Summary: The woman’s bold witness opened the way to Jesus. That stage of belief is only introductory. They needed a personal encounter with Jesus. The magnificent climax is that the Samaritans come to settled conviction & acclaim Jesus as the Savior of the World.
JOHN 4: 39-45
THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD
The revival or great harvest among the Samaritans is noteworthy. It is evidence that because of the rejection by Israel (1:11) Jesus moves into a wider ministry. These few verses also indicate two necessary and interrelated bases for belief: First, the testimony of others and second, a personal connection with Jesus.
The Samaritan woman’s bold witness opened the way to Jesus for the villagers. They saw her vivid transformation. That stage of belief however is only introductory. The second stage was a personal encounter with Jesus. If they would allow Him to penetrate the shell of their materialism and present the message that had transform her, the Samaritans also would believe that He is the Messiah. The magnificent climax is that the Samaritans come to settled conviction and acclaim Jesus as the Savior of the World.
I. PERSONAL WITNESS, 39-41.
II. PERSONAL CONFESSION, 42.
III. WITHHELD HONOR, 43-45.
In verse 39 we again learn the power of a person’s testimony. From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.”
The Samaritan woman shared her experience with others. This woman’s testifying was far from perfect but such as her confession was it was adequate for God to use. Despite her reputation, many took her invitation and came out to meet Jesus.
The living water which the woman received from Jesus had certainly become an overflowing fountain in her life, and others were coming to share the refreshment that she had begun to enjoy. The most unlikely soul may prove to be the most effective witness. Let us not grow weary in well-doing.
Perhaps there are sins in our past of which we’re ashamed. But Christ changes us. As people see these changes, they become curious. Use these opportunities to introduce them to Jesus, the Water of Life.
Note the intrigued community’s insistence in 40. So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they kept asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. (41) Many more believed because of His word;
The harvest was not limited to those who came out to see Him at the well. That Samaritans should invite a Jewish teacher to stay with them, shows how completely He had won their confidence. Jesus and His followers agree to remain two days, which confirms the Samaritans’ conviction that Jesus is indeed the long-awaited Messiah. During their brief sojourn there many others in the city come to faith in Him
The Samaritans’ faith (they “believed in Him”) is based on the woman’s testimony, which underscores the value of human witness to the work of God (17:20). Evangelism is a cooperative effort, in which the preparatory work of God joins with our witness to what He has done and is doing in the world. [It is likely this groundwork contributes to the later efforts of Philip in Acts 8 when he comes to Samaria following Stephen’s martyrdom. The Samaritans eagerly receive Philip, confess their faith, are baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit.]
Faith is absolutely vital and fundamental in salvation [and sanctification]. His word was the cause of their faith. Personal testimony plus the word of Jesus is still God’s means of salvation.
II. PERSONAL CONFESSION, 42.
This narrative’s final statement is an important summary of the fruit of the woman’s labor. The village addresses the woman in verse 42. and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the World.”
The second stage in their salvation process was hearing Jesus for themselves. The Samaritans evidence what every believer must have — a faith that is not hearsay or dependent on someone else. Rather, they have come and experienced Christ for themselves. "No longer" indicates their belief in Him, was not solely based on the woman’s testimony. They had progressed from a faith built on the witness of another to a faith built on their own experience.
[This personal experiential feature is a constant concern for John. Potential converts must not only have their beliefs in order, but they must also be able to testify to a personal experience.] Here we have an eternal principal: Personal contact with Christ that leads to a personal relationship with Christ is necessary for salvation.
This listening to Jesus brought them to the settled conviction expressed in "we know" and they acclaim Jesus the Savior of the World. [Two verbs may be translated "know": ginosko and oida. “The former usually implies knowledge by contact or experience; the second more generally denotes knowledge of facts or knowledge by intellectual process. The use of the latter seems to fit the distinction, because it states a knowledge of fact that results in a settled conviction. The Samaritans are expressing assurance of a truth, not merely a progressive acquaintance with a person or situation.” [Morris, John, 283 ]