And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.”
Why “A Samaritan Woman Speaks?” I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the woman in John 4: 1-42 (New Testament of the Holy Bible), known alternatively as ‘The Samaritan Woman’ or, the ‘Woman at the Well.’ We never learn her name. That nameless woman is someone I’ve come to admire. Because I admire her, I am naming my blog in her honor.
Here’s her story, by way of explanation. In the course of her everyday affairs, the nameless Samaritan woman, had a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ. She was an unlikely candidate for such a meeting. She was a member of a hated minority group, the Samaritans, who had been marginalized by the majority population group in her country. She was also woman in a culture that didn’t value women. Two strikes. But there was more. She had secrets.
Here is how they met. She was minding her own business, going to a well to draw water one day, at a time when most others had already gotten their water. It is likely that she did so in order to avoid the crowds with their judgmental eyes. Most days, in the heat of the day, no one would have been at the well. But this day was different. On the road of everyday life, in the course of her routine activities, she had an encounter that would change her destiny. As she approached the well, an unusual thing happened. A single man, tired from the heat, sat alone by the well. The Jewish teacher spoke to her. As a man, a Jew, and a Rabbi, this conversation shouldn’t have occurred. The majority of Jews in that country at that time hated and avoided the Samaritans, who were only ‘half-breeds’. The cultural milieu just didn’t allow such a meeting. But, Jesus started a conversation with her. She spoke of drawing water at a well. He spoke of living water that He could give her, from which she would never thirst again. It was an odd conversation for two strangers in a seemingly chance encounter. Something about this man was so different, but what?
In the course of their discussion, he revealed to her that he knew things about her life and her pain, which only she knew. He knew of her many broken marriages and about her current relationship. He knew about her broken heart. He knew everything that she thought no one else did. Strike 3? Hardly. She was shocked, but intrigued. As they spoke that day, she sensed this man was different than so many who had hurt her. He knew her deepest pain and shame. He knew her failures and weaknesses, and yet He accepted her. She recognized first that He was a prophet. But then suddenly, she knew. He was more than a prophet. He was the Messiah, the long-awaited Christ sent by God.
At the moment of recognition, she had a choice to make. Should she look at her past failures? Should she stay bound in the shame? All those things done and undone, that should not have been. At that pivotal point, she chose to believe in Him and to receive His pure love. It was a love she’d never known before. After seeing the acceptance, forgiveness and love in His eyes, she made a decision to accept His forgiveness. She accepted the Savior’s love, and she went forward to tell others about Him. Emboldened by His unconditional love, she went immediately back to her own city. She went to the men, those who’d hurt her most. Upon the strength of His forgiveness, she went forward to forgive and to speak. She spoke boldly but respectfully, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”
As I’ve thought about this Samaritan woman I’ve come to like her more and more, and I want to emulate her. She and I are a lot alike. I want to look forward in faith, not dwell in fear or shame of my past failures and mistakes, thinking of what ‘might’ have been. Having met Him myself and received His forgiveness, I daily receive and believe that His love and acceptance are real. I want to go and tell those to whom He sends me. The Samaritan woman spoke, and I intend to speak too. I want to tell others, especially the doubtful and the hurting, about Jesus Christ’s great love and mercy. I’ve had an encounter like she did, and I intend to speak about that and what His mercy has done in my life.
I’ve encountered Him again and again, on the road of everyday life, and I will write about those encounters, the large and the small. Some call these ‘divine appointments’, or ‘leadings of the Holy Spirit’ or ‘God-incidences.’ That’s what I intend to share. I know many others who’ve met Him along the road of life and he has changed them too. They met Jesus and now they travel with Him throughout life. I’ve seen Bible stories of the broken-hearted and wounded, who’ve been transformed by His forgiveness, just like the Samaritan Woman, and just like me. I will tell my stories and their stories of encountering Jesus. He is real, He is risen and I want to encourage you to encounter Him, to speak with Him and to speak to others about Him. That is why, “A Samaritan Woman Speaks.”
Reading: John 4: 1-42