And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. And many more believed because of His own word. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.” (John 4:39-42)
The Noble Samaritans
Jesus had come to the well of Jacob to refresh Himself while His disciples went to bring food. As he rested at the well, a woman of Samaria came to draw water. The discourse of Jesus and the woman at the well is a striking testimony of God’s message to save all people. Samaritans were despised by the Jews. A Samaritan woman of questionable character would seem to be less desired. She was shocked Jesus spoke to her but soon the words of Jesus would change her life. Her reaction was to return to the city and tell everyone of her encounter with the man at the well. She told the men Jesus had told her all she had done and possibly this man was the Christ. Curious, the men of the city came to see Jesus. What happened next was even more remarkable.
The Holy Spirit does not record the teaching of Jesus to the people of Samaria but the reaction is clear. Many Samaritans believed in Jesus. A mongrel race, despised and hated by the Jews, listened to the word of God and they believed in Him. In contrast, Jesus was rejected in His own hometown. He was despised by the Jewish leadership. Eventually the Jews would have Jesus killed by the Roman authorities. But at a well outside the city of Sychar, a Bible study with the Lord turned the hearts of many Samaritans to believe Jesus was the Son of God. They implored Jesus to stay with them and He remained two more days. What an exciting time that must have been. How refreshing for Jesus to find such open hearts willing to listen to His teaching. What separated the Samaritans from so many others is their desire to listen to Jesus and make their decisions based simply on their own minds. They told the woman how grateful they were for her bringing Jesus to their attention but their faith was not based on her – it came from hearts that opened the truth of Jesus Christ and His word.
In the work of evangelism there are many Samaritans longing to hear the good news of Jesus Christ. The woman at the well was not a woman of good character. Samaria was a land rejected by the people of God but not by God. Jesus had a bountiful harvest in the land of Samaria. What set these folk apart from so many is their open hearts. They hungered for a message of hope. Their hearts were receptive to the powerful teaching of the Son of God. How many Jewish cities begged Jesus to stay with them so He could teach them? How thrilling those two days were for the people who soaked in the word of God’s Son. It all began because Jesus knew the power of talking to a woman of Samaria. Teaching the gospel of Christ should never be measured by the character of the person but the measure of the heart. The disciples were shocked Jesus was talking to the woman because they would never have thought this woman was deserving. It is sad when we make that same mistake today.
The noble Samaritans remind the church there are many people in the world who are hungering for the truth that will set them free. Sometimes all it takes is a conversation at a water fountain. The bounty of a simple contact can lead to so many more blessings. What sets the Samaritans apart is their willing hearts to hear the truth. In the lives of every Christian are people who pass by who would believe because they heard the word – if only given the opportunity. The Samaritans believed because they heard the word of God. They believed it. They obeyed. Their lives were changed. This all began because of a discussion at a well near the city of Sychar.
The gospel is for lifeboats, not showboats, and a man must make up his mind which boat he is going to operate. (Vance Havner; 1901-1986)