Pastor John’s Bible Stories For Grown-ups
09/26/16 – 579 – Jesus & the Woman at the Well
Why was the woman so easily convinced that Jesus was a prophet? One reason was what He said to her a few verses earlier:
He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
17 “I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” NIV
There is the simple ‘wow’ factor here. How could this complete stranger have known about her past if He were not a prophet or clairvoyant of some kind? But He was talking like a rabbi, not a seer. Does God still work like this in anyone’s life today?
I believe He does – except that when it happens, even we Christians don’t always give Him the credit He deserves. We just say we were ‘convicted’, and/or get mad at the preacher. Unbelievers chalk it up to some kind of parlor trick or even their own guilty conscience. But this woman, not a Jew but a Samaritan, was a believer.
The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”
27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”
28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him. NIV
This is one extremely significant passage, especially verse 26. Why? It is the only place in scripture that Jesus directly, in so many words tells us that He is the Messiah. Think about that for a while.
Finally the disciples returned, and were surprised – which is no surprise to us! The only thing that is a little surprising is that for once they kept quiet, choosing not to put feet in mouths.
The fact that the woman left her water jar is important as well. Put yourself in her place for a moment. You live in a desert; your only source of water is the community well. In order to survive, you must be able to carry and keep a supply of water for yourself and your family. Your only vessel with which to do that is a clay jar. The local Pier 1 is still under construction, so it’s not like you can run down there and just buy another one. She would not have left behind something so important unless she
- felt it was safe and
- was really excited and in a hurry
The excitement of a new believer is often contagious. I can picture her running back to town to tell everyone and get back before this great man has a chance to disappear! She probably made sure that a few key people knew about it and the word was spreading before she turned around and went back to the well herself.
What a powerful lesson she teaches us on witnessing! Why is it that we have such a hard time sharing our faith, especially here in the US? In so many parts of the world, sharing the Christian faith will get you tortured and killed. Here the worst that might happen is that someone might claim to be ‘offended’, or be insulting.
But do you know what? Those people need to know Jesus too. They at least need the chance to see His love at work – in you. So many persecutors have been saved because the people they were persecuting simply acted like Christ as best they could, then allowed Him to work through them.
I’d say that’s a good prayer for today, wouldn’t you? Wherever you are at in conflict with another, whether at work, home, or church, become Christ to them. Forgive them. Treat them like the lost children that they are. Do everything you can to bring them home. If you cannot, let the Holy Spirit work through you. How, you ask? Simply surrender.