Now many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of what the woman said when she testified, “He told me everything I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. Many more believed because of what he said. And they told the woman, “We no longer believe because of what you said, since we have heard for ourselves and know that this really is the Savior of the world.” (John 4:39-42 ESV)
Any time Jesus interacts with a woman, I tend to perk up and pay attention. He’s always so gentle and kind. This was unusual in the Jewish world. While Jewish women were generally treated better than women in other cultures, there was still an expectation that women did not matter as much as men. Foreign women had even less value, so the fact that Jesus takes the time to talk with a Samaritan woman is pretty counter-cultural.
And if her heritage and gender aren’t bad enough, John reveals earlier in this chapter that this woman Jesus strikes up a conversation with also has a reputation. She’s had five husbands and currently lives with a man she is not married to. That’s why she is fetching water from the well during the hottest part of the day, so she can avoid the other women.
This woman is an outcast in all meanings of the word, yet Jesus takes the time to talk with her.
A Divine Appointment
In fact, it seems this meeting at the well is a divine appointment, not just for this woman, but for the whole town.
As our author John explains, Samaritans and Jews didn’t have many dealings with each other. Samaritans were not full-bred Jews, but had a mix of Jewish and Gentile heritage. Still, pieces of Jewish culture and beliefs remained, including the belief that Messiah was coming as the prophets foretold. The woman’s testimony about Jesus was convincing enough that the people went to him and asked him to stay. And as he taught them, they began to believe.
The woman’s testimony served as an invitation to Jesus. The people believed what she said and they went to hear more and meet this Jesus for themselves. Once they did, they came to the life-changing conclusion that Jesus wasn’t just a prophet or the Jewish Messiah. He was the Savior of the world (verse 42).
Jesus Came for Everyone
Jesus spends most of his ministry teaching and healing and ministering to his own people, yet here on this little side trip through Samaria, these people get it. Jesus came for everyone. His salvation is for the entire world.
How wonderful that must have been the day the people believed—the day they realized they weren’t excluded anymore. They weren’t considered other-than. Instead, they saw Jesus’ salvation for them, too.
It’s for us, too—for us non-Jews who weren’t blood-born into Israel’s family, yet are born again as children of Abraham when we choose to believe Jesus and receive Him as our Savior.
How marvelous, how wonderful is the love and intentionality of Jesus. He seeks out any and all who are far from him. He desires relationship. He desires that none shall perish, but have everlasting life with him (John 3:16).