Have you ever had those days where you felt like you were spinning your wheels and not making a difference? I sure have. There are days where I have thought, Good grief, Lord, I am just one person. Can I really make a difference? Honestly, I had this thought the other day, and the Lord reminded me of “the impact of one” through one of my favorite conversations in the Book of John.
The “woman at the well” conversation (and fallout) is one of my favorite glimpses into the impact Jesus can have on people. This one day in the life of Jesus—one conversation, one woman, one Savior—impacted a whole village. This one day—when Immanuel took the time to sit down at a well to have a conversation with an ostracized Samaritan woman. Jesus often talked to the crowds, teachers, and rabbis, but He never was too busy to stop and have a one-on-one conversation with someone. Jesus valued the individual as much as the crowds.
Jesus was willing to take the time to sit and meet her where she was. He allowed His love for people to drive His actions. His conversation, full of grace and truth, calls out her sin and gives her hope. He talks about living water that brings eternal life. She even gets to hear Him declare who He is, and it is life-changing! The Messiah just encountered her, called out her sin, and offered her living hope.
This one conversation changed everything for her, and she recognized it for what it was—living water! She was so excited to tell others that she left her water jar. Now, this is a small but significant detail. She was so enthusiastic that her focus and purpose shifted because leaving the water jar meant that she would not have water later. We see that earthly water was no longer a priority, but telling her village, who ostracized her, was. She wanted others, no matter how they treated her, to hear about the Savior who saw her for what she was, loved her anyway, and gave her life and courage to share about it. She brought people to Jesus!
“‘Then the woman left her water jar, went into town, and told the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me EVERYTHING I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?’ They left the town and made their way to him” (John 4:28-30, emphasis added).
It is not by accident that this event is recorded after the famous John 3:16 conversation and includes Jesus’ conversation with His disciples about the need to open their eyes to the harvest. He saw the harvest was ready in this village and empowered a woman to help reap it.
“Now many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of what the woman said when she testified, ‘He told me everything I ever did.’ So, when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. Many more believed because of what he said. And they told the woman, ‘We no longer believe because of what you said, since we have heard for ourselves and know that this really is the Savior of the world’” (John 4:39-42).
Every time I read this, it convicts me about seeing people as Jesus sees them, remembering that one person can make a difference and that God often uses the unexpected to be His feet and mouthpiece. Jesus, who was the one Messiah and who changed expectations and the world, empowered one woman to impact a village.
I love that John records the one-on-one conversations because these eye-witness accounts demonstrate that Jesus is just as much about impacting one person as He was about saving all of humankind. Jesus is about using one person who is willing to bring others to Him. Jesus challenges us to have one-on-one conversations and be bold about sharing the good news of the gospel. We need to see the incredible potential in others and take time to share the gospel with individuals. So, take time to have a one-on-one conversation today and trust that God can use that “impact of one” to impact so many more than you can imagine!
Sarah Farley is the Southeast Student Mobilizer Associate with the International Mission Board. She is an Enneagram 7 that loves students, coffee, burgers, SEC football, and connecting with people.