For those of us from a church context, the woman at the well is a familiar story. I encourage all of you to talk a minute to read John 4:7-42.
This passage tells a story of a woman, who after encountering Jesus, immediately goes and tells everyone she knows about him. This is the account of what she did:
“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 ... The people of that town came to Jesus, and they encountered him too. What happened after that? And many more believed because of His word. 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 4:28-30, 41-42
The woman brought them to Jesus, and many believed in him.
This is an amazing story about one of the first missionaries we ever see recorded in the Bible. If you have ever studied this passage, you probably marveled at this woman’s boldness and wished that you had that kind of bold, immediate response to the Gospel. If you’re like me, you also have probably made excuses for yourself about why you have not responded that way to the Gospel before. We have not seen Jesus face to face, have we?
This summer in a South Asian village, God opened my eyes to see that kind of amazing, immediate life transformation. This summer, I met the woman at the well. Her name is Jackie*. I met Jackie one afternoon at her neighbor’s house. I shared the Gospel and my testimony with them, and of all of the people in the house, Jackie was the only one who was interested in Jesus. So we went to her house and taught her the story of Jesus.
When we came back the next day, we found out that Jackie had told her friends and family the story of Jesus. Jackie encountered Jesus, and was so amazed that God loved us so much that He sent His son to die for the sins of the world, that she went and told those she encountered about this amazing story. That day, Jackie, her husband, and two of her neighbors professed faith in Jesus Christ and they began to study the Word of God for the first time in their lives. Did you catch that? Jackie did not know the story of Jesus when we met her, but when she encountered Jesus her life was changed, and she immediately started sharing His story with others.
Watching all of this take place was like watching the Bible come to life before my very eyes. I have followed Jesus for a long time, and believe the stories of the Bible to be true. But it was so easy to fall into the lie that things don’t happen quite the same way now as they did then. I am here to tell you that is not true. The women at the well encountered Jesus, immediately told her entire village about him, and led many people to him. God is still doing that kind of amazing, immediate life change in the lives of people around the globe.
We went back to Jackie’s house the next day, and Jackie had shared the Gospel with more people. Many of them came to her house to listen as we continued to study God’s word with this newly formed house church.
The woman at the well was not the reason many people came to faith in Jesus; they came to know him because she pointed them to Christ and they encountered him themselves. That is the same thing that Jackie did, and the same thing that Jesus asked us to do. It is the right response to what Jesus did for us on the cross.
After three days in the village, the American team left. Each of us was on a team with local believers and a translator. Our job was to model how to share the Gospel and our testimonies for the nationals so that they can be equipped to sow seeds and plant churches among their own people. Jackie and her house church will continue to be discipled by these local believers as they grow in their faith in Jesus and spread His name.
Over the three days we were in the villages sharing the Gospel and training local believers, God did many amazing things. Four hundred seventy-five people heard the Gospel in their own language, 300 people professed faith in Jesus Christ as their savior and 32 house churches were started.
Please pray for Jackie, her house church and the many other new believers in South Asia as they grow in their faith and spread the name of Jesus.
“Look at the nations and watch--and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.” Habakkuk 1:5
Shea is a UTD student serving as a Go Now missionary in South Asia.
*Name has been changed