We are used to hearing “churchy” phrases like “only begotten son” from John 3:16. These phrases are not common in our daily use, they are unique to our Christian “church culture.” In today’s scripture the crowd has lost track of Jesus (we said a few weeks ago that Jesus had become very popular healing and feeding thousands). Once they figured out where he was they asked an obvious question: “Rabbi, when did you get here?” The literal question is “Rabbi, how did you come to be here?” or “Rabbi how were you begotten?”
Begotten was used to question a lot of things: where the wine from Cana came from (2:9), where the “birth from above” comes from (3:3, 7), and where the living water comes from (4:11). “How were you begotten?” is a deeper question about how Jesus came to be at all and with us!