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August 1, 2021 | Javan Shashaty
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“Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony.”—John 4:39 (NIV)
Research shows the most effective form of marketing is word of mouth. In fact, according to Nielsen research conducted in 2014, “92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising.” Today, we’ll read about an amazing example of this put into action.
During Jesus’ ministry, He had countless conversations with eternal implications. One of the most captivating was with a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. In John 4:4 (NIV), it states, “Now he had to go through Samaria.” Technically, Jesus didn’t have to go through Samaria, but He took the direct route because He had a divine appointment waiting for Him.
It was around noon when Jesus decided to stop and rest. Shortly after, a Samaritan woman came by herself to draw water from the well (John 4:6-8). The fact that she was alone stood out because women usually drew water together in groups. They’d also come at a cooler time of the day than noon. This tells us that she deliberately chose a time when no one would be around. Why?
In John 4:16–18, Jesus reveals that she was a woman of poor reputation, married five times and living with a man that wasn’t her husband. No wonder she avoided others. When they saw her, they probably saw nothing more than a scarlet letter. But not Jesus!
When Jesus first encounters this woman, He asks her for a drink of water. Knowing Jews didn’t associate with Samaritans, she asks, how He could ask her, a Samaritan, for a drink. But Jesus moves right past that and His response is simply amazing. He says, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water” (John 4:10 NIV).
It’s an interesting choice of words considering the context of the rest of John. In the miracle at Cana and conversation with Nicodemus, water plays a major role. In a land subject to drought, water was truly a cherished gift from God.
Here, Jesus comes with a greater gift; not physical water, but a spiritual wellspring to life that flows into eternity. Living water, He calls it; a restoration of the soul through faith. At Jacob’s well, a place that symbolized the old covenant to both Samaritans and Jews, the new covenant is proclaimed.
Like Nicodemus, this woman was seeking what Jesus offered. She was amazed at His words. Jesus revealed her darkest secrets, but made sure she knew this wasn’t her whole story, that something greater was on the other side of the page! And after revealing her secrets, He offered her the gift. So, she asked Him to give her this water she required and desired because she didn’t want to feel empty anymore. She didn’t fully understand it, but she was ready to accept it . . . she had faith in Jesus, she believed Him. She knew she was in the presence of the Messiah. This woman, who had wandered alone for some time, avoiding others, received Jesus. How amazing!
But that’s not even the best part! The real miracle was how, because of her testimony, many came to Jesus and believed. In her brief encounter with Jesus, she saw her story radically change! Because of Jesus, she was able to turn the page on her shame and enter a new chapter of redemption and boldness. And she went into her town and shared her story, of how Jesus had changed her, and the people saw and believed. Now that’s word of mouth!
Just like this woman, there’s incredible power when you share your God-story with others; sharing what He’s done in your life. More than anything else, the evidence of a changed life speaks to the glory and grace of God’s power.
As Easter approaches, share your story! Tell people about the amazing grace of our Savior and allow His living water to spring forth out of you like a dam broken wide open.