Let’s go to John 4:27-30. We’re continuing with the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. The narrative here in John 4 isn’t explicit that she believed in Jesus and was born again but I think we’ll see that the way the story unfolds following verse 26 leads us to believe she did believe in Christ as a result of this exchange with Him.
Remember we noted last time that the point of chapter 4 is found in verse 26. The Samaritan woman has responded to Jesus’ statement about the question about worship, that it wasn’t one of place, it wasn’t one of where one should worship, but it’s a question of how one should worship. The only true worship is worship that comes from the heart. And she responds showing that she really doesn’t see who Christ is yet with a statement like, “yes someday the Messiah will come and clear up all these questions and disputes, he’ll make it all clear”. And Jesus responded by revealing to her who he is with this wonderful statement that had to surprise her “I who speak to you am he.” I am the Messiah.
I would like to have seen her face.
Well, not only was she surprised but we’ll see there’s surprise all around — for everyone but Christ.
Let me remind you that John is helping us see that Jesus is God in flesh — that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name (John 20:31).
Let’s look at verses 27 through 30 and lets think about the pointers to Jesus’ deity and lessons we learn about leading people to him.
When we read this passage we’ll see some surprise at how Jesus is working. We may even catch ourselves being surprised at how Jesus works. But if we really will fix our hearts in faith on God and His Word and His Son we’ll find ourselves far less surprised at how Jesus still works today and we’ll be more praise filled that He does still do His work in the hearts and lives of sinners.
So as we come to verse 27 Jesus has just told the woman at the well that He’s the Messiah.
27 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?” 28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him.
Let’s note something we pointed to last week about how Jesus is doing his work in this passage. It may surprise us — it seems to have surprised His disciples — but Jesus took the time, made the time, made himself available for one needy soul. And what an interesting individual to whom he’s made himself available. Does that surprise you?
Did you see the surprise of the disciples? Verse 27 says, “they marveled that he was talking with a woman.” But Jesus was all about tearing down barriers to the life changing, transforming, saving, Gospel. If there’s a barrier to the Gospel in the way, Jesus is going to tear it down.
Now it might have been one thing in their minds for Jesus to have asked this woman for a drink of water, parched and wearied and hungry as he was and they were from their travels — but a conversation with a woman in public was surprising to them. Note that the Apostle John doesn’t tell us they’re surprised that he’s speaking to a Samaritan, he doesn’t say they’re surprised he’s speaking to such a sinner as this, he tells us they marveled that he was talking with a woman.
About this Leon Morris writes:
“…no Rabbi would have carried on a conversation with a woman. One of their sayings ran: ‘A man shall not be alone with a woman in an inn, not even with his sister or his daughter, on account of what men may think. A man shall not talk with a woman in the street, not even with his own wife, and especially not with another woman, on account of what men may say.'” (Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John, pg. 274)
The disciples arrive and can’t believe what they’re seeing. Jesus is speaking with a woman. That was remarkable in itself. But Jesus wasn’t afraid to challenge the status quo that hindered his purpose for being here on earth. Whatever Jesus does he has good reason for doing.
And here’s a pointer to the deity of Christ. The arrival of his disciples at just the moment he’s telling the Samaritan woman that he is the Messiah is no accident. Had they come earlier they may have interrupted the witness and work of Christ in this woman’s life. Had they come later they would have missed him sharing the Gospel with a woman, a Samaritan, an individual with a seriously damaged reputation.
Jesus has just told this woman what she needs to know to be saved and at the same time he gives a very clear illustration to his disciples, and us, that salvation is for all mankind. The Gospel doesn’t play favorites.
Well, Jesus’ disciples may have shown their prejudice against this woman with the look on their faces but they knew better than to ask, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” They may have thought it but they didn’t say it. Look at what happens next. Verse 28 says, So the woman left her water jar and went away into town…
So, did the presence of the surprised looking disciples run her off? No, she left her water jar. Why did she leave the water jar? Did she leave it so Jesus could have the drink he’d asked for? Was she absent minded? Did she leave it because it was too heavy to run to town with? Did she leave it because she planned to return? I say yes to all those possibilities.
She certainly could have left it as a courtesy to Jesus but I think there’s more too it than that.
I think this is the first pointer to her conversion. Was she absent minded in leaving the water pot? Yes, I think she was absent minded because she’d come to faith in Christ and she had far more important things to think about than the water pot. Why? Because she “went away into town and said to the people, 29 ‘Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?'”
She’s absent minded because She had good news and when you’ve been transformed by Christ you just have to tell others.
Did she leave the water pot because it was too heavy to run to town with? Yes — this was no small pot, she would have had to carry it on her head or shoulder and she was in a hurry. Again she has good news to tell.
Did she leave the water pot because she was coming back? Yes, she’s coming back to hear more from Jesus and she’ll get the water pot then.
Here’s another pointer to her salvation. Note what happens when Jesus saves you. We see it in this Samaritan woman’s actions.
It’s a small town and everybody likely knows this woman’s lifestyle, they know that she’s had five husbands, they know she’s in an illicit relationship with another man now and where does she go? She takes off to town and she heads straight for the people she’s been avoiding. Why does she do that?
Here’s a reminder for us of the Deity of Christ. Her guilt and shame are gone. How do we know? Look at what she says in verse 29.
29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did…”
Before Christ gently pointed to her sinful lifestyle she’d been trying to avoid these people. Before Jesus, God in flesh, the Word made flesh, pierced her soul with the truth that made clear the sad state of her life she’d gone out of her way to avoid the guilt and shame of her sin laden life. She needed to experience the guilt and shame of her sin before she’d come to a point of repentance. But now I think she’s repentant that’s why the guilt and shame are gone. And this is a pointer to the deity of Christ, because only God can take away the guilt and shame of sin.
Some preach today that there’s no need for guilt, there’s no need for shame over your sin, there’s no need for repentance, “just believe”, they say. That’s not what the Bible teaches and that’s also not a new problem. Charles Spurgeon spoke of this same problem in the year 1882. He says,
If any teacher leads you to hope that, without repentance, or any sense of sin, you may be saved, he is not of Christ! I charge you, fling away any hope which is not consistent with your own entire hopelessness apart from Jesus! If you have not known yourself a sinner, you cannot know Christ as a Savior. Some are preaching, nowadays, a dry-eyed faith and men seem to jump into assurance as if there were no new birth, no conviction of sin and no repentance. But it is not so — “You must be born again.” That birth is not without pangs. Trust in Christ brings a hatred of sin and a mourning because of it. A man cannot hate what he does not know, but this woman was made to see her sin and that sight proved that the Messiah was dealing with her.
The non-repentance prophets cry, “Peace, peace,” where there is no peace! They film the sore, but Jesus puts the knife into it, lays it wide open and makes the patient see the gangrene of the wound — and then He closes it up and, with His heavenly ointment makes a sure cure of it. There is no binding up the heart that was never broken! There is no comforting a man who has always been comfortable! There is no making a man righteous who always was righteous — there is no washing a man who has no filthiness. No, and this is what the Messiah does — He lays bare the disease and this is a proof that He is sent of God because He does not adopt the flimsy, flattering mode of deceivers, but goes straight to the truth. Her argument is — He must be the Messiah, for He revealed me to myself! (C. H. Spurgeon, The Samaritan Woman And Her Mission, Sermon No. 1678)
So now her guilt and shame over her sin are gone. Only God’s healing work of regeneration can do that.
And what does she do? She hurries to town to tell the very people she’s been avoiding that they should come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Not until she met Christ and was saved from the sin that brought so much guilt would she have said something like that.
And this too is an illustration of Jesus’ deity. She tells the townspeople, he told me all that I ever did. Only the Messiah could know all the things I’d ever done.
Now, certainly Jesus didn’t recount for her every detail of her life but he obviously knew enough of the sordid details of her life that she could only conclude that he knew much more. It’s like when you have a close call and you say your life flashed before your eyes. Jesus revealed that he knew about her secret history and her life flashed before her eyes. She realized he knew all the sin she’d ever done.
Here’s something else. Probably just as remarkable to her was that not only did this man know her sinful secrets but he was still willing to talk with her. And even more — he offered her the living water, that will become in her a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
Well, as a result of her telling the people about this man who knew all about her, and posing the question, Can this be the Christ? verse 30 says the people went out of the town and were coming to him.
The idea here is that this was a large number of people. Not just a handful. So how did this woman who had such a bad reputation gather such a response? Well she didn’t go emphatically stating that this man was someone they would have to go meet and that he is the Messiah. No, she stated it as a question.
But, you might ask, if she was convinced about who Jesus is, even converted, why did she not make an emphatic statement that this is the Christ? She probably knew they’d reject a claim like that from a woman like her outright. But if she posed a question she just might convince some to investigate and learn for themselves that this is the Messiah. And that was effective, because many went with her to see Jesus and verse 39 says “Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me all that I ever did.'”
Are you surprised at how Jesus works? You ought not be. Jesus was willing to wait for this woman, he was patient with her, he was gentle with her, he made time for this one woman whom many others had written off. And the living water, new life and forgiveness of sins was hers. And God used her testimony to bring many more to himself.