christ, the Savior of the world.
"Can nations and races and individuals not learn from that divine example: That while we properly hold to convictions of who and what is right, there is a higher truth. It is that we are all brothers, that God loves us all. We are more alike in our longing for peace and safety and dignity than we are different.
"Jesus' treatment of the despised Samaritans with love and compassion opened the way for a rich harvest of souls who joined His followers in brotherhood in later years. Can we not follow Him?" (William B. Smart, Messages for a Happier Life: Inspiring Essays from the Church News [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1989], 139-140.)
John 4:10 thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water
Christ's living waters have both figurative and literal applications. The figurative meaning will be discussed later. During the Millenium, literal pools of living water will spring forth to transform the desert into a garden (DC 133:29; Isa 35:7). From the temple in Jerusalem, a river of living water will flow eastward and heal the Dead Sea (Ezek. 47; Joel 3:18). Finally, after the earth has been celestialized, there will be no temple (Rev. 21:22), but a river of living water will spring forth from the very throne of God-'a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal...and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations...And the Spirit and the bride say, Come...Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely' (Rev. 22:1,2,17)
Spencer J. Condie
"When Jesus encountered the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well, the Savior said that if she knew who He was, she would have asked a drink of Him who would be able to give her living water which would be 'a well of water springing up into everlasting life' (John 4:5-14).
"In his vision of the Lord's second coming Zechariah foresaw that the Savior shall stand upon the Mount of Olives and 'living waters shall go out from Jerusalem: half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea' (Zech. 14:8). Of this same event, Ezekiel prophesied that these living waters would 'go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters [of the Dead Sea] shall be healed. ... And every thing shall live whither the river cometh.' (Ezek. 47:8-9.)
"These dual prophecies are profound not only in their geographical and geological implications but also because of their metaphorical promise. Of all the places on earth, the Dead Sea is one of the most inhospitable to life. Even burning deserts of sand provide a home for hardy insects and reptiles and for certain plants with extremely deep roots. Concrete sidewalks and asphalt tennis courts sometimes crack, allowing a brave weed or two to survive above the surface. But the Dead Sea, because of its extreme salinity, harbors no life of any kind.
"Thus, using the example of the Dead Sea, the Lord's prophets have chosen the worst possible case to illustrate the power of the living waters to heal that which is dead. The living waters of the gospel of Jesus Christ and His atonement can heal dead marriages, dead relationships between parents and children, dead friendships between business partners and neighbors, and spiritual death from years of alienation from the Church. His promise is sure: 'Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me' (D&C 19:23)." (Your Agency, Handle with Care [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 102-103.)
John 4:14 the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life
"Just as he intimated at the foot of Mount Hermon that he was the Rock of Salvation, and at Capernaum where mills were produced that he was the Bread of Life, so now at Jacob's Well he described himself as the Living Water, a source from which any person could draw spiritual water and quench spiritual thirst: 'The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.' (John 4:14.)" (D. Kelly Ogden, Where Jesus Walked: The Land and Culture of New Testament Times [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 29.)
Bruce R. McConkie
"How graphically Jesus uses the simple truths of everyday life to teach the eternal spiritual realities of his gospel! For the thirsty and choking traveler in a desert wilderness to find water, is to find life, to find an escape from agonizing death; similarly, the weary pilgrim traveling through the wilderness of mortality saves himself eternally by drinking from the wells of living water found in the gospel.
"Living water is the words of eternal life, the message of salvation, the truths about God and his kingdom; it is the doctrines of the gospel. Those who thirst are invited to come unto Christ and drink. Where there are prophets of God, there will be found rivers of living water, wells filled with eternal truths, springs bubbling forth their life-giving draughts that save from spiritual death." (Commentary 1:151-52.)
The scriptures teach us what the living water represents (see 1 Ne. 11:25, Jn. 7:37-39, and DC 63:23). They teach that because of God's great love for his obedient and faithful children, he has given them the Spirit whereby they may know 'the mysteries of the kingdom, and the same shall be in him a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life' (DC 63:23). Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness can only be filled by the Spirit and the truths taught by the Spirit (3 Ne. 12:6).
"We need not thirst, He tells us. In this world of disappointment and pain, where even our best hopes fail us and our mouths are dry and our tongues are swollen, He tells us that He has a gift for us-freely given without price. It is a spring of water that will never run dry. It is His love and protection that is constant. It is His promise of an abundant life...That same promise is given to all of us-to those of us who wander in the desert with parched souls of sin, sorrow, disappointment, and despair-thirsting after truth and peace and hope. His gift to us is the promise of everlasting water-His love, His gift, His forgiveness, His spirit. That is a wonderful promise to all of us in this life who travel so often in the desert." (Lloyd D. Newell, May Peace Be with You [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 100.)
Robert L. Simpson
"You know, brethren, throughout history men have always been looking for the easy way. There have been those who have devoted their lives to finding 'the fountain of youth,' a miracle water which would bring everlasting life. Today men are still seeking for similar treasures, some magic 'fountain' that would bring forth success, fulfillment, and happiness. But most of this searching is in vain, because they are looking for shortcuts. Unless they turn to him who offered the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well a drink of living water, then their searching will indeed be in vain, for he told her: '. . . whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.' (John 4:14.) It is only this 'living water,' the gospel of Jesus Christ, that can and will bring a happy, a successful, and an everlasting life to the children of men." (Conference Report, October 1968, General Priesthood Meeting 96.)
Joseph B. Wirthlin
"These latter days are a time of great spiritual thirst. Many in the world are searching, often intensely, for a source of refreshment that will quench their yearning for meaning and direction in their lives. They crave a cool, satisfying drink of insight and knowledge that will soothe their parched souls. Their spirits cry out for life-sustaining experiences of peace and calm to nourish and enliven their withering hearts.
"Indeed, 'there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it.' (DC 123:12) Let us work with all our heart, might, mind, and strength to show our thirsty brothers and sisters where they may find the living water of the gospel, that they may come to drink of the water that springs 'up unto everlasting life.'
"The Lord provides the living water that can quench the burning thirst of those whose lives are parched by a drought of truth. He expects us to supply to them the fulness of the gospel by giving them the scriptures and the words of the prophets and to bear personal testimony as to the truth of the restored gospel to alleviate their thirst. When they drink from the cup of gospel knowledge, their thirst is satisfied as they come to understand our Heavenly Father's great plan of happiness." (Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Living Water to Quench Spiritual Thirst," Ensign, May 1995, 19)
James E. Faust
"May I suggest five beginning, essential measures that will greatly clear the channel for a daily flow of 'living water' from the very source of the spring (see John 4:7-15).
"First, a daily communion involving prayer. A fervent, sincere prayer is a two-way communication that will do much to bring the Spirit flowing like healing water to help with the trials, hardships, aches, and pains we all face. What is the quality of our secret prayers? As we pray, we should think of our Heavenly Father as being close by; full of knowledge, understanding, love, and compassion; the essence of power; and having great expectations of each of us.
"Second, a daily selfless service to another. The followers of the divine Christ have to be weighed on the scales of what their actions are rather than on solemn professions of belief. The true measure is found in Matthew: 'Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these...ye have done it unto me' (Matt. 25:40). A wise man observed, 'The man who lives by himself and for himself is apt to be corrupted by the company he keeps' (Charles Henry Parkhurst, quoted in The International Dictionary of Thoughts , 659).
"Third, a daily striving for an increased obedience and perfection in our lives. 'What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am,' said the Savior (3 Ne. 27:27). Because of the perfect Atonement of Jesus, we may be made perfect (see D&C 76:69).
"Fourth, a daily acknowledgment of His divinity. To have a daily, personal relationship with the Master, we must be His disciples. 'For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?' (Mosiah 5:13).
"Fifth, a daily study of the scriptures. President Spencer W. Kimball said: 'I find that when I get casual in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away. If I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns' (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball , 135)." ("That We Might Know Thee," Ensign, Jan. 1999, 3-4)
John 4:19 I perceive that thou art a prophet
"One gift I value is discernment. When the Lord spoke to the woman at the well, He offered her living 'water springing up into everlasting life.' He discerned her needs. His words startled her: 'Go, call thy husband, and come hither.' She answered, 'I have no husband,' and Jesus said, 'Thou hast well said.' And 'the woman saith unto him, ... I perceive that thou art a prophet.' (See John 4:14-19.)
"Many women have the gift of discernment. Often blessed with the power to know and understand beyond their experience, women draw on this strength as they visit monthly to teach in the homes or to assess needs as directed by the bishop. We use it as we nurture our children and teach them the gospel. We discern, by the power of God given to us through His Spirit that "one thing is needful" (Luke 10:42). Nothing we do is more important than the work of righteousness in our homes.
"Discernment is critical for our times. President Boyd K. Packer has said, 'We need women with the gift of discernment who can view the trends in the world and detect those that, however popular, are shallow' (Ensign, Nov. 1978, 8). That is exactly what we need." ("Partakers of the Glories," Ensign, Nov. 1996, 77)
John 4:20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain
"Besides the Mount of Olives, Mount Sinai, and Mount Zion, there are a few other specific mountains referred to in the New Testament...'This mountain' (Jn. 4:20) is Mount Gerizim, which was then and is now the holy mountain of the Samaritans, rival of the Jews' Mount Moriah." (D. Kelly Ogden, Where Jesus Walked: The Land and Culture of New Testament Times [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 8.)
J. Reuben Clark, Jr.
"On the top of Mount Ebal, Joshua placed the stones on which he had written the law. The Samaritans believed the stones were atop Mount Gerizim. On the top of this mountain the Samaritans held their Passover Feast, and the woman of Samaria, years later, said to Jesus at Jacob's Well near the foot of Gerizim: 'Our fathers worshipped in this mountain'; to which Jesus replied: 'Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.' (John 4:20-21.) The Samaritans claimed that to this mountain Abraham came to offer Isaac as a sacrifice." (Behold the Lamb of God [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 143.)
John 4:22 Ye worship ye know not what
True faith must be based on a true understanding of the nature of God. Jesus is underscoring this fact, teaching the importance of knowing what you worship. This is exactly how Joseph Smith described true faith, "[one thing] necessary in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God [is] a correct idea of his character, perfections, and attributes" (Lectures on Faith, 33). Ironically, only two verses later, we read the one verse in all scripture which has most confused Christianity on this very point. Hence, we see the need to understand the true nature of God. Is he a nebulous spiritual force without body, parts, or passions? Or is he a loving Father in Heaven, with a glorified 'body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's' (DC 130:22)?
James E. Talmage
"Man's capacity for worship is a measure of his comprehension of God. The fuller the acquaintance and the closer the communion between the worshipper and Deity, the more thorough and sincere will be his homage." (The Articles of Faith, 395-96.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"In the scriptures...we encounter truths and requirements that are at the center of personal, global, and 'eternal purpose . . . in Christ Jesus.' Therefore, this...underlies not only our need to worship God, but also to know what we worship. Jesus declared this in a telling conversation with a woman of Samaria: 'Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship.'
"Much of the message of the holy scriptures concerns the nature, character, and attributes of God and His Son, Jesus Christ: 'I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know what you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fulness.'
"Therefore, it becomes clear both logically and scripturally that the only real veneration of Jesus is emulation of Him." (Even As I Am [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 1-2)
John 4:22 salvation is of the Jews
Bruce R. McConkie
"Though the Jews were apostate, as a people, yet they did have the scriptures; they did search the writings of the prophets; their priests were still legal administrators; they had the knowledge of God to a degree; and salvation was to come through them to the world." (The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979-1981], 1: 499.)
John 4:24 God is a Spirit
Gordon B. Hinckley
"I remember the occasion of more than 50 years ago when, as a missionary, I was speaking in an open-air meeting in Hyde Park, London. As I was presenting my message, a heckler interrupted to say, 'Why don't you stay with the doctrine of the Bible which says in John [4:24], God is a Spirit?'
"I opened my Bible to the verse he had quoted and read to him the entire verse: 'God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.'
"I said, 'Of course God is a spirit, and so are you, in the combination of spirit and body that makes of you a living being, and so am I.'
"Each of us is a dual being of spiritual entity and physical entity. All know of the reality of death when the body dies, and each of us also knows that the spirit lives on as an individual entity and that at some time, under the divine plan made possible by the sacrifice of the Son of God, there will be a reunion of spirit and body. Jesus' declaration that God is a spirit no more denies that he has a body than does the statement that I am a spirit while also having a body.
"I do not equate my body with His in its refinement, in its capacity, in its beauty and radiance. His is eternal. Mine is mortal. But that only increases my reverence for Him. I worship Him 'in spirit and in truth.' I look to Him as my strength. I pray to Him for wisdom beyond my own. I seek to love Him with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. His wisdom is greater than the wisdom of all men. His power is greater than the power of nature, for He is the Creator Omnipotent. His love is greater than the love of any other, for His love encompasses all of His children, and it is His work and His glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of His sons and daughters of all generations (see Moses 1:39)." ("The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost," Ensign, Mar. 1998, 4)
Eldred G. Smith
"'The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's, the Son also.' (D&C 130:22.)
"Now John says, 'God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.' (John 4:24.)
"Man is also a spirit clothed with flesh and bones, so, too, is God. Again the Lord has said in modern revelation 'For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy.' (D&C 93:33.) Birth is the uniting of this spirit and elements of physical bodies. Death is the separation. The resurrection is the reuniting of the spirit and the physical body, which the Lord says, 'inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy.' (Conference Report, October 1961, Afternoon Meeting 27.)
John 4:26 I that speak unto thee am he
Neal A. Maxwell
"As we strive to 'endure well' the macro, societal, and global challenges which form the context of our days, it is comforting to know that we are not left alone, for our God is a personal God. Note the following customized, divine communications:
"'And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome' (Acts 23:11). The resurrected Lord of the universe visited one person in a castle jail: He extended appreciation to Paul. He gave him encouragement, and He also gave him a 'missionary transfer' from Jerusalem to Rome. How big was Jesus' audience? One!
"Jesus was likewise disclosing and encouraging to a believing, solitary woman of Samaria, another audience of one, to whom, by the way, He disclosed 'all that ever [she] did' (see John 4:39). 'The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.' (John 4:25-26.)
"Thus the Lord of the universe, early in His ministry, disclosed His true identity to an audience of one. He knows each and all of us, too. And as in the instance of the woman of Samaria, He knows all things we have ever done, and He knows what lies ahead of us. And He loves us. He can steady us individually even in the midst of general commotion." (If Thou Endure It Well [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 27.)
Henry B. Eyring
"Jesus gives such striking attention to individuals...It shouldn't surprise us that God gives so much individual attention to humans or to the divine design in the tiny DNA molecule. God 'is in the details'-of the galaxies, of the DNA molecule, but, even more important, He 'is in the details' of our lives." (On Becoming a Disciple Scholar [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1995], 14.)
John 4:35 behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes
Jeffrey R. Holland
"[Jesus] had, in a very few moments, lifted [the Samaritan woman] from probable hostility and spiritual stupor to a state where she at least began to glimpse spiritual matters and heard in a wonderfully rare moment the Son of God declare himself to be the long-awaited Messiah. This was 'meat' to one who fed on things of the Spirit-more so than a common crust of bread or literal cut of lamb so faithfully obtained in town by his brethren.
"...Jesus had seen an opportunity with eternal significance and seized it. For him, the field was always ready to harvest. He saw past the traditions and the wrangling and the pettiness of men. Indeed, he had even seen past the woman's very serious sins. What he saw was a chance to lift a life, to teach a human soul, to edify a child of God and move her toward salvation. That was his 'meat' and his 'work.' Certainly it was the will of his father which he had come to fulfill. Even these disciples who had become so close to the Master had yet to shed fully the scales of traditional darkness from their view. They, too, needed the uncommon invitation commonly extended to lift up their eyes to higher purposes, loftier meanings, more spiritual sustenance. (See John 4:27-35.)" ("Lift Up Your Eyes," Ensign, July 1983, 12)
Sterling W. Sill
"Certainly our day is a most urgent time to re-echo that theme. We should lift up our eyes to see our duty and to understand our opportunities; to accept our responsibilities and to put truth in force in our lives. We should lift up our eyes to worship God and to serve our fellow men as the Lord has commanded." (Conference Report, April 1961, First Day-Morning Meeting 9.)
John 4:47-54 he...besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death
Bruce R. McConkie
"With reference to the father who sought the divine intervention, it bears witness that the growth of faith in the heart of an earthbound pilgrim, and the healing, as it were, of the soul of man, is as great a miracle as-nay, a far greater miracle than-the healing of the physical body.
"Having heard the gospel taught, and believing that the Teacher could work miracles, the father came to Jesus. 'Come down to Capernaum and heal my son,' he pleaded. By declining to go down-as though his personal presence was required for a miracle!-Jesus tested the faith of the father; and finding that it remained unshaken, he healed the child at a word. The father, without more and before word came from his servants, knew that the healing power had operated and that his son lived. When this was confirmed a day later, John says: 'Himself believed, and his whole house.' We have seen, thus, the miracle of healing a disease-ridden body and the healing of a truth-seeking soul; we have seen a physical cure that raised a boy from the doors of death, and a spiritual cure that enabled a man to shake off the disease of unbelief that leads to spiritual death. Truly the Master Healer uses his power in a perfect way for the blessing and benefit of his mortal brethren!" (The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979-1981], 2: 11.)
John 4:54 This is again the second miracle that Jesus did
Gordon B. Hinckley
"This, the second recorded miracle wrought by the Master, was followed by other miracles of healing. Christ healed by the power of God, which was within him. That power he gave to his chosen disciples, saying, 'And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven.' (Matt. 16:19)
"That same power has been restored in this generation. It came through the laying on of hands by Peter, James, and John, who received it from the Lord himself. It was bestowed upon Joseph Smith, the prophet of this dispensation. Its presence is among us. Those who are acquainted with the history of the Church are familiar with the account related by Wilford Woodruff concerning the events of July 22, 1839. Nauvoo at that time was an unhealthy and swampy place. There was much sickness. Joseph was among those who were afflicted. But being filled with the Spirit, he rose from his bed and went out among the sick, healing them and raising them. He then crossed the river to the settlement in Montrose, Iowa. I now refer to the account of Elder Woodruff:
The first house he visited was that occupied by Elder Brigham Young, the president of the quorum of the twelve, who lay sick. Joseph healed him, then he arose and accompanied the Prophet on his visit to others who were in the same condition. They visited Elder W. Woodruff, also Elders Orson Pratt and John Taylor, all of whom were living in Montrose. They also accompanied him. The next place they visited was the home of Elijah Fordham, who was supposed to be about breathing his last. When the company entered the room the Prophet of God walked up to the dying man, and took hold of his right hand and spoke to him; but Brother Fordham was unable to speak, his eyes were set in his head like glass, and he seemed entirely unconscious of all around him. Joseph held his hand and looked into his eyes in silence for a length of time. A change in the countenance of Brother Fordham was soon perceptible to all present. His sight returned, and upon Joseph asking him if he knew him, he, in a low whisper, answered, 'Yes.' Joseph asked him if he had faith to be healed. He answered, 'I fear it is too late; if you had come sooner I think I would have been healed.' The Prophet said, 'Do you believe in Jesus Christ?' He answered in a feeble voice, 'I do.' Joseph then stood erect, still holding his hand in silence several moments; then he spoke in a very loud voice, saying: 'Brother Fordham, I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to arise from this bed and be made whole.' His voice was like the voice of God, and not of man. It seemed as though the house shook to its very foundations. Brother Fordham arose from his bed and was immediately made whole. His feet were bound in poultices, which he kicked off, then putting on his clothes, he ate a bowl of bread and milk, and followed the Prophet into the street. (As quoted in Joseph Fielding Smith, Essentials in Church History, rev. ed. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1979], pp. 223-24.)" (Faith: The Essence of True Religion [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1989], 31.)