39Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the word of the woman, who testified: “He told me everything I had done!” 40So as the Samaritans were coming to him, they kept on asking him to stay with them, and he stayed there for two days. 41And very many believed because of his word. 42Then they said to the woman, “It’s no longer because of what you said that we believe. For we ourselves have heard, and we know that this man is truly the savior of the world.” — John 4:39-42
Are you afraid to talk about your faith? Are you concerned that you might not know enough or that you might not be persuasive enough? As I read the Bible I’m amazed at how little it takes for God to be able to use someone. I like to keep my eyes open for examples, and in our passage I found yet another one. Jesus uses someone who knows very little about him, yet she has a testimony.
This is part of the story of the Woman at the Well. This story is told only in the gospel of John, and it’s worthwhile reading the whole chapter. Many Christians are hesitant to share their testimony. One of the reasons is that theyâ€™re afraid they donâ€™t know enough. But you donâ€™t have to know very much to express what has happened to you personally. Another thing that makes people afraid is the words we use to talk about sharing our faith. “Evangelism,” “faith-sharing,” and even “testimony” make it sound like we’re doing something out of the ordinary. Further, people have used these names for some pretty annoying activities.
But testimony is really very simple. It’s sharing something that happened to you. For example, I have very little difficulty sharing the story of something that happened to me at the mall, at one of my client businesses or something similar. Now think about it: That’s all the woman at the well did. She told one story about one encounter, and let the rest go. Watch, however, as the story moves forward.
The woman at the well gives her testimony that Jesus had told her everything she had done (John 4:39). The same verse notes that many believed because of her testimony. But what did her testimony accomplish? Did it, by itself, convince people to believe in Jesus?
In verse 42 we get the testimony of the people afterward. They have come and seen Jesus because of her testimony, and now their belief no longer rests on her words, but on their own knowledge and experience of Jesus. The weight is off the woman who originally gave testimony. Her testimony didnâ€™t need to do anything more than bring the people who heard it to Jesus.
Thatâ€™s all our own testimony needs to do. We can be joyful when people come back and say, â€œItâ€™s no longer because of what you said that I believe. Iâ€™ve seen and experience Him for myself!â€
[This devotional is based on my notes on these verses on the Participatory Bible Study Blog.]