Sometimes Seeing Is Believing

John Hill

"So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 'Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?' They went out of the town and were coming to him…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 [Jesus], 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' (John 4:28-30, 39-42).

I wonder what it was like for the disciples to return from the town of Sychar to see Jesus finishing a conversation with a Samaritan woman. The Samaritans, after all, were pretty much hated by the Jews and although Jesus often spoke to women, He usually did not do it in private; and he surely would hesitate to be alone with a woman of such reputation as this one who was living with a man after having had five husbands already.

Well whatever the reaction was, it was a radical thing to see it take place; and even more radical for the woman who raced into town and declared, “Come, see a man…” to the people of the city. She had been changed and wanted everyone to know about; the same everyone who had most likely rendered her an outcast and forced her to come along to draw water each day; and activity that was almost always done in community. She was disconnected from everyone and Jesus had just helped her connect with God.

Interestingly, people listened and everyone came. What’s more as John, an eyewitness to the events, would write, “many Samaritans” believed because of her testimony. The reaction was so great that Jesus was invited to stay in town for two more days and amazingly “many more believed because of his word.” What began as one women’s story of what Jesus had done became an entire community’s spiritual awakening.

The best part of John’s account is that the people of the city told the woman that while her story was what brought them to Jesus, they were now relying on what they saw themselves. A cycle of spiritual formation had begun for everyone in that town; a cycle that began with one person’s interaction with Jesus but ended with each having their own story to tell.

I want to encourage you today to consider whether or not your cycle is in effect. Have you experienced Jesus yourself? Have you gone to others and invited them to, “Come and see?” Have you seen others gain understanding for themselves with what they have seen as a result of a process that began with your story?

Those of us who have been touched by the grace, love, mercy, and forgiveness have the greatest story that can ever be told. And the greatest part of our great story is that the story is for others too. People we know, love, and even those who may be enemies have the chance to be impacted by this great story and have their lives changed to such an extent that they can hear and see for themselves what God has planned. It is this great mystery of God that He can touch lives through the lives of those He has touched already that makes the Gospel amazing.

I hope you relish in the story. I hope you take your story to everyone you can. Finally, I hope you have the great privilege of seeing others awakened by God and assured of His presence in their lives not just because they heard you share, but also because they see for themselves…Because sometimes seeing is believing.

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