Can you think of anyone you know that has an “ugly” past or is living differently than you would approve of? Maybe they were involved in something that you think is offensive? Maybe someone who has not conducted themselves as you think right in their marriage? Maybe they have even gone to jail for something? Does anyone come to mind? We are all fully aware of what we think is morally acceptable and not acceptable, and as hard as we try, we probably cast negative feelings towards others for what they have done. Some of us may even go to the extent of avoiding any contact with such person.
But not Jesus!
Today we are looking at John chapters 4 and 5, but focusing on a what we can learn from the Samaritan woman.
Who was the Samaritan woman? The Samaritan’s were a race of people that the Jews utterly despised as having no claim on their God. This woman, who is not directly named, walks to Jacob’s Well to fill her water jar. She comes alone at a time when she knew others would not be around. She chose this time because she did not feel comfortable being around others, for they looked down on her. She was ostracized and labeled as immoral because she was an unmarried woman living openly with a man (her 6th man to live with). People avoided her and treated her unkindly because she did not live up to their standards.
Jesus and his disciples are traveling from Jerusalem in the south to Galilee in the north. To make their journey shorter, they take a quick route through Samaria. Jesus, being tired and thirsty sat by Jacob’s well while his disciples went to a nearby village to get food. At this same time, around noon and the hottest part of the day, the Samaritan woman came to draw her water.
The shocking part of this story is that Jesus spoke to her, breaking 3 Jewish customs. First, he spoke to her despite her being a woman. Second, she was a Samaritan woman, and the Jews traditionally despised Samaritans. And, third, he asked her to get him a drink of water, which using her jar would have made him ceremonially unclean.
I am sure the Samaritan woman was shocked that this man was speaking to her. But then, Jesus begins to tell her that he could give her “living water” as a gift from God so that she would never thirst again.
Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”
Once again, the Samaritan woman had to be shocked that Jesus was telling her about this “living water” and then Jesus started telling her about her own life! What?!?! Even though he had never met her before, Jesus told her that he knew she’d had five husbands and was now living with a man who was not her husband. She had to be astonished.
“Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet.”
Jesus and the woman continued their discussion and the woman began to understand who she was talking to. Jesus revealed to her that He was the Messiah.
The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). The he comes, he will tell us all the things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
In her shock at realizing Who she was speaking with, the disciples returned to the well. The disciples were socked to find Jesus speaking to a woman. Leaving her water jar behind, the woman returned to her town, inviting the people to “Come see a man who told me all that I ever did.” John 4:29
This woman who was shunned by other woman for her immorality ran back to the town to tell others about Jesus. She was so excited she even forgot her water jar at the well. All of these people she had been avoiding, she now was running to them to tell them about Jesus.
Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “he told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed tow days. And many more believed because of his word.
This woman’s excitement caused her to be bold and face all the people who called her an outcast. She was full of hope and she wanted everyone to know.
A woman who is a brand new believer, who is still living with a man outside of marriage, who has no background in theology and no training in how to share her faith brings many villagers to Jesus. And Jesus does the rest!
And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”
The Samaritan woman’s words had power! It is because she ran back to tell the people that they came and had the opportunity to meet Jesus. This is the lesson for us. We can not forget what Jesus has done for us. Get excited about it and use your words to share with others. Our responsibility is to share what Jesus has done, just as the Samaritan woman did, and He will do the rest.