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.”
The story of the woman at the well is a favourite of mine. And in this passage we have the aftermath of that story. The woman at the well was an outsider in every respect. She was an outsider in the eyes of her community, coming to collect water in the heat of the day presumably to avoid social interactions. She was an outsider in the eyes of Jesus’ people, the Jews, because she was a Samaritan. She was an outsider in the eyes of Jesus’ disciples because on top of being a Samaritan, she was a woman, and a woman who was not living a life of monogamy.
But Jesus chose her to speak with that day. He saw exactly who she was and loved her. He chose to honour her with his attention, his teaching and his grace. He chose her to be the bearer of good news to her community. He chose the outsider to bring a whole community IN. It reminds me of the passage in Psalm 118:22 referring to Jesus himself – ‘the stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’. God’s strategy has never been ‘majority wins’. Jesus doesn’t build a church that goes on to outlast him by thousands of years by gathering the most influential people in each community. He does it by loving the unseen, the overlooked, the broken, the individual person.
Lord help me to be present, open and ready for opportunities to listen and love those I come in to contact with today. Thank you that you are a God who sees the outsider and invites them in. Thank you for inviting me in.
Written by Rhiannon Mellor