27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?” 28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him. 31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” 33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?” 34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37 Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.” Many Samaritans Believe 39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers. 42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
We learn some of the details of this woman’s history from the previous section of John. A sorry summary of shame and shadow. A woman whose lot is such that she avoids the community well gathering by enduring the midday heat to gather her water. We know how her world tells this story. But Jesus enters that story and this passage follows the aftermath. When Jesus reframes and retells her story not only does her world come alive with new hope and shameless enthusiasm but she becomes the catalyst for eternal transformation in her community. Not only does Jesus embolden her to go back to her neighbours, those neighbours are awakened to Jesus and their deepest most wonderful dreams of salvation come alive.
Let Jesus retell your story. All failures and regrets; alienation and shadow, get overwhelmed by living friendship with Jesus. Old burdens get replaced by the deep revelation that you matter to God, the realisation that you haven’t been forgotten and that you truly have a place to belong.
Dear Jesus, thank you for sitting with me by the well. Invigorate me and send me to my community. Help me to tell your story – your story in me and through me. Awaken the eternal hope of Jesus amongst my friends, family and neighbours. Amen!
Written by Sam Stewart