In John 4:3-42, the story of the Samaritan woman at the well is an intriguing one. Upon entering a Samaritan village called Sychar (present day Nablus), the disciples went to buy food while Jesus, tired from the journey, sat at Jacob’s well. At noon, the woman came for water. Jesus did something that was a cultural taboo by speaking in public to a Samaritan woman—an outcast to Jews. Jesus asked her for a drink. She was understandably surprised. The conversation then turned to a discussion of living water versus well water. Although the woman did not fully understand this living water, she wanted it. When Jesus told her to go get her husband, we learned that she has had five, and the man she was currently living with was not her husband. Then she asked Jesus where to worship.
Jesus said that it did not matter where, but it was how God was worshiped—in spirit and truth. The woman said she believed in the coming Messiah who would reveal all things. Jesus said, “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.”
In the Gospel of John, the Samaritan woman was the first person to whom Jesus revealed Himself as Messiah. She told her people about Jesus and brought them to Him, so they could see and hear for themselves.
Several things about this story can bring us encouragement as we see the Samaritan woman’s testimony being repeated in many Middle Eastern women’s lives today.
· It is not a coincidence that the Samaritan woman met Jesus in a one-on-one encounter, which changed the course of her life forever. After boldly asking Jesus several questions, she perceived Him as the Messiah, the Christ. Today, many Middle Eastern women have had encounters with the “Man in White”—this same Messiah—and have had the course of their lives dramatically changed for the better.
· Similar to the Samaritan woman, these Middle Eastern apostolic women are not silent. They are not held in obscurity to the typical Middle Easterner’s private world of women. They have a voice, move around in predominately male public places, and ask direct and pointed questions.
· The Samaritan woman convinced others in her village to come and see a Man who had told her all the things she had ever done. And these villagers became believers too. Today’s Middle Eastern women are disciples and disciple makers, seeking out and initiating interactions and conversations, but allowing Jesus to introduce Himself as they disciple others in the faith.
Miraculously, these Middle Eastern, Spirit-led women are leaders in the underground church. They are fearless and obedient to do what the Bible commands. They have accepted Mark 8:34-36 to not cling to their own lives even when faced with rape, torture, and death.
Instead, these courageous and bold Middle Eastern women, like the Samaritan woman, make every conversation and every day count for the Kingdom of God.
On our Stories page, please read testimonies of women—former Muslims—who have come to Christ.