27Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, "What do you want?" or, "Why are you speaking with her?" 28Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, 29"Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?" 30They left the city and were on their way to him.
31Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, "Rabbi, eat something." 32But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you do not know about." 33So the disciples said to one another, "Surely no one has brought him something to eat?" 34Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. 35Do you not say, 'Four months more, then comes the harvest'? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. 36The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37For here the saying holds true, 'One sows and another reaps.' 38I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor."
39Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I have ever done." 40So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. 41And many more believed because of his word. 42They 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 truly the Savior of the world."
What a turnaround! One moment the Samaritan woman was in a conversation about water; the next moment she had her townspeople come out to Jesus to accept him as their savior. Jesus' conservation with her, especially the prophetic word about her home life, opened her heart up to see who Jesus really was. And in her new found excitement she told her neighbors about Jesus.
We can surmise that previous to her encounter with Jesus, the woman would not have been so eager to interact with her neighbors given her background. But that understandable reticence changed overnight (not even) as she excitedly and eagerly told everyone within earshot about the man she had encountered at the well.
Well, they had to hear for themselves, so they came to meet Jesus. They were not disappointed. They were persuaded by what they heard. "[He] is truly the Savior of the world," they said.
This change in the woman was not so extraordinary that we can't relate to her. I'm sure she had some worthy traits like most of us; I'm sure she had some not-so-worthy traits, again, like the rest of us. What changed wasn't fundamentally who she was. What changed was her happy willingness to share the good news about someone who changed her life. Perhaps the contrast from her sense of shame and her avoidance of people to her open expression and joy got the attention of those with whom she spoke. Perhaps it was a stirring of hope to find for themselves something they sensed in the woman. We can't know for sure.
What is sure is what happened as the passage describes. Moved by the woman's testimony and the words of Jesus, the other Samaritans believed! PTL!
Let's pray: Lord Jesus, we ask you today to remind us that knowing you is indeed good news worthy of sharing with others. Help us to share with others what you mean in our lives. May our conversations be full of openness and truth, including the truth about who you are. In your name, amen.