The Power of a Testimony
One of Jesus' most famous cross-cultural encounters involved a woman in Samaria.
“So you received the message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the severe suffering it brought you. In this way, you imitated both us and the Lord. As a result, you have become an example to all the believers in Greece — throughout both Macedonia and Achaia.” (1 Thessalonians 1:6-7).
One Person's Story
One of Jesus' most famous cross-cultural encounters involved a woman in Samaria. We are not told her name, and so she is known simply as "The Samaritan Woman" or "The Woman at the Well."
When Jesus asked her for a drink, she must have been shocked. It was highly improper for men and women to converse in public. Not only that, but all Samaritans were despised by the Jews for their idol-worshiping and mixed blood. Jesus reached across both those divides with His love.
Despite their vast differences, Jesus began to tell her about God's love and plans. He said to her, "If you only knew the gift God has for you and Who you are speaking to, you would ask Me, and I would give you living water" (John 4:10). He explained that "those who worship [God] must worship in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24), and revealed to her, "I Am the Messiah!" (John 4:26).
Repenting of Sin
Jesus then challenged the woman about her lifestyle, shameful even by Samaritan standards: "You don’t have a husband — for you have had five husbands, and you aren't even married to the man you’re living with now." (John 4:17-18). No normal person could have known all this about her--she realized He was a prophet, and believed His teaching.
God's people had been instructed that sinners should "Repent, and turn from your sins. Don’t let them destroy you!" (Ezekiel 18:30). In Jesus' day, John the Baptist had been preaching for people to "repent of your sins and turn to God" (Matthew 3:2).
Jesus's words so excited the woman that she "left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, 'Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did!'" (John 4:28-29). "Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because [of what] the woman had said" (John 4:39).
In a few minutes’ time, the Samaritan Woman had gone from being a great sinner, to being greatly forgiven. She believed in Jesus not just as a prophet, but as The Messiah, and was unashamed to tell everyone she could about Him. Her story -- her testimony -- inspired her fellow villagers to worship Him too.
What story helped you decide to accept God's Salvation through Jesus Christ? Has telling your own testimony ever brought someone to a point of decision?
Prayer, Care, and Share Jesus
Using Your Testimony
Scripture: Thessalonians 1:7-9
In the Bible, the Apostle Paul points out how important the testimony and example of the Thessalonians were to other people. He also says that our example speaks more loudly than words. As a believer, your testimony is one of the strongest tools you have for telling others about Jesus.
People you’re sharing the gospel with may disagree with the message. But as the Samaritan Woman showed, a life radically transformed by God is compelling, and very hard to argue with.
Here are some suggestions for sharing your testimony:
- Write it out.
- Keep it short (3-5 minutes).
- Practice with friends and family.
- Divide it into sections:
- Section 1 - How was your life before you met Christ?
- Section 2 - How did you become a Christian? (you may summarize the gospel message here)
- Section 3 - How has your life changed since you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior?
Your story is unique and amazing. God will use your faith stories in powerful ways to change lives! Let the Holy Spirit work through you.
It might be difficult for you to answer Section 1 of sharing your testimony. Maybe you accepted Jesus at a very young age and have always been close to Him. You can share why you love and follow Jesus. You can also describe an experience where Jesus intervened in your life and use this point to then share the gospel.
Pray this week:
God will use testimonies of believers everywhere to help people know Jesus.
We all have a story of how we came to know Christ... could you share your story with someone who asked? Practice sharing your story by sharing it with us in a message. We would love to know your story!