We are all the woman at the well

In celebration of Women’s Day, I asked one of the women in my life – my daughter Rebekah – to write about one of the women in Jesus’ life.

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”

John 4:39

Whenever someone asks me what miracle in the Bible I like the most, or which parable is my favourite, or which teaching Jesus tells really gets me, I never know what to say. The truth is that I don’t have a favourite parable (not even the lost son), nor do I have a favourite miracle.

But the story that impacts me every time I read it is John 4, where Jesus speaks to the Samaritan woman at the well.

I count this as the most impactful narrative not for the obvious reasons: that Jesus is so radical that He speaks to not just a woman but to a Samaritan woman, and on top of that He speaks to her alone.  It is not my favourite encounter with Jesus because He offers her the living water.

I love this encounter because of seven very simple words, “He told me everything I ever did.” Jesus knew that this woman had five husbands and that the man she was with now wasn’t her husband.  Yet, Jesus does not walk down the other side of the road to avoid her, nor does He speak down to her.  Instead, Jesus speaks with her and has a conversation with her as if she was a friend that He had known for years. This is radical, but still not the most radical part of this chapter. The most radical part for me comes through in verse 39. It is the beginning words of verse 39 that speaks to me on a deep level, “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony…”

I have always been under the impression that your testimony had to be this elaborate Sault to Paul moment, where you are blinded for days. I thought the more radical your conversion was the more people you would reach. This is a lie; this woman’s testimony was seven words long.  It was not a sermon.  It was not a conference.  She did not sit someone down for hours and begin at Genesis and end at Revelation. This woman’s testimony was SEVEN words. If seven words can impact many people from a town, imagine what your testimony can do. Can you put your testimony down to seven words? Do you have a seven-word testimony?

While writing this, I have tried to put my own testimony into seven words, and these are the words I came up with: “He told me everything I ever did.” But, He still loves me and calls me daughter.

Now, my testimony is much longer than seven words, and I imagine so was hers. I am not ashamed of my past as I know that God wants to take the mess of my past and turn it into a message. However, that’s not the point of this piece of writing.

If you are reading this and you don’t feel worthy to share what God has done for you; or maybe you’re reading this and you don’t feel like what you have to say is important; maybe you are reading this and you feel like you aren’t significant enough. Maybe you don’t feel qualified, maybe you don’t feel ready, or maybe someone has belittled you. I am sure the Samaritan woman felt all these emotions and more, but somehow, she came up with one of the shortest yet greatest testimonies of all time.

I want to encourage each person to find your inner Samaritan woman, (not the one with 5 husbands and a beau on the side). I want you to find the woman/man inside of you that is aware of their sin but knows that Jesus doesn’t call you by your sin, he calls you by your name.

While I was writing this, I felt like God was talking directly to me. I have always read this narrative in the Bible and felt moved. I never understood why until today: the reason it moves me so much is because I am the Samaritan woman in so many ways. There were days where I was the one sitting at the well, alone, sitting in my own sin, ashamed and embarrassed by who I was. Then there was a day where I was no longer sitting alone at the well, but instead I was sitting with the saviour, and He knows everything I have ever done, and He still loves me.

I want to urge you to let go of whatever sin still holds you captive, whatever sin keeps you up at night. God knows all about it and He still loves you. I encourage you to step into the rest of your life with this knowledge.

God Bless.

Rebekah Rivas

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