27Just 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?” 28So 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?” 30They went out of the town and were coming to him. 31Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and 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 town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 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 indeed the Savior of the world.”
As we return to our story of the Samaritan woman at the well, the disciples now join Jesus after their trip into town to buy some food. As they approach, the conversation between Jesus and the woman ends and she runs back to town. Of course the disciples were completely shocked to find Jesus talking with a woman. That just wasn’t done. But they wisely keep their comments about that to themselves.
The woman does a telling thing; she leaves her water jar. That says three things to me. One, she planned to return immediately; two, she was willing to let Jesus and the disciples continue to use her stuff; and three, she was in a hurry to share Jesus with her friends. Carrying that jar would have slowed her down.
The woman’s plan to return speaks to the fact that faith has begun to grow in her heart. She wants more of whatever Jesus has to offer. Her rather cryptic conversation with Jesus has ignited something new in her and she wants to pursue it. And it is such amazing news that she also wants to share it with her neighbors. “He told me all that I ever did.” That’s all she says and their interest is sparked. She doesn’t try to convince them or doesn’t give a great deal of detail. All she tells them is what happened to her. The simplicity of that witness is phenomenal and serves as an excellent example for all of us who want to share the Gospel. Keep it simple. Her willingness to leave her jar for Jesus to continue using is also telling of her heart and the generosity of spirit that lives within her. She may have been a prostitute, but she was not unkind. And her life is about the change. No longer will she be the town prostitute. She will now be the one who brought the Good News of Jesus to the village.
Jesus, in the meantime is trying to have yet another teachable moment with the disciples. This woman is a prime example of the fact that the process of sharing the faith and seeing someone come the know Jesus can be a long process. This woman had learned of God from her ancestors although the message was rather garbled and broken. She does have enough knowledge to recognize the Promised Savior when she sees Him. Jesus uses her story to help His disciples see that they are now part of a grander picture. They will become pieces of the faith puzzle that comes together for millions of people, including us. I doubt if they really understood that teaching in the moment, but that didn’t matter at the time. When all things had been accomplished, their understanding fell into place.
All believers have a good story to tell. We can share how our lives have been changed by Jesus with an unbelieving world. Just tell your own story. No need for extra knowledge or a deeper understanding. Your experience is valid and valuable. Leave your “stuff” behind and run into town and share it!