Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”
It is no longer because of what you said…for we have heard for ourselves. As I’ve been reading through John, I’ve been noticing an important aspect of evangelism:
Sharing Jesus with others is not just telling others about Jesus; it is introducing them to Him.
There is a difference between telling and introducing. I can tell you the facts about a famous person without ever having met that person. I can tell you the accomplishments of a renowned athlete without ever having met that athlete. Yet when I introduce a friend, a coworker, or a relative–someone I have met and with whom I have had fellowship–I can do more than merely tell facts; I can share a relationship.
In the same way, true evangelism shares more than a name; it shares a personal relationship. When we share Jesus with others, we want to go beyond sharing His Name (although that indeed is powerful in itself); we also must share what we know, what we’ve experienced, and what we’ve seen with our own eyes. We want to share the living, breathing God of the Bible–a God who is still active and an intimate part of our lives today as much as He was in the days the Bible was written.
In the above story, the Samaritan woman, after having a one-on-one encounter with Jesus, in which He told her all that she ever did (John 4:39), in turn went back to her people and shared what God had done in her life. She believed, and she shared the experience of that belief; she shared her personal testimony.
Her testimony alone didn’t save the others; but it did intrigue them. They wanted to see for themselves this one who appeared to be the Savior of the world. Remember, the woman was very specific in using the exact terminology the Samaritans would understand. Before she realized who Jesus was, the woman had described the Messiah as one who would tell them all things (John 4:25). So when she described Jesus as One who told her all the she had ever done, she in essence declared she had personally met the Messiah. They believed her and her testimony, which was awesome in itself, but more importantly than just believing what she said, they sought Jesus for themselves. They wanted to know Jesus like the woman knew Jesus.
The Samaritan woman shared. The people began to seek.
And when they sought the Savior, they found the Savior. They were able to joyfully proclaim to the Samaritan woman, “It is no longer because of what you said…for we have heard for ourselves.”
What the Samaritan woman believed with all her heart, she shared with those around her. She shared her relationship. She introduced others to the Jesus she knew. In essence, her personal experience was a powerful testimony.
In the same way, we have to live our belief in order to share it in way that makes others seek to catch it. When it comes from the heart, people will believe; they will seek. They will begin searching for themselves. And when they then seek what they see in you, they will not just believe because you believe; they will believe because they see for themselves that what you have declared is indeed true.
Therefore I encourage you today, my friend, to introduce Jesus to those around you. Don’t just tell the facts; share the experience. Joyfully proclaim to those God has placed within your reach all that Jesus has done and continues to do in, through, and for you. Remind them that what He has done for you, He will do for them as well.
Share your testimony. Share your experience. Share the Jesus you know.
And as you do, you’ll soon find that others will want to know Him as well. You’ll soon hear those around you joyfully proclaiming, “It is no longer because of what you said…for we have heard for ourselves.”