“The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” They went out of the town and were coming to him.
Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.”So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”
Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. 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.””
(John 4:25–42 ESV)
Verses 25-26. Jesus reveals to her that He is the messiah. Stop. Jesus reveals that He is God who has condescended Himself to redeem His people from their bondage and shame. He reveals this to an immoral, outcast woman who has no worth in either her eyes or the eyes of the world in which she lived. Jesus’ good words of forgiveness and redemption are only spoken to those who feel unworthy, alone and dirty because good people see no need for grace. Until you see yourself as the Samaritan women, until you identify deeply with this woman, the shame destroying message of grace will not resonate deeply in your soul. Unless you see yourself as no different than the Samaritan woman, grace will provide no satiation for your soul; you will continue to dig out cisterns for yourself that can hold no water. The unconditional love, approval and acceptance of God only quenches the thirst of those who see themselves as unloveable, dirty, rejected, unworthy. Remember your chains.
The disciples were shocked that Jesus was talking to a woman – especially a woman from Samaria. The woman left and proclaimed Christ to the town. This was no small feat for an outcast, but she had tasted hope for the first time in a very long time. She engaged the people in town and invited them to see this man who told her everything that she had ever done – and she had apparently done a lot. And many believed based upon her testimony alone. The people were apparently convinced that something significant must have happened to her and they all came to see Jesus. They asked Him to stay with them, so He stayed two more days. How interesting is that? Jesus stays with a group of outcasts two extra days! Jesus loves those who are unloveable by the world’s standards and yet we often times seek to be loveable – that is to bring something of merit before the Almighty – instead of resting in the love that He has for us.
This unclean, unacceptable group of outcasts profess Jesus as the Savior of the World. He is not only the Savior of the Jews, but also the Savior of the world! He saves all people – from every nation, tribe and tongue! First to the Jews (Nicodemus in John 3:1-15), then to the Samaritans (John 4:1-42) and then to the Gentiles (the official at Capernaum in John 4:46-54). The disciples were confused and encouraged Him to eat, but Jesus had a more pressing agenda than to fill His stomach. Accomplishing the mission of redemption for which He came was of greater importance than satisfying His physical hunger. We should do the same, but more than that, we should marvel at how the God-man regularly placed His needs as secondary in order to serve His creation. Think about that, this is no ordinary king. Kings are served. This King – the King of the universe – came to serve the created. The Creator serving the created – that is backwards, but that is what it took to undo the effects of the fall (Mark 10:45, Matthew 20:28).
Often times we read this passage and use it to motivate (or manipulate) ourselves and others into going to share the gospel. After all, the fields are ripe for the harvest, we conclude. When Jesus said, “the fields are ripe for the harvest,” He is referring to the crowd of Samaritan’s who were coming toward them which would believe in the gospel. In God’s kingdom, the unwanted outcasts are welcomed with open arms. Should we go and share the gospel, of course! But we should marvel all the more at how the God of the universe made Himself nothing to seek and save outcasts like you and me. As we marvel at that, we will be transformed and will actually want to share the good news with others.