The Book of John

Friday: Jesus and the Woman of Samaria


Theme: Witnessing to Others
In this week’s lessons we look at the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman, and see that once the Lord brings someone to saving faith, one proof of their conversion is that they tell others.
Scripture: John 4:1-42
Now I think that’s the point at which the woman was born again. You say, “Well, why do you think that?” I think that because of the results. You begin to see it in her life. She didn’t understand a whole lot at this point, I imagine, though by the blessing of the Holy Spirit, she was beginning to understand what was important. This woman really did understand that Jesus was the Messiah, and therefore if he spoke as the Messiah, what he had to say was true.
There are two ways John indicates this. One is somewhat symbolic, although it’s not entirely that. We read in verse 28, “Leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people…” John often picks up on little details like that, and yet he doesn’t do it without a reason. You see, when he says she left her water jar, that’s what the story was about initially. She had come down the hill to draw water, and she was going to take the water back up. Jesus had then asked her for a drink and said after she had raised an objection, “If you knew who it was, he’d give you living water, and then you wouldn’t have to come to draw because it would be flowing up within you, a spring of living water.”
Now you see, she leaves her water jar. It’s a way of saying that now that she’d been born again, she had the living water within and didn’t need the water jar. Now, as I say, that’s partially symbolic because a stone jar doesn’t relate in any very tangible way to what was actually happening in her heart. Yet, it’s only partially symbolic because when she left her water jar, it also meant that she had her mind on other things. She had forgotten about the water because she had something else to talk about, something that meant a great deal more to her.
So she headed back to the town in order to witness to the people, which is the second thing. She began to witness to them right away: “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” So the people came out of the town and made their way down the hill toward him. Isn’t that interesting? This woman became a great and effective witness, and she had only been converted for a matter of minutes. You might ask how much theology you have to know to be a witness for Jesus Christ. The answer is that it’s not a matter of theology; it’s a matter of being born again. If you’re born again and Jesus Christ really is your Savior, then you want to talk about him the way this woman did.
And God blessed her witness. After she went up that hill and talked to the people in the town, they asked Jesus to come and stay with them. They, too, came to believe, and their testimony was this: “We no longer believe just because of what you said,” although that had obviously made a great impression, “but we have heard him for ourselves and now we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
I said earlier that this is the climax of the story, but before the climax we have a little postscript, and the postscript has to do with the disciples. Jesus was not only interested in the conversion of the woman; he was also interested in the training of the Twelve. And they weren’t very well trained at this point. Jesus had sent them into town, and while they were there they had missed the conversation between Jesus and the woman. So he began to teach them a little bit about the harvest. He said, “Look, I tell you, people say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest.’ I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields; they are ripe for harvest.” He must have gestured upward toward all the people coming to see him as a result of the woman’s testimony to those in her town.
It’s a way of saying, “Look, don’t miss the harvest. There it is. It’s all around you. Even here in Samaria, among the Samaritans. Why? Because I am the Savior of the world.” Where do you live? Do you live in Philadelphia? Jesus Christ is the Savior of Philadelphia. Do you live in New Jersey? Jesus Christ is the Savior of New Jersey. Do you come from a great distance—New York, California, or abroad? You have a chance to witness there because Jesus is the Savior of the people who live there.
In the very first chapter, Jesus Christ is introduced as the light. And what does it say of the light in verse 9? “The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.” He was the light of the world. Then later on in that first chapter, John the Baptist points him out as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Coming to the third chapter, we are told that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son.” That means your world, your neighbors, your family, your friends, whoever they may be. You’re the one that’s called to be a witness to them.
Are you a witness to them? The woman couldn’t help but talk about Jesus. If you know Jesus Christ, and you’re in love with Jesus Christ, you’ll talk about him, and God will bless it. Not with everybody you speak to. We don’t know what God is doing in the lives of other people, but he will bless it. And there are people who will come to know him and afterwards they will say, as these people of Samaria did, “Now we believe, not because of your witness alone, but we appreciate the fact that you are the one who told us about Jesus, and communicated these truths to us. But we have now come to know him for ourselves, and he really is the Savior of the world.”
Study Questions:

What are the two signs that the woman was converted when Jesu declared himself to be the Messiah?
What does Dr. Boice conclude is the climax of the story? What is the postscript?

Application: Whom has the Lord brought into your life who needs to hear the Gospel from you?
For Further Study: Download and listen for free to a message from James Boice about another encounter Jesus had, “Jesus and the Money Changers.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)

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