She finishes the interview with Jesus by challenging Him with the coming of the Messiah. Jesus’ eyes catch hers, “I am the Messiah!” She is flabbergasted! How can He be the Messiah? Thoughts flood her mind as she attempts to catch her breath, and His disciples arrive.
He reveals Himself and she leaves her water pot and runs to the village ~ leaving the old behind to embrace the new. I can picture the scene: He looks her straight in the eye and says, “I am the Messiah!” I believe the two of them locked eyes as His words pierced her heart. They held their stare for what seems like an eternity for her. Then the disciples arrive and disrupt the moment.
The Bible says the disciples are surprised to see Jesus talking with her. They are more concerned about food; insisting that Jesus eat. Jesus takes advantage of yet another opportunity to reveal the will of the Father to the disciples. He explains:
“My nourishment comes from doing the will of God who sent me, and from finishing his work. Do you think the work of harvesting will not begin until the summer ends four months from now? Look around you! Vast fields of human souls are ripening all around us, and are ready now for reaping” (vv. 34-35).
Jesus is not speaking of a literal harvest, but a harvest of souls. She is running to the village to bring hungry people, ripe for harvest, to meet Jesus. He watches her run out of sight into the village, and waits for her return.
This is not the first time the disciples are surprised that Jesus is speaking with someone. I find it curious that they are startled by Jesus talking with people. Jesus’ ministry is people; He spent much of His time reaching out to people on a personal level. He seeks to touch people and change their lives. He dines with sinners and showers His grace on all who will receive Him. The woman at the well, the woman with the issue of blood, Mary Magdalene, are a few on which His fingerprints can be traced. It does not matter if you have been saved fourteen years or ten days:
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20 (NASB)
“Many from the Samaritan village believed he was the Messiah because of the woman’s report: ‘He told me everything I did!’ When they came out to see him at the well, they begged him to stay at their village; and he did, for two days, long enough for many of them to believe in him. Then they said to the woman, ‘Now we believe because we have heard him for ourselves, not just because of what you told us. He is indeed the Savior of the world.’” (vv. 41-42)
Jesus will come to you when you call; that is His promise. He is a personal Savior, not a distant God disengaged from His creation. He is concerned with everything ~ every care and worry, and all that pertains to us; He knows the trials we are enduring.
“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15 (NASB)
God is faithful to answer when we call in times of trouble, but have you ever gone to God and told Him you love Him, just because? It is time for us to be awed with God again. It is time for us to worship Him. Remember the ten lepers that Jesus healed? (Luke 17:11-19) The nine left to show themselves to the priest; one came back and praised Jesus for the healing and worshiped Him. The other nine walked away healed, but the one who turned back to worship left healed and whole. Jesus went the extra mile for the one who worshiped. Everything Jesus has is available to all, but He will give just a little extra to those that truly love Him, and worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.
Jesus came to set her free, and to make all things new. (Revelation 21:5) It does not matter that she is a woman or a Samaritan, or that she did not have access to the Law and the Temple. She now has access to Him, the Great High Priest; she is healed and whole.
The Samaritan woman dashes to the village; out of breath from running, she grabs anyone she sees:
“Come look and see a man that told me everything I have ever done.”
The villagers are astonished; the town harlot proclaiming the Messiah? How could she recognize the Christ? These are the same villagers she hides from, and she is enlightening them to the goodness of Christ. It doesn’t matter where you have come from or what you have done; Christ has healed you and made you whole.
When the Lord confronts sin in our lives, it is to cleanse and heal us so that we will testify to what He has done for us. Christ’s forgiveness is powerful and it enables us to run through the village of those that persecuted us, and caused us to hang our head in shame, and declare to them His goodness. He never encourages her to remain in her sin; He restores her and gives her a new life. We see the fruit of her labor; the Bible tells us that due to her testimony the people went to see Jesus. After hearing His message they begged Him to stay. Many more came to believe in Him in the few days He spent there.
Meanwhile, the disciples endeavor to convince Jesus to eat. I can see Jesus sitting on the well and watching the woman run into the village. As He is watching her, He explains to the disciples that their bread will not satisfy Him. He receives nourishment from the bread of salvation; the restoration of the Samaritan woman. The disciples have been with Jesus more than anyone, and yet, they do not understand what Jesus did for her. He is strengthened when He sees a soul, like this lost, hurting, woman restored. It is what He lives for; it is what He died for.
Before the villagers arrive, Jesus wants the disciples to see the harvest of souls coming from the village, and that they are ripe for harvest.
Do you think the work of harvesting will not begin until the summer ends four months from now? Look around you! Vast fields of human souls are ripening all around us, are now ready for the reaping. The reapers will be paid good wages and will be gathering eternal souls into the granaries of heaven! What joy awaits the sower and the reaper together!
(John 4:35-36 TLB)
Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10); He wants to have an intimate relationship with us. He came to liberate those bound by religion. He did not come to institute a religion, He came to set us free and to give us a life that sings to Him.
The Pharisees memorized the Law; they were the “experts” on God. They knew everything about Him, but couldn’t recognize Him when He came. Jesus accused them of withholding God from those that need Him. That is religion; we are deceived into believing we know all about God, that we are the experts, but when He reveals Himself in a way different than we expect, we miss Him altogether. Religious paradigms are blinding.
Jesus promises that He will search until He finds us. If one sheep is lost He will leave the ninety-nine to find the one. He will stand on the front porch and wait for us to come back home, even after we have squandered our inheritance. He will look day and night on the long, dusty road waiting for us to come around the bend. He will keep watch for us and run to meet us; placing a robe on our back and a ring on our finger. He will wait in His weariness for us at the well. Not because He is thirsty, but because we are. He will sweep His floor and search the house for His one lost coin. He will sell all that He has to buy the one pearl. He will stop on His way to heal a sick servant to heal a woman sick for twelve years. When He feels power and strength leave Him, He will stop to see who has touched the hem of His garment ~ leaving the seeker healed and whole. He will come for you and search until He finds you. He will give you a song:
I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide and I will fill it. (Psalm 81:10 NASB)
You are worth redeeming and you are worth dwelling in. Jesus came to tabernacle with us (see John 1), and wants our hearts to be His resting place.
The Samaritan Woman certainly was caught up in the circumstances of life, and had a rough beginning, however, she ended well. She allowed Jesus into her life to cleanse her and restore her. Jesus filled her with Living Water and she is responsible for the salvation of her village. The greatest of sinners brought them to the Messiah. She ended with a life that sings ~ one that sings God’s glory, one that sings God’s song of redemption and restoration.
[Editor’s note: also see Luke 15 and Luke 8 for the parables and accounts referred to in this article.]