There is SO much to learn from the story of the Woman at the Well in John 4. But tonight, I noticed something new (to me, anyway). After Jesus spoke with the woman, He actually revealed that He was the Messiah (“I who speak to you am he.” vs. 26).
Jesus didn’t tell a Jewish male, but he told a Samaritan woman that he was the Messiah!
What follows intrigues me:
So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” They went out of the town and were coming to him. John 4: 28-30
What led this woman to believe that Jesus might be the Christ (the Messiah)? The fact that “he told me all that I ever did.”
When Jesus first tells this woman about her “past” (many husbands and a man now living with her), she thinks he must be a prophet. She later adjusts upwards after Jesus’ self-revelation: He’s more than a prophet – could He be the Christ?
Jesus also tells this woman about living water and new forms of worship, but what touches her the most, what leads her to tell the townspeople to “come,” was the fact that he knew her past:
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…. 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.” vs. 38-42
How did the Samaritan woman share the Gospel? Did she talk about the Kingdom of God? Did she talk about forgiveness of sins? Did she share the Four Laws?
All she said was “He told me all that I ever did,” and they came.
Then they heard what Jesus had to say, and it was enough. They believed and knew that Jesus was “the Savior of the world.”
How did they know THAT? What could Jesus have said (pre-cross) for the Samaritans to come to this conclusion? Certainly they understood that Jesus came for more than the Jews (“the world” means all nations, not just Israel).
But where did they get the Savior part? And, again, why was the woman’s testimony so compelling?
I don’t know all the answers and I’m bone weary so I’ll not run to my commentaries.
But it does strike me that when the woman said, “He told me all I ever did,” people were pretty shocked.
I mean, if I’d lived the life she had lived, I wouldn’t want to tell everyone that this guy knew all of that! I’d be embarrassed! I’d want to get away from that guy who recounted my past as fast as possible – not let everyone know he KNEW!
But maybe this woman felt so loved by Jesus, that she was stunned. “This guy told me everything I ever did and He still accepts me! He talked to me! I felt loved by him! Come meet him!”
Man, no wonder the town came out to see Jesus!! And no wonder they called him Savior. Because He who saves us from our sins doesn’t look down on us when he recalls “everything we ever did.”
The woman gave a pretty compelling testimony – a guy who loved her despite her past. Maybe if we told our stories like that, more people would be interested in coming to meet Jesus!
Dear Jesus: Thanks for the Scripture that never stops revealing new things to me. Thanks for knowing all I ever did – and loving me anyway! Amen.