Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” (John 4:39, ESV)
What an amazing testimony to have recorded about any person! You may recognize this as part of the story when Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well. We usually just read over that verse and tend to focus our attention on the interchange that took place between Jesus and the woman. What I find remarkable, though, is who this woman is and how our Lord used her.
Verse 4 of the text tells us that Jesus “had to go through Samaria.” Any first century reader of these words would know that the Jews went out of their way to avoid Samaria. They did not go through it. We know from the time (noon) that this woman came to the well that she was not accepted by the other woman, as they would have gone early in the morning. Jesus’ own conversation with her tells us that she was openly adulterous and probably not well- respected by the men in her town.
Put all of these circumstances together and we have a pretty sad picture of a marginalized, disrespected, unclean, outcast of society. Dare I say that this woman would be someone that most Christians would not feel comfortable speaking with. And yet, it is this woman, and not the “respectable” men of that society that Jesus approaches.
Now, It is no surprise to us that Jesus regularly communed with the downtrodden, but we are rarely told how those people impacted others. Here this woman, despite her past, her background, her sin, her place in society has an encounter with the Son of God and it changes her.
And her first instinct is to tell others (v. 28,29). A Changed Life becomes an agent of change in the lives of others. She tells others to come meet a man who has the words of truth and life. Jesus told her that he can give her living water that will never run dry. And she was filled with that water to the point of overflowing. So much that she wanted to serve that water to the town that had rejected her.
That is what grace does. It overflows. It must be shared. It is not hoarded and it is not withheld. Jesus didn’t hold her past against her and this woman didn’t hold the townspeople’s treatment of her against them. Grace. This woman received the free gift of Faith, and she wanted others to have the gift of Faith also. She believed. And they believed because of her willingness to share with them. Grace.
We have been given a life-saving antidote to our sin problem. Are we as zealous to share this cure with the people in our lives? With our enemies? With everyone?
I pray we are bold like this woman. Unashamed even.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17)