The Samaritan woman at the well. Rahab the prostitute. Mary Magdalene. What do they have in common?
They were broken women who were key players in the spread of the Gospel.
Let’s look at Rahab. She was a known prostitute in the city of Jericho. Despite her less than favorable profession, she had heard about the God of the Israelites and believed in His might and power. She hid the Israelite spies in exchange for safety for her family. She knew what was coming and prepared, saving not only herself but also all of her family that was in her house. But how was she a part of the Gospel story? Matthew 1:5 places her in the lineage of Christ, as the great-great-grandmother of King David.
Then there is the Samaritan woman. We aren’t given her name, but her heritage is of great importance here. The Jews didn’t fraternize with the Samaritans. As a general rule, they didn’t even travel through their land if possible, choosing to cross the river and bypass Samaria when traveling between Judea and Galilee. So just the fact that Jesus was there at all was unusual. This woman had a checkered past, having had 5 previous husbands, and living with a man who wasn’t her husband. Also, being a woman placed her lower socially than if she’d been a man. So not only was she a woman, she was a Samaritan woman, a sinful Samaritan woman at that. Yet, she is the first person we know of to whom Jesus proclaimed Himself as Messiah. She, in turn, ran back to her village and told everyone about Him. Jesus used this woman, even in her brokenness, to bring others to Him. I’m willing to bet that after her encounter with Jesus, she didn’t live as a broken woman anymore. She felt the healing love and redemption of Jesus.
We also have Mary Magdalene. She is mentioned many times as a devout follower of Jesus. She was part of His closest circle of followers, along with the 12 and some others. She followed Him throughout His ministry. She was there at the cross when He was crucified. She was the first to the empty tomb. She was the first Jesus appeared to after His resurrection, the first to proclaim His resurrection. But do you know where she was before she met Jesus? Demon possessed. Tortured and tormented. One of my favorite lines from the series The Chosen is hers, where she says, “I was one way, and now I’m completely different. And the thing that happened in between was Him.” I know that isn’t straight from Scripture, but it is such a profound statement of what Jesus can do in our lives and how He can use us, no matter where we come from in life.
Many of us come from brokenness. Some from lives where the brokenness is obvious and others where maybe life looks perfect from the outside, but the ugly reality is buried and hidden. There is not one of us who is so broken, so sinful, so hurt, that Jesus can’t touch us and heal us and use us. I’m reminded of the Japanese art of kintsugi. They take broken pottery and repair it with gold, turning it into something more precious than it was before. The Lord’s love can repair our brokenness, sealing us with His Spirit, making us more than we could have ever imagined. Then others see the beauty of our restoration, and the love and power of the Lord shining through. We can show others that to Him, they, like us, are priceless.
Joshua 2; John 4:1-42; Luke 8:1-3, John 19:25, John 20