What to Learn from the Samaritan’s Testimony
When “really big” news hits or feelings of euphoria come upon us, we often run to call our family, friends, and inform them. The first thing we wanted to do is share it with somebody else.
I was hired to my first career a year and a half ago. After I received the call, this is exactly what I did. I got the call saying I was hired, and spent the next two hours calling my friends and family to tell them the news. Just soaking in my accomplishment. The joy in me grew so big that I had to get it out and give others the joy.
This is natural for many of us. Research shows that people who habitually tend to share good news with others tend to feel happier and more satisfied with life.
For me personally, though, and I hate to admit it: my whole attitude changes when it comes to spirituality.
As soon as it becomes news about spirituality, our culture teaches us to keep our mouths shut. Keep your personal beliefs to ourselves. And, regretfully, I have given in. I confess – I rarely share my encounters with Jesus with more than one or two people. Culture has, time and time again, beaten me.
I even see it in the church. How often do we, as Christians, receive a life-changing message on Sunday morning, yet do not let the message exit the front doors and impact our lives? Many of us receive profound God-given truths in our personal studies, yet show little to no application in our daily lives.
The struggle is real.
And it is in this struggle that I look to John 4 and the way the Samaritan woman shares her spiritual joy, and I see three things that characterize her heart that I think ought to characterize our heart as well.
Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. 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.”
Allow me to call you back to the context here. She was a Samaritan! The Samirtans and Jews had cultural strife that dated hundreds of years. A Samaritan running back to the village to announce that she think she has met the Jewish Messiah?!
Not only that – but she was a woman. In the first century, women’s testimonies were not held as authoritative. Women could not testify in court.
Not only that – remember, she had five husbands (4:17-18)! This, according to the Law, is punishable by death. Clearly this woman was not dead – she was alive – but her having multiple husbands is known. She is a walking disobedience to the Law.
Samaritan. Woman. Adulterer. This is to whom Jesus reveals his Messiah-ship.
Despite all her barriers, the woman runs back into the village to share! She does not doubt the way she would be seen by others. She is not frozen by the fear that others will not believe her.
Rather, she finds worth in her encounter with Jesus, not her societal status.
When we share our own stories, we must find worth in our encounters with Jesus, not in ourselves. Not in the worth we think we have by societal standards. Authority lies in Jesus alone. By this authority we share our stories so that those who hear it may believe.
How do the villagers respond to the woman? By coming out to see Jesus themselves and inviting him to stay for two days.
I’m dying to know what happens between verses thirty nine and forty. There is no verse thirty nine and a half. The villagers hear the woman’s story, and then go straight to Jesus. That’s it.
The Samaritan woman points others to Jesus and away from herself. She completely disappears form the story.
When we have our “verse thirty nine and a half” moment, we ought to point others to Jesus – not to ourselves. In pointing to Him, we can share our story so that those who hear it may believe, even though it’s tempting to boast in what we’ve done.
The villagers hear Jesus’ message and believe Jesus is the Savior of the world. They go back to the woman and say they now believe for themselves – no longer because of what she said.
When we have something in us that makes us boil with excitement, we run to tell other people. But some of us – like myself – face nerves and anxiety when it comes to spirituality.
In these moments, I urge you to look to the testimony of the Samaritan woman. She had nothing in the eyes of the world, but found worth in Jesus, pointed others to Him, and created space for hearers to believe for themselves.
Share your story so that those who hear it may believe.