You’ve probably heard the story of the woman at the well. She was a woman from Samaria, a place that was not thought of highly. She had a history of being with many men and her reputation preceded her. She was not regarded highly in her town, but instead she came to the well each day in the middle of the blazing hot daylight because she could draw her water without being gossiped about.
As she meets the Savior of the world, Jesus, she finds herself engaged in a conversation that would change not only her life, but the lives of many in her town, and for generations to come as the simple exchange would be recorded in Scripture for all to read.
Jesus tells the woman that He knows full well about her past. He knows that she had hopped from relationship to relationship, looking for contentment and never being satisfied. He sees her—for better or for worse—and yet He speaks to her in love and with an invitation to come and receive living water, never to thirst again.
The woman runs from her encounter with Jesus and immediately goes into town. She tells everyone she sees about this man who told her all she ever did. She is broadcasting the parts of her story she once hid, because she’s been so radically effected by Jesus that she cannot help but share Him.
And what happens next is amazing.
John 4 verse 39 tells us, “Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me all that I ever did.’”
Did you catch that?
The woman at the well, this woman who was an outcast, disregarded because of her past, was faithful with her story. And God used her to bring people to Himself. Many believed because of the woman’s testimony.
But it doesn’t just end there. Because if the moral of the story was simply to go and tell people about our story, that would leave us as the main character. And we know that the Bible is all about God. So what comes next points us back to the true main character of the story.
The Samaritans come to Jesus and ask Him to stay for awhile in their town. He spends the next couple of days with them and speaks to them in love.
John 4 verse 42 is where we see the switch take place:
“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 people were initially drawn to Jesus because of the woman’s testimony. She spoke boldly about what Jesus had done for her. She explained how He had seen into the parts of her life that she was ashamed of, and how He had chosen to love her anyways.
This was enough to bring the people to Jesus. But it wasn’t what kept them there.
They saw for themselves the goodness of the Lord and it opened their eyes to the truth that Jesus indeed is the Savior of the world.
The woman could have stayed quiet, afraid that the people would have questions that she might not be able to answer. She could have talked herself out of sharing about her story because it might bring up the memories of her past that she’d worked hard to forget.
But because she was faithful with her story—the good and the bad—the people came to Jesus, and they experienced Him firsthand, for themselves. They tasted of the living water that Jesus had offered the woman at the well, and it was enough for them to be satisfied forever.
The life-changing work wasn’t up to the woman—it was up to Jesus. And He was faithful to do it! He was able to open their eyes to see the eternal truth that Christ alone can save. He was the one who did the work in their hearts and brought them to a faith in God unlike any other.
The woman at the well was faithful with a little and Jesus did the rest.
The woman wasn’t ashamed of the parts of her past that had haunted her, because she had experienced the life-changing hope of salvation in Jesus.
And when the people came, it wasn’t up to the woman to convince them to stay. They saw for themselves the goodness of Christ firsthand, and they rejoiced in the grace that was poured out freely and equally upon them.
Friend, don’t let the parts of your story that haunt you keep you quiet. Go and tell the world about the grace of Jesus. Invite them to meet the Savior of the world. Don’t worry about having every last answer, because Jesus Himself will be the answer they seek. Don’t let the enemy whisper to you that you are better off staying quiet, because he’s a liar.
The people came because of the story that woman told, but they stayed because they saw for themselves and they believed in the Savior of the world.
Let’s be faithful to go and tell of His goodness, then leave the rest up to Him.
sharing in His faithfulness,