This morning in our 6:00am prayer time at Grand Lake Church I was reminded of the power of a testimony. There is something breathtaking to hear another Christian share the wonders of what God is doing.
Then in my devotions shortly after (I am not holy enough to have devotions before our 6:00am prayer!) I was reading in John 4. This chapter in John contains that beautiful story that you have likely heard before of Jesus interacting with the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus meets her right in her place of brokenness to help her discover that he is in fact the Living Water she has been thirsty for all along.
But the part of the chapter that really caught my attention today were the words in verses 39-42. Listen to what John writes…
39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.
42 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.”
I love this note…”many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony.” God took the women’s story and used it for more than just her own good, but for the good of the whole community.
And then look at what happens next. After being impacted by the woman’s story, look at where her testimony leads them…straight to Jesus himself. In verse 42 the town folks who have come to faith say, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves…”
Here is the real power of a testimony. It is not so much in the person sharing their story, or in the details of what God has done…the power is in to whom the testimony points. The power is in how your story opens people up to the possibility that they might encounter Jesus for themselves.
So many Christians I know like to discount their personal testimony. It’s not very flashy. Maybe it doesn’t involve any prison time or drug deals. Sometimes I have been guilty of this kind of thinking. I remember joking with friends in high school that maybe we should get into some real trouble on purpose so that we could have a great testimony to share on the other side. Thankfully we only joked about that and never enacted the plan.
But when you discount your testimony you are actually discounting the miracle of faith. And you are discounting the One who wrote your story. It’s a flat-out miracle that Jesus can save any of us…regardless of how good or bad you may perceive your past to be. The miracle is not in the details of our particular story, but rather in the One who did the saving.
I don’t care who you are, if you are following Jesus, you have a powerful story to tell. A story of being lost and then found. Of being blind and finding real sight. Of looking for something to quench your thirst and finding Living Water. Don’t ever doubt the power of your testimony. God has uniquely planted you, right where you are right now, to share the witness of your life with someone else. Don’t waste that gift.
Ultimately, what we desire is not for people to be transformed by our own story, anyways, but to know the power of Jesus for themselves. Our testimony, like the woman at the well, is just a vehicle that God can use to take people to Jesus himself. There is real power in your testimony only because there is power in the Author of your testimony.
What I long for, personally, is for people to say to me what they said in John 4:42 to this woman. “Matt, I no longer believe because of what you said…I was just intrigued enough to check out this Jesus for myself…and I did…I went to the source…and now I know that this man really is the Savior of the world!”