Knowing Jesus for Ourselves

“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.’” John 4: 39-42

Have you ever known someone whose faith in God had an impact on you? Was it so obvious that they were a different person then they were before or that their kindness and peace made them stand out from everyone else around them? People like this have a way of pulling our hearts towards God. When someone has had a genuine spiritual encounter, it’s almost impossible to ignore.

In John 4, Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at a well and has a conversation with her that changes her life. At this time, most Jews wanted nothing to do with Samaritans, so Jesus’s willingness to talk with this woman immediately shows her He is somehow different. He confronts her on her sin, yet his response is so loving that she moves towards, rather than away from him. After telling her about her own life experiences, Jesus reveals himself to be the Messiah.

The woman is so changed by her encounter with God that John says, “Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?’ They came out of the town and made their way toward him” (v. 28-30). She had come to the well for water, and left with something so much greater: an encounter with Jesus.

While this one woman’s story is beautiful in and of itself, what I love most about this passage is that so many people from her town come to believe in Jesus. They say to her, “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.”

One woman’s faith opened the door for so many others to encounter God for themselves, and our stories can be the same. While we don’t get to talk with Jesus face to face like the woman at the well did, we do get to experience His presence and love through pray, reading the Word, and many other ways. Our encounters with Jesus should change us and lead us to share what He is doing in our lives with the people around us. I pray that we would each grow (myself included!) to be more willing to share our stories and point people to Jesus, knowing that when others encounter Him for themselves, they can’t help but be changed.

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