I am struck by the following story. It has haunted me for weeks. The power and influence of one single, individual woman. Here’s how her story starts…
The Pharisees could be a wearisome bunch.
Prideful. Know-it-all’s. Lots of training but not too much wisdom. They were actually trying to get an argument started between Jesus’ disciples and John’s disciples about who baptized the MOST people. (Things haven’t changed. What about you? Have you ever had a bully try to block your ministry?)
Jesus decided it was time to move on.
It was time to leave Judea and start north for Galilee. He had 3 choices for routes. He could go along the coast, across the Jordon, or straight through Samaria. He chose door #3 … the route through Samaria. (Interesting Note: When the Jews wanted to insult Jesus (or anyone else), they would call him a Samaritan.)
Orthodox Jews avoided that area.
Jews had an ongoing hatred for Samaritans because they were mixed…part Jew and part Gentile. In addition, they rejected them because Samaritans could not prove their genealogy. A third reason they were hated by the prejudiced Orthodox Jews is that they had their own temple and religious services on Mt Gerizim. (Interesting Note: Some of the Pharisees went so far as to pray that no Samaritan would be raised in the resurrection. You can see no love is lost between them.)
Jesus was weary.
As they entered the town of Sychar, a city in Samaria. Jesus was tired, so His disciples went into town for food. Jesus sat down by the well and began talking with a Samaritan woman who was there drawing water. Since it would have been obvious He was Jew, this must have taken the woman by surprise. First, it is a MAN at the well. AND He is speaking to her. AND He asks her for a drink.
She notes that He has nothing with which to draw water.
“How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)” (John 4:9) She clearly knows this is unusual. She asks questions. He answers them and He tells her that He is the LIVING WATER. The Christ. The Messiah. She quickly becomes aware that He knows everything about her. He gently confronts her with her sin. She admits her sin. (We can’t skip this step.) However, she does try to get off the hot seat by changing the topic to discuss the differences between Jews and Samaritans concerning where to worship. He helps her understand that it doesn’t matter where so much as how: He explains that she must worship in Spirit and Truth. Most of the Jews worship the Law rather than the Spirit of the law. He was pointing out the difference. (Note: His gentle way of treating her with respect and how deliberately He leads her to THE Truth.)
The disciples return with food.
The Jewish disciples are curious about seeing Him with the Samaritan woman. He knows they are curious and confused. He speaks in riddles to them. They don’t quite understand what is happening. But the woman. SHE understands. She goes and tells what she herself has experienced. She has run back to the village and has told the men of the town that she has met a man that knows all about her and that she believes Him to be the Christ.
They SAW she was different. Changed. Transformed.
“And from that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified” (John 4:39) to them. I believe she is the very first Missionary and she is a Woman. This one woman changed her world for Christ. (Please Note: The power of ONE WOMAN.) This is still Jesus’ mission for us for today!
He stayed there two days at their request.
And many more believed; and they were saying to the woman “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is the Savior of the world.” (John 4:41, 42). It becomes personal to them. Just two days with Jesus and they already had a missionary mindset! The Samaritans’ vision was even wider than the disciples. Amazing, don’t you think?
These Samaritans were wiser than the learned Pharisees.
Do you see it? They didn’t say Jesus is the Savior of the Jews OR the Savior of the Samaritans. They said He is the Savior of the World. (Please Note: It all started with the conversation between ONE WOMAN and JESUS.)
The Power of One Woman. She changed her world!
And each of us can, too. Is this story from John 4 speaking to you personally? Jesus has a reason for everything He does. Jesus cares about each individual. Even when we are OUTCAST and WAYWARD. It also teaches that there are two options. We are either…
A Missionary OR a mission field. Which do you choose?
God still works through individual women…like you…like me…If you have read this far, I already know something about you. You do NOT want to be a mission FIELD. You want to be a missionary. So, my question to you is: To what part of your world is Jesus calling you to be a missionary? Your neighborhood? Another state? Another country? Where is your call? Don’t let the learned bullies hold you back!
THE POWER OF ONE WOMAN’S TESTIMONY!!!