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Heaven without telling others?

A woman from Samaria came to draw water [c. AD 28, at Sychar’s well at midday]. … Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” … “The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” … “Go, call your husband, and come here.” … “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” … “I who speak to you am he [the Christ, the Messiah].” … Just then his disciples came back. …  … 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 [the Messiah]?” They went out of the town and were coming to him. Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” … “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. … Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. …” Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” So, when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 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 Saviour of the world.” John 4:7–42
 
The woman who is the subject of the report in bold above could be anyone. The report was written around AD 90 by John, a disciple of Jesus, in his old age when looking back on his life.

The woman’s attention was gradually being drawn to the gift of “living water” which she was able to ask for – and receive – from the man who had just asked her for a drink.

 
But Jesus did not offer this gift to her alone. Instead, he included “everyone” in the offered gift. “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 

‘He who made man was made man.’ (Anon.) 
This man offering this gift to her asks her to include someone near to her to receive this gift also. “Go, call your husband, and come here.” After disclosing to her that he knew all about her past five husbands as well as her present partner he gently tells her that he is the long-foretold Messiah. “I who speak to you am he.” Nothing more.

Jesus’ disciples arrive. They ignore her. They speak only to Jesus – about food. What is this woman to do? She’s been asked to bring her husband so that both she and he can receive “living water”.

She had brought her water jar – in the noonday sun so as not to have to speak to or meet anyone else.  Rather than now fill it and return to her village incognito, she leaves her water jar there at the well. Is there now something more important that she must do? Is she merely going to get her “husband”? They went out of the town and were coming to him.

Speaking now only to his disciples, Jesus says, “Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.” What were they to look at? This woman had gone into the town and, despite her earlier avoidance of people, had called upon them all to come with her and decide for themselves. “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ [the Messiah]?”

Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony. What did they then do? 

 
No doubt there were many villagers otherwise occupied at that time of afternoon. Those Samaritans who believed in Jesus – those who had seen for themselves this source of “living water” – wanted those others to meet him too. They asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 

And many more believed because of his word. Jesus’ word – not theirs.

 ‘Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Messiah, because he said so. The other evidence about him has convinced them that he was neither a lunatic nor a quack.’ (C S Lewis, writer, 1898-1963) 
It wasn’t that the woman – or the first townsfolk who came with her – changed others. This recorded incident ends with the words of them all. “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 Saviour of the world.”

 
Sinner Syvret

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