John 4:39-42 – Lesson #45

As the Samaritans from the nearby town approached, Jesus told His disciples the fields are “white for harvest” (John 4:35). Jesus had ministered to one woman; but she took her limited information, along with the baggage of a bad reputation, and became God’s messenger who called others to come see Jesus.

John 4:39-42 “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘He told me all that I ever did.’ So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. And many more believed because of His own word. Then they said to the woman, ‘Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.'”

We need to be careful not to read into scripture our present understanding of words and phrases. When we say someone “believed in” Jesus, we think of someone who believed that Jesus is the Son of God who came to die as a sacrifice for sin. We would tend to say that someone who believed in Jesus is someone who is saved. This cannot be the meaning for the Samaritans when it is first recorded that they “believed in” Jesus.

The Samaritan woman had little information. She thought Jesus was a prophet like Moses who “will tell us all things” (John 4:25). This was her definition of the Messiah, her understanding of Christ. And yet, this was enough to call others to come and see. The belief of the Samaritans when they first came to Jesus was far from a belief which would save, but it was enough for them to listen and earnestly try to understand.

We should note that John uses a form of believe over eighty times in his gospel. The other three gospels combined use the forms of believe less than half as many times. John often uses believe as a faith which leads to eternal life, but he also uses believe as a present acceptance and willingness to follow. The Samaritans had not heard about the forgiveness of sin, which is essential for eternal life, but they believed what they heard. And this belief compelled them to urge Jesus to stay longer and teach them more.

During the two days of teaching and fellowship, the substance of their belief definitely grew. No longer did they simply believe in the Christ presented by the woman; but now they had listened to Jesus and believed Him to be “the Savior of the world”! This statement intentionally removes all doubt – the Samaritans truly believed!! His sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin was still a future event, but Jesus fully revealed His plan and confirmed the gospel message was to be taken “to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

What is the substance of our belief? The Jesus of our parents or friends is a great place to start, but only as it compels us to personally ask Jesus inside and learn of His truth. Let’s trust Him enough to desire Him more. Let’s invite Him in and sit at His feet until we truly believe that Jesus is the Savior of the world.

Have a Great Day!
Steve Troxel God’s Daily Word Ministries