Me, A Witness?
You've Gotta Be Kidding!"
I am sure that most of you
are familiar with the sports drink Gatorade, especially
you who've played some kind of sport. There are
many sports drinks on store shelves today, but Gatorade
is the one that started it all. It claims to satisfy your
thirst better than anything in the world -- even better
One of their ads reads, "All
kinds of athletes reach for Gatorade. Nothing fuels them
better - not water, not juice, not other sports drinks.
Professional athletes get going and keep going, with Gatorade.
You can, too."
Convincing isn't it? But one
thing I've noticed is that, in all of the claims made by
Gatorade, not once have they ever claimed that if you drank
their product, you'd never be thirsty again. If someone
could pull that off, they'd really have something, wouldn't
they? Well, Jesus claimed to have that very thing! In fact,
that was the gist of His conversation with the woman at
I want you to think with me
about our urgent need to share Jesus with others. Though
getting them into church is of great importance, church
attendance is a bit tricky these days because so much can
It's like the man who was stranded
alone on the deserted island; when he was rescued, they
asked him what the three structures were that he had built
on the island. Three buildings seemed perplexing for just
one man. He said one was his house, one was his church,
and one was where he used to go to church before he got
his feelings hurt!
But church is important,
especially to God. Most everything He does on this earth,
He does through the local church. Jesus died and rose again
to offer us forgiveness and to establish the church. Church
attendance is a great way to gauge the spiritual condition
of a nation...and of our families.
Statistics reveal that more
than 40% of the unchurched say they'd go to church if someone
would just invite them. "Would you like to come to
church with me?" is a great way to begin a discussion
of spiritual things with your family, friends, or neighbors.
It's very similar, in fact, to what the woman at the well
sought to accomplish when she said, "He told me everything
I ever did." It's a way to introduce others to the
Savior. The results of her testimony were astounding.
Let's break down God's Word,
specifically vs. 39, to understand why her testimony was
such a big deal.
of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because
woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did."
- knowing what we know about Pentecost and the vast
numbers who believed in Jesus then, it's not hard for us
to believe and comprehend that many means a "large
or considerable number." We don't know the number of
Samaritans who lived in Sychar, but there is every reason
to believe it was a significant number, especially since
Jacob's well was there. Desert communities were often built
around wells since there were so few of them.
the Samaritans - this phrase either identifies the
region where the event took place, or implies that there
were many others who lived there who weren't Samaritans,
and that she'd gone to her own people and many of them had
that town - the town in which she lived was Sychar,
or Shechem, as it was called in Joshua & Judges. This
town has an incredible amount of history. Let's jog our
memories and recall the historical relationship between
Israel and Samaria.
Under Rehoboam, the son of
Solomon, the United Kingdom of Israel split into two fragments
(1 Kings 12): the northern kingdom of Israel, led by the
rebel Jeroboam, and the southern kingdom of Judah, under
Because Jeroboam feared that
the two kingdoms might reunite, he established a counterfeit
religion, with its own place of worship -- Bethel (1 Kings
12:25-33). Later, a wicked northern king named Omri built
the city of Samaria, which he made his capital, the capital
of the Northern Kingdom. He also built a temple and an altar
to Baal, a heathen deity (1 Kings 16:24-34). Eventually,
the name of this city became synonymous for the entire Northern
Kingdom; thus its name, Samaria.
After repeated warnings from
God's prophets, divine judgment finally came at the hand
of the Assyrians, who defeated Israel and scattered the
middle and upper classes throughout the other nations they
They replaced the dispersed
Israelites with heathen from other lands (2 Kings 17:23ff.).
These heathen intermarried with the remaining Israelites
resulting in a nation of "half-breeds," a most
distasteful and evil thing for a devout Jew (see Ezra 9
and 10; Nehemiah 13). Worse yet, the true religion of Israel
became intermingled with heathen idolatry.
When the Jews of the Southern
Kingdom of Judah were later taken captive by the Babylonians,
they were allowed to maintain their racial and religious
identity. After their 70 years of captivity were completed
and they were granted permission to return to their own
land, a number did so. When these returning exiles set out
to rebuild the temple and Jerusalem, the Samaritans offered
to help them and were summarily refused (Ezra 4:2ff.). In
about 400 B.C., the Samaritans constructed their own rival
temple on Mount Gerizim. At the end of the second century
B.C., this temple was destroyed by John Hyrcanus, the Hasmonean
ruler of Judea. This greatly increased hostilities between
the Jews and the Samaritans.
The Samaritans professed to
believe in the God of Israel and awaited the coming of Messiah
(see John 4:25). They accepted the first five books of the
Law, but rejected the rest of the Old Testament Scriptures.
Wherever they found it necessary to justify their religion
and their place of worship, they modified the Law. The relationship
between the Jews and the Samaritans was definitely strained.1
Some might think it a miracle
that Jesus would even go there, but He loved everyone the
same and was committed to providing salvation to Gentiles
as well as to Jews.
in him - "believe" means to have a conviction
that leads to a specific action; they placed their faith
in Jesus, they accepted Him as Messiah, they followed the
Lord as Savior; the One about whom she told them.
of - on account of, for the reason of,
woman's - not just any woman, but rather the one
who had encountered Jesus. The circumstances surrounding
this encounter were odd. The fact that she came out to get
water at this time of day, and that she came alone, suggested
that she was an outcast. Typically the women came in groups
and stayed together for protection; but not the Samaritan
woman. Because of her many relationships, few wanted to
be seen with her, and, here, no one was.
But Jesus didn't mind. He loves
the outcasts just as much as those in good standing with
society. He loves us all equally, no matter what we've done.
He took time for her just as He takes time for us. And even
though she was so insignificant to others that she wasn't
even given a name here, we can be sure Jesus knew her name
and cared as deeply for her as He did for each disciple
who gawked in disbelief that Jesus would minister to such
a woman like that.
"He told me everything I ever did."
- He knew things about her no one could know. He knows things
about you that no one else knows. He knows your deepest,
darkest secrets...and still loves you. Though I'm sure the
woman at the well was glad to have come to the well alone
when He started telling her everything she ever did, there
is no indication that she felt judged or belittled by the
Messiah -- just accepted, cared for, and loved.
we'll consider why her sharing her testimony with
the towns people was so incredible. Until then, let's take
some time to brush up on the details of our own testimony.
What do we tell others when we're excited about the special
insights God reveals to us when we spend time alone with
the Master? Do we still get excited? Do we, like this woman,
tell everyone we encounter? If not, why not? I hope we all
can learn from her example the incredible importance of
introducing others to the Savior.