Skip to main content
Words of Life

Chosen To Tell

By Laura Story November 1, 2015 Words of Life

We all have things we’d rather keep hidden. For me, it was my doubts and fears. I didn’t want people – especially the church people – to know I didn’t have all the answers. When I was in the midst of my unresolvable brokenness, the last thing I wanted to do was stand on a stage and tell people my story. How could I give them hope when I didn’t have a happy ending? How could I inspire them when I felt alone and without answers? How could I encourage them to come and meet Jesus when there were days I wasn’t sure I wanted to meet with him myself?

It was clear God was calling me to tell my story, but why? And to whom? Wasn’t there someone else who would make a better ambassador for him? Someone with a happy ending to their trials?

It was hard for me to imagine how God could use my broken life story.

Has God ever asked you to do something you knew you couldn’t do? Or maybe you felt you were the wrong person to do it? Maybe he wanted you to share your story, but you felt your past was too tainted to be used by holy God. You didn’t have the knowledge, the training, or even the courage to do what he asked you to do.

Surely God made a mistake when he wanted to use you! There are so many more qualified people he could have chosen instead.

That’s how I felt when God was calling me to tell my story. A story without an ending. A story, not of hope but of being held by him during my hopelessness. I wasn’t the best person for the job. I didn’t have all the perky, inspiring anecdotes so many Christian leaders had. Why would he want me?

In John 4 there is a story about a Samaritan woman getting water from a well. The Samaritans didn’t get along with the Jews or the Gentiles, so this woman had been set up for failure since birth. Finding her at the well at midday meant something else was wrong. Respectable women came in the morning.

Then Jesus entered the scene. Through their conversation, we learn that this woman had had five husbands and was currently living with a man she was not married to. Her family was broken. Her heart was shattered. Her past was very checkered. But this was a divine appointment created by God, and Jesus told her that he was the Messiah.

Why not the disciples?

Why the Samaritan woman?

To the rest of us, she looks like the wrong choice. A bad plan. A mistake. Why would Jesus choose her to be the first? Why did he choose her?

The disciples entered to see Jesus talking to the outcast, but before anyone could react, the Samaritan woman used their arrival to make her exit.

Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” (John 4:28-29)

How did she get the courage to go? What would those townspeople do to her when she got there? Would they stone her? Would they laugh at her? Would they avoid her at all costs?

What would you say to them? “Hey, I was hanging out by the well when this strange guy…”

Can’t you just hear the crowd erupt in laughter when she told them she was talking to yet another guy? And a Jewish rabbi at that. “And oh, by the way, this guy thinks he’s the Messiah, and I kind of think so too.”

I imagine the crowd chuckling before turning their backs on her. They knew that no Jewish rabbi in his right mind would have been caught talking to such a sinful woman. I envision the crowd getting angry and throwing things at her — chicken bones, fruit peels, maybe the pigs’ food.

But something in the way she said what she said, or did what she did, got them to take notice. They listened to her. And they believed her. John tells us they first came to know Jesus because of her. “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I ever did'” (John 4:9).

She used her story to win them to Jesus? Her broken story?

Yes. That’s exactly what Jesus wanted. And that’s why she was the divine appointment at the well, set by the Father, kept by the Son. While we can’t understand why he chose her, we can get an idea from an earlier verse. Since Jesus was a Jewish rabbi and he and his disciples were devout Jews, the eastern route would have been the expected path for them to take on their way to Galilee. Instead, Jesus chose to go directly through Samaria. In fact, John wrote that Jesus and his disciples had to go through Samaria (John 4:4). The Greek word for “had to” suggests a moral obligation or a constraint that arises from a divine appointment. In other words, John was telling us that Jesus was ordained to do this by the Father – it was a divine appointment set up by God.

Jesus crossed religious, racial, social, cultural, and gender divides to meet with the Samaritan woman. To reveal her sin and pain, to love her more deeply than any man she’d ever known, and to show the fullness of his grace.

Jesus goes out of his way to meet up with the hurting, the marginalized, and the broken. What makes us think he wouldn’t do the same for us?

And why wouldn’t he want us to tell others the story of what he’s done for us, even if it’s an unfinished and broken story? If we are willing to let him use our story, our whole broken story – not the sanitized, social-media-filtered version we want to share – our stories can be used to spread his unconditional love and to reveal his astounding grace to our community.


Laura Story appears this Thursday on LIFE TODAY. Taken from When God Doesn’t Fix It by Laura Story. Copyright ©2015 by Laura Story. Used by permission of  W Publishing Group, an imprint of Thomas Nelson.

Life Updates

Sign up to stay in touch with LIFE Outreach International