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John 4:28-31, 39-42, NIV
28 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.
31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, "Rabbi, eat something. . . . "
39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did." 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers. 42 They said to the woman, "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world."
February 5, 2010Why does this woman not have a name! She may have been our Lord's first evangelist and no one thought to give her the dignity of recording her name. Many people from her village believed in Jesus because of her testimony, yet we have to continue calling her the woman at the well. You know, the one with all those husbands, who waited until everyone else had filled up on water before venturing out of her house.
Thankfully the people of Sychar were wise enough not to allow her reputation to mar their future. They accepted her praiseworthy endorsement of the man who told her everything she had ever done. They came to see what she was so excited about and welcomed Jesus into their hometown with open arms, minds and hearts.
Although Jesus didn't eat at the urging of his disciples, I'll bet he ate plenty during the two-day welcome he received from his new converts. Eating and celebration go hand in hand.
In the end, these Samaritans declared Jesus to be the Savior of the world. Savior because he removed the load of excess weight and baggage which they had carried far too long. Savior of the world because they too were included in his invitation to drink his living water that would become a spring welling up within them to eternal life. They heard and witnessed an inclusive message--wide enough for the whole world, with no one excluded.
More journal entries
December 4, 2001
The woman moves quickly from thinking prophet to thinking Messiah. When the Messiah comes, he will explain the answers to our difficult questions and settle all disputes concerning religious matters. Jesus quickly tells her he is the Messiah, and boom! The disciples return, breaking the magic of Jesus' revelations. The disciples had raised eyebrows because Jesus was speaking to a Samaritan woman, maybe even drinking from her cup.
The woman left her water jar and did something she had probably never done before. It was so out of character. She went back into town and talked to everyone in sight, saying, "Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah we've been waiting for?"
She brought the whole town, all who were willing. Many of her neighbors agreed with her premise. They welcomed Jesus with enthusiasm, urging their hospitality upon him.
After two days, they were fully convinced Jesus was the Savior of the world. They knew it, not only on a intellectual level, but deeper, in their heart and soul. Life would move on. Doubts, questions and discouragement would come, but today was a celebration of certainty. We know this man is the Savior of the world. Such days generate vital memories which can get us through months of doubt and nothingness.
November 15, 1982How earthly and practical-minded the disciples of Jesus were. Were they never so engrossed in something that they forgot they were hungry? Didn't they know that the mind can control feelings of hunger, that it's possible to go without a meal and feel just fine? The disciples sound like they are right out of Lancaster County--if you don't want to eat there must be something wrong with you!
We can smile at how concerned these disciples were about food. Lacking sensitivity to what had just occurred, they missed completely the significance of what this woman and their Rabbi had just shared. They couldn't appreciate what they had not participated in. Their own concern was all that mattered, and they were upset with Jesus because he didn't appreciate the trouble they had gone through to bring him food.
November 27, 1982
She was a reaper in a field like one Jesus just described to his disciples. A woman--how about that--being rewarded and bringing in a harvest for eternal life! Suddenly, unexpectedly, reaping where another had planted. Gathering grain into the barn for her heavenly Father.
November 30, 1982Jesus was a Jew and generally Samaritans didn't like Jews. But here in Sychar, they wanted to keep him! Was Jesus ever tempted to stay in one place and settle down? Jesus belonged to no place, or people. His loyalty was to God alone. Therein lay his freedom.
They believed and were convinced, in the span of two brief days. These people were so receptive--like Jesus' parable of the soils where the seed sprang up quickly. But that was just the beginning. The real test of faith is faithfulness. Had he stayed in Sychar, people may have remained faithful so long as Jesus was with them, just as the Israelites of old remained faithful as long as Moses was with them. In order for authentic faith to grow, must we feel abandoned for awhile? And then discover for ourselves that the presence of God is Spirit and ever present with us?
Later in John 16:7, Jesus is quoted as saying, "It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.." The visible Jesus could be in one place at a time. The Holy Spirit, the invisible Jesus, can be in all places at the same time.
December 2, 1982There are no reports of miracles or healings done there. They simply heard his words and were convinced. Jesus didn't turn the well water into wine! The Samaritans from Sychar didn't need that sort of thing in order to believe.
Like all good things, it would come to an end. And gradually for some, suddenly for others, life would get back to something resembling normal. Remaining behind is hard. There's a sense of loss and being lost. Not so with the Spirit.
Some people in town probably were never the same again because they believed God's spirit remained after Jesus was long gone. What a beautiful testimony of faith and hope. After the mountain top experience, the Spirit walks the valleys with us. Those who believed were blessed. Those who reserved judgment or downright refused to believe, missed out. Then Jesus left, continuing on his journey to Galilee.