Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Samaritan Woman: "The Integrity of Your Witness" - John 4:1-29; 39-42

The scripture denotes that Jesus had need to go to Samaria. This assures us that not only do we need Jesus, but He needs us. This text places ostracized, misunderstood women in the forefront of our Savior's view and mission. The Samaritan woman is found at the drawing place. We might say she is at the place where she could draw out from the Lord. But, she meets Jesus because he had a need. Jesus' need to go to the place where others are blackballed, unappreciated and non-empowered by the Living God causes this woman to experience repentance, redemption and restoration.

Often when we hear others expound on this text, the Samaritan woman is portrayed as a woman of low character. I beg to differ with that view. When this woman became excited about Jesus, and accepted him as the Christ, she went to tell others about him. Those that heard her did not question her words. They didn't say after we see Him we will believe. "And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified. HE told me all that ever I did", (John4:39). No, it was her testimony alone that made them believe. Her testimony garnered up a whole town, men included, to come see Jesus.

Apparently, she had always been a woman you could believe. Though we try to devalue her by our western thinking and our limited understanding - I suggest that this woman had power. We hear Jesus say to her, you've had five husbands, but the one you are with now is not your husband, and immediately we place her in the category of an unsavory woman. Yet, scripture does infer that once she married into a family, if death took her husband the next brother or closest relative would marry her. In Western thought we would think that she had been divorced several times --- but, biblical history does not bear this out. For if she was continuously remarrying because of divorce she would have been stoned before number 5. So, Jesus says, the one you are with now is not your husband. Now, we may have reason to think that she is shacking up. Perhaps she is. But, what Jesus says to her next is an empowering statement, " you speak the truth."

This woman didn't try to hide anything. She didn't try to give an explanation. No, she simply told the Lord the truth. The Lord who is TRUTH could work with that. Might I suggest that many of us can't get healed, redeemed or restored because we won't tell the truth. We won't come face to face with our selves, so that Jesus can operate in His wonderful forgiving love. Because the woman at the well spoke truth Jesus could use her.

Jesus spent more time in conversation with this woman than he spent with anyone else in the scriptures. For approximately forty verses there is a conversation going on. Perhaps, it is because he recognized that a woman with clarity and excitement will tell the whole truth! When women understand how much God loves them, how very needed they are in telling the gospel story -- in spite of who they have thought they were, and in spite of what others think about them, they can and will empower whole communities.

Do you have enough integrity about yourself that a whole community will follow you to Jesus? Will your word alone cause others to want to know our Lord? Is there something about you that makes people believe that if you said it, IT IS SO? Or are you the one who attempts to devalue another because of your limited thinking and understanding?

Thoughts For Discussion:
Are you speaking ill of someone because of your limited knowledge about them?
If so, write a forgiveness letter to them asking for forgiveness.
How powerful is your witness? When is the last time someone wanted to know Jesus because of you?