The Samaritan Woman Bears Witness to Jesus
“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?’ They went out of the town and were coming to him” (vv. 28–30).- John 4:27–30
Near the beginning of John’s account of the meeting between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well of Sychar, we learn that our Savior and the woman were able to have a private conversation because the disciples had gone into the city to buy food (John 4:8). Today’s passage tells us that soon after Jesus revealed His messianic identity to the woman, the disciples returned and found their Master talking to her (vv. 25–27). They marveled that He was speaking with the woman, and this was likely due to the low esteem that many rabbis had for women in the first century. Many rabbis believed it was a waste of time to speak to a woman, even if that woman was one’s wife, and some of them even thought it was wrong to teach women the Torah, or the law of God. Yet here Jesus was talking to a woman and even instructing her about the dawning kingdom and how it would change the worship of God’s people (vv. 1–24). Clearly, Jesus was a rabbi unlike any other, for He believed that women have just as much right to learn the Scriptures and to engage in theological conversation as men do (see also Luke 10:38–42).
That a Jewish rabbi was willing to speak not only with a woman but with a Samaritan woman of questionable moral character undoubtedly made an impact on her. Stronger still, however, was the impact of Jesus’ evident supernatural knowledge. Almost as soon as the disciples arrived, the woman went into town to tell her neighbors about Jesus (John 4:28–30). Her status as a social outcast was what prompted her to come to the well alone (vv. 6–7, 16–18), but once she heard the good news that Jesus the Messiah had come, she could not help but push past the fear of others’ disapproval that kept her isolated. She bore witness to Jesus, and her testimony was so powerful that many Samaritans went out to see Him (v. 30). We do not know exactly how many Samaritans met Jesus that day, but commentators suggest it must have been a large crowd.
The woman was so eager to bear witness to Jesus that she even left her water jar behind (v. 28). Ordinarily, women in that culture would not leave such things at the well, but this woman could not wait to tell others about Christ and would not even pause for a second to retrieve her possession. This is understandable, Augustine of Hippo comments in his sermon on today’s passage, for “having received Christ the Lord into her heart, what could she do but now leave her water-pot, and run to preach the gospel?”
The gospel is not only for the respectable and those who have their lives together. The gospel is also for the outcast, the dysfunctional, and those who have made shambles of their lives. We must welcome all kinds of people to our churches so that they can hear the gospel and experience the Holy Spirit’s power in their lives.
Passages for Further Study