August 25, 2020
John 4:39-45 (NIV)
Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers.
They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
After the two days he left for Galilee. (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, for they also had been there.
Did you catch what was happening in the first few verses of today’s text? Samaria woke up. According to John’s Gospel, this looks like the first great awakening of Jesus’ ministry—and in Samaria of all places!
Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony . . . And because of his words many more became believers.
Because of the woman’s testimony . . . It has me asking, “What is my testimony?” Would people believe in Jesus as a result of hearing my testimony? How about you? Do you have a testimony? It does not have to be a dramatic before-and-after story. A testimony is your own authenticating word about the working of the Holy Spirit in your life.
A testimony is a witness to the working of God. The Greek word is martureo. It’s where the word “martyr” comes from. It means “witness.” It’s a form of the word we see in Acts 1:8, which says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses . . . .”
We are witnesses because of the Holy Spirit. My witness is not so much about my story but about the activity of the Holy Spirit in me. We need more witnesses. We need to hear more testimony about how the Holy Spirit has revealed Jesus in us and to us and for us and through us. Why? Because the Holy Spirit loves to awaken people through the power of our testimony.
According to historical sources, this woman at the well went on to be an unstoppable witness for Jesus. She was regarded as “Equal to the Apostles,” a title sparingly granted by the Eastern Orthodox Church, for the extraordinary nature of her ongoing evangelistic ministry. The Emperor Nero eventually heard of her impact and summoned her to Rome. After sharing Jesus with the Emperor, he ordered her tortured and thrown into a well, where she died the glorious death of a martyr.
It is no small thing that Jesus included Samaria in his final instructions to the disciples. Is it any wonder that Jesus explicitly names “Samaria” in the Acts 1:8 instruction he gave his disciples. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8
Samaria is that place we don’t really want to go. It’s the place we have written off. It’s the “whoever” in our life we regard, for whatever ill-founded reason, as “those people” . . . that’s our Samaria. Powerful testimonies come out of Samaria.
What is your testimony?
Abba Father, thank you for your Son, Jesus, whose words convict and convince us and thank you for the Holy Spirit who makes us his witnesses. Increase the power of our testimony to your reality. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.
1. So how about it. What is your testimony?
2. Would you be willing to ask the Holy Spirit to increase and deepen your testimony?
3. Can you think of an instance where the Holy Spirit convinced you through the testimony of another person?
You know how much I have wanted all of you to experience our annual New Room Conference. This is the year. A Night With New Room happens on Friday night, September 25, 6-8pm Central. It is a free event and there’s more than I can tell you about it here. Check it out and please register here.
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For the Awakening,