Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I’ve ever done.’ (John 4:39 NIV)
Many Jews avoided Samaria as they travelled from Jerusalem to Galilee. This is because Jews regarded the Samaritans as people who compromised their Jewish faith. As a result of invasion from Assyria in 722 BC, the people of Samaria added the Assyrian religions to their faith in Yahweh, the God of Israel. The people of Samaria were also known as half-breeds as many Assyrian invaders inter-married with them. As John writes his Gospel, he even says this: For Jews do not associate with Samaritans. (John 4:9 NIV)
Yet, Jesus is intentional about passing through Samaria. Now he had to go through Samaria. (John 4:4 NIV) Jesus decides that he should somehow reach out to the people of Samaria. He goes to Sychar in Samaria and meets this woman at the well.
Both my parents gave their lives to Christ because of the impact of British missionaries who came to what was known then as Malaya to share their Christian faith. After World War 2, there was a great movement of missionaries to parts of the British Commonwealth. Like Jesus deciding to go to Samaria, these missionaries were intentional about going to these countries. Like going to Samaria, these missionaries went to a culture that was quite different from their original cultures. God opened the door for them to share their faith with people like my parents.
Jesus starts the conversation with this woman at the well by asking her for a drink of water. He then draws her out by deep conversation even to the extent of discussing her 5 former husbands. At the end of the conversation, he makes this woman realise that he, Jesus, is the Messiah (John 4:26).
This woman then returns to her village and shares about the Messiah she has found. The main impact of Jesus on her was that he told her everything she ever did, a reference to the conversation about her 5 former husbands (John 4:39). John tells us that the woman’s testimony about how Jesus impacted her impressed the whole village (John 4:39).
I believe that Jesus intentionally reaches out to us through people and circumstances. In my parents’ lives, it was the British missionaries. When we share how Jesus impacts our lives, it also impacts the people we share those stories with. God uses our stories to sow seed in the listeners’ hearts. The woman shares her testimony with the people of the village. The seed is sown. The Samaritan village turns to the Messiah.