There is a story in the gospel of John, chapter 4, about the interaction between Jesus and a Samaritan women who had come to the village well to draw water. The account is full of intrigue (What was Jesus doing talking to a Samaritan? What was Jesus doing talking to an unaccompanied woman in public? What was Jesus doing talking to a Samaritan woman?) and insights (Jesus reveals His knowledge of the many men in her life, and speaks of springs of living water and true worship). It is a story well worth reading.
However, I want to jump to the end of the story. The woman’s dialogue with Jesus is interrupted by the disciples and in the confusion she slips away – and immediately goes to tell the whole town, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” No big theological insights, no mention of true spiritual worship or rivers of living water. Just a simple proclamation of an extraordinary personal experience with Jesus.
And incredible as it may sound, the scripture records that “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I ever did.’” These people had never met Jesus; yet they believed in him because someone they knew, a real flesh and blood person, had experienced what it was like to receive truth from Jesus. So the Samaritans find Jesus and compel Him to stay for two days, sharing truth with them also.
The entire episode ends with these words: “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.’”
For me the end of the story, a portion that is often overlooked, contains two important realities:
- The people believed first because of the woman – then because of Jesus.
- Sometimes people need to see the impact of Jesus on others around them before they will even consider Jesus Himself.
I have had a surprising number of people tell me over the years that when they first came to see me they were giving Jesus just one chance – based on what they experienced with me. They were very clear that had I not demonstrated a reality of Jesus in my life, they would have wanted to hear nothing about the Jesus I represent.
My prayer for you this week is that you have an unexpected awareness that folks around you may be deciding what to do with Jesus based on their observation of you.