From a sinner to a saint
Yesterday, we left the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman, just as Jesus had made the most astounding revelation to her – that he was the Messiah! It’s so difficult to contemplate this scene with anything other than complete awe! Imagine being the woman, going about her daily life, hiding in the shadows, avoiding crowds, having to draw water at the hottest part of the day and then meeting Jesus, who lovingly confronted her about her sinful behaviour and ultimately told her that He was the Messiah! How must it have felt to be in the presence of the Most Holy Son of God, on the receiving end of that message?
To understand the significance of this revelation, it’s worth noting that in other places in the Bible, we see Jesus talked of as the Messiah (Hebrew), /the Christ (Greek) and the Son of God, but these titles are used by others – Jesus never directly says anywhere other than here that He is the Messiah. He alludes to it by saying that the ‘Lord has anointed Him’ and that ‘Scripture has been fulfilled’ in Luke 4:18-21 and He responds to Peter’s assertion of who He is in Matthew 14:15-17 by saying that Peter’s insight had come from ‘His Father in heaven’, but apart from this instance with the woman at the well, Jesus never openly says the words, ‘I am He’. How staggering, then, that He should choose to disclose this most precious truth to a Gentile woman who was living in sin! What a demonstration of the inclusivity of God! Access to His throne room, which had previously only been possible through male Jewish priests was being opened to all through the saving work of Jesus!
And what happened to the woman? She had met with the Messiah! Her life would never be the same. Jesus had spoken to her differently than anyone she had ever known. He had offered her salvation and a life of knowing God’s abundant love. A life that fully satisfied, not one where she was moving from one thing to the next to try to find fulfilment. A life filled with living water, not the water from which she would become thirsty again. In response to His word, she instantly forgot her oppressing circumstances and her material needs, including her water jar, and ran off instead to tell the townspeople about Jesus. She ran to those same townspeople she had been avoiding by coming to the well in the scorching heat! She was completely transformed by her encounter with Jesus, from a woman who was fearful and ashamed to one who was accepted and confident. She had been entrusted with God’s most important gift. The revelation of His Son. What a beautiful, beautiful story.
And there’s more! The woman’s urgency to tell others led to many in her town being saved! Verses 28-30 tell us ‘So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?”. They went out of the town and were coming to him.’ And as a result, in verse 39, ‘Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did”.’ In fact, according to Eastern Orthodoxy the woman at the well went on to bring many, many more people to Christ and travelled extensively sharing the Gospel. She is venerated as Saint Photini and in ‘Greek sermons from the fourth to the fourteenth centuries she is called “apostle” and “evangelist” ‘ (www.orthodoxchristian.info/pages/photini.htm). Don’t forget that in the New Testament every believer is automatically a saint, we don’t need to be venerated by a denomination! You are a saint! How wonderful that this meeting not only changed the woman’s life for the better, but brought her into her Godly destiny as an apostle and evangelist! One encounter with Jesus is enough!
Father God, I thank you that each of us has a God-given destiny and I pray that you guide us as to how to live it out. I thank you that you are always waiting and keen to meet with us as you were with the Samaritan woman. Help us to share with others the Good News of who you are, so that they may seek after you for themselves and then say to us: “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 Saviour of the world”(v. 42). And finally, I thank you Lord, that as we turn away from our sins and give our lives to you, we are all transformed from sinners to saints.
In Jesus name, Amen