“How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (John 4:9)
His request for water was unexpected. She could have walked away.
But she didn’t.
Whether it was curiosity, the Spirit’s working or both, she stayed to talk.
And Jesus started drawing her into the truth. She didn’t understand all the talk of living water, but she kept listening, eventually asking for the water that would allow her to cross off “draw water” from her to-do list each day.
And then Jesus zoomed into her soul. “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” (John 4:16-18)
She could have denied what Jesus revealed about her life of multiple husbands and current sexual sin, but she stayed in the conversation, saying that Jesus must be a prophet.
So Jesus kept pouring the truth into her, about the Father seeking people to worship Him in spirit and truth, which led her to bring up the Messiah. Only then, did Jesus reveal Himself as the Messiah, the One who was to come.
When the disciples returned to Jesus, their looks showed that they didn’t understand why he would be talking to this woman.
But it didn’t stop her.
“So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?”’ (John 4:28-29)
Other Samaritans came to see the man the woman was talking about and believed “because of the woman’s testimony.” (vs.39) Jesus stayed two days and kept speaking the truth.
They said to the woman, “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.” (John 4:42)
Joy vs. Guilt
Does the command to “make disciples” ever feel more like a burden than a joy?
Do guilt and condemnation creep in when an opportunity is missed, or when you wish you’d responded differently to someone?
Does it feel like when you do take time to pour into someone, the living water seems to evaporate before it reaches their heart?
I have felt validated when people respond positively to a truth I share. I have also let disappointments grow into feelings of insignificance and self-pity when the response I hoped for didn’t happen.
Lately, the Father has lovingly lifted my eyes to a different focus.
Maybe the Samaritan woman struggled with these feelings, but her actions showed her faith. She wasn’t focusing on whether people would believe her. She just had to share, which caused many of her townsfolk to find out more from Jesus Himself.
The first two words from the woman to the people have echoed through my head as I struggle with wanting people to know and grow in the gospel.
God uses so many different ways for His kingdom to come and His truth to be revealed. The results I imagine might be incredibly different than how the Spirit wants to work in people’s lives and in my own life.
But how do I know if I’m doing it right? What if I miss opportunities and don’t know if I’m being a “good and faithful servant?” (Or wishing I’d spent a few more minutes talking to the Jehovah’s Witnesses who came to my door.)
Nancy Guthrie, in her chapter in Word-Filled Women’s Ministry explained The Parable of the Talents this way:
“We don’t need to fear that we haven’t done enough. (Don’t we, as women, regularly tend to think we haven’t done enough or that we simply aren’t enough?) The real danger being drawn for us in this parable is not the danger of not doing enough for the Master. The two faithful servants receive different amounts and come up with different amounts in the end, and they are both rewarded with exactly the same praise from the Master.
The real danger threatens those who do nothing with what has been entrusted to them, those for whom there is zero return—no response of faith to the gospel, no treasuring the Master, no fruit of the Spirit, no return for the Master’s kingdom—nothing. That’s the point of the third servant, who did nothing with his gift. Because he did nothing, he did not just lose his reward; he lost his life.” (239)
When I’m continuing to let my focus be on treasuring Christ, it will be His love flowing through me onto others, whether they choose to receive it or not.
His kingdom is coming. And I get to be a part of it.
And so do you.