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This past weekend I attended the Women of Faith Conference. I have gone many times before. But this time, I noticed something different.

Stories were told.

Pasts revealed.

I have been thinking on this for a few days now. We all have a past, stories waiting to be shared or told. Maybe to be shared with many or perhaps with just one person. But we hold them back. Keep them to ourselves. Today I was brought to the very familiar story of the woman at the well.

We are told that Jesus left Judea to return to Galilee. To do so, he went through the village of Samaria. I’ll let Scripture continue the story from John 4…

“Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime.  Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” (verses 6-7 NLT).

I don’t want to focus on the fact that Jesus was asking for a drink from a Samaritan woman. I don’t want to focus on the interchange about living water. I want to focus on something that I think, until this morning, I totally missed.

       Jesus tells her to do something……..

“Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her.” (verse 16 NLT).

       And the woman’s “story” begins to unfold as she responds….

“I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied.” (verse 17a NLT).

       Jesus’ response?

           “Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband”” for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!” (verse 17b -18 NLT).

Jesus knew all along what her response would be. He already knew her past. Could it be that He asked her so that it would be uncovered? That now it was surfaced & out in the open between them?

How long had this woman lived trying to cover up her past? Maybe pretending that she didn’t have a past? But now it is out in the open between them. And what happens?

We find that the woman leaves the well, runs to the village even, to tell everyone…

“Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did” (verse 29a NLT). 

No shame. No embarrassment. No more covering up. The result?

“Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” (verse 39 NLT).

Could it be that in telling her story, she told His story as well? Could it possibly be that her story was just a small portion of the larger story of what Christ can do in a life that permits Him to uncover sin?

Perhaps this is why I was struck with the “stories” at Women of Faith.

We all have stories. We all have a past. We need to leave each other the room to share those very stories. It is how we grow – with each other. More importantly, in Christ. Those very stories are testimonies of what God can do in each of our lives when they are fully surrendered. Through those stories, we find hope. We learn of God’s power. Of His mercy. Of His grace. When we cast aside judgment & embrace one another with our pasts, we give way to a present & a future filled with empowerment. We come to believe in Jesus. In what He alone can do.

See, something happened that day as the woman ran back to the village.

“Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.” (verse 42 NLT).

The people heard her story & they came to believe in Jesus for themselves. It was through her life that they saw Him. We tell our stories to bring honor & glory to our God. We tell our stories so that others may come to know Him.

                           We have so much to learn from this woman at the well.

                                I am thankful today that her story has been told.