(John 4:27-30, 39-45)
In the last post we looked at the conversation between Jesus and the woman at the well. We saw the interactions between them and there were lessons that are useful to understand today coming from that discussion. As we continue to look at this situation there is still more to be understood. So now we will pick up from when the disciples returned and when the woman left them to return into the town.
The Woman’s Joy
When the disciples returned they were amazed at the conversation going on between Jesus and the woman. They probably suffered the same prejudices of the Jews at that time who did not have anything to do with Samaritans, and that may have added to their surprise. However they did not say anything or interrupt but just looked on.
The woman though had discovered the Messiah. She knew he was to come for she said as much, and when Jesus told her that He was the Messiah or the Christ, she must have been amazed and ecstatic with joy.
She immediately left her water jar at the well, completely forgetting the reason why she had come there in the first place, and returned to the town. She went to all of the people and in her excitement she told them that she had found the Messiah. Her witness was for them to, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” (verse 29)
The Townspeople’s reaction
Now this is interesting because we see the townspeople believed what she had to say. There is a very important point in this for what we see is that Jesus gave this woman the ministry to proclaim the coming of the Christ to the townspeople and they listened to her and believed. This is a very real example of women in ministry.
She must have been very persuasive for the next thing we see is that the townspeople all come out to see and to meet Jesus for themselves. When they see him and listened to the words he had to say, they invited him to remain with them for another two days, which he and the disciples did.
I should also mention again that this was a town of the Samaritans. Jesus had no qualms or concerns about staying with them and teaching them the truth of the new covenant. It shows once again that this truth and the word of God was to be available to all mankind, regardless of race or standing in the world. Anyone who comes to the Lord in faith will be accepted.
The Growth of Faith
Upon hearing the words of the Lord the people showed their faith. Many had believed on the testimony of the woman, and then many more believed when they listened to Jesus. “They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” (verse 42)
As their knowledge increased in the word of the Lord and what he was teaching, so too they increased in faith. And this is exactly what Paul showed much later saying in Romans 10:11-17:
11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”
12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.
13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?”
17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
The faith of the townspeople exploded in growth as they heard the word of the Lord. They grew in faith through their knowledge of the word, first in the testimony of the woman who brought them the good news, and then in the teachings of the Lord himself.
And it is the same for us today. Do you want to strengthen your faith? Then study and learn the words of the Lord. The more we learn and know about Jesus and the truth of the new covenant, the stronger our faith will become. Basically this is common sense. With any subject the more you know the more you understand. And in matters that cause some people to fear or be concerned, it is knowledge that removes the fears and concerns.
So I would encourage everyone to do as these Samaritans did. Listen to the words of the Lord and apply them in your life to find the path to salvation. Seek His truth and search diligently to find the way. Jesus said, “I am the way.” (John 14:6) He also said, “I am the door.” (John 10:9) Jesus is the way to the kingdom of God and we enter through the door of His sacrifice. But to open the door we need a key, and faith is the key that opens the door, as these Samaritans also discovered. They were accepted through their faith and we need to also find the faith to be accepted too.