They 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.”                     

John 4:42 (ESV)

A poor self-image, a tendency to make bad choices, and a life full of shame led her to gather water when no one else would be around. Little did she know that she would encounter the Son of God and that her life—and the lives of those around her—would be forever changed. 

When Jesus met the unnamed “woman at the well,” He saw more than a horribly damaged person. He saw beyond her condition to the eternal impact that could occur if only one person who encountered the grace of God would be willing to share the good news of His love. For her, she only saw Jesus as a Jewish man who was uncharacteristically asking for a drink of water from a Samaritan woman. Traditionally, there was nothing but ill will between Jews and the Samaritans who the Jews considered to be “half-breeds.” Before the conversation ended, however, she knew Him to be the Messiah who saw through her layers of shame to the person she had been created to be. And then, she did something extraordinary. She returned to the same neighbors she had been avoiding telling them she had encountered the Messiah face to face.

Some Samaritans took her at her word and believed in Jesus because of the obvious change in her countenance and the passion with which she spoke. Others were willing to extend what would have been an unimaginable gesture of actually inviting a Jew to stay with them. Imagine the conversations that were had in this Samaritan village between the townspeople and the King of the Jews! Over the course of the two days Jesus remained there, many more came to believe in Him. 

The moment of transformation is found in the verse above when the townspeople acknowledged that the woman’s account of her experience with Jesus had captured their interest, but it was their own personal encounter with Him that captured their hearts and led to their own belief. The truth is, none of us are able to truly confess Him as Lord until we experience the transforming presence of Jesus.