Read: “The woman 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! Could he possibly be the Messiah?’ So the people came streaming from the village to see him” (John 4:28-30, NLT).
Think About It: “I don’t have a ‘testimony’” she told her pastor with a hint of embarrassment. “What do you mean by that,” he countered, knowing very much what was on her mind. “I’ve never been through some of those things you hear people talk about God saving them from.” She had grown up hearing how Jesus had saved people from a life of addiction, promiscuity, and drunkenness. She had once even heard a man tell his story about how he found Christ in prison after having killed someone. She believed in the power of God to all of those things, but didn’t feel as though she could be an effective messenger of that kind of power, because she didn’t have a story to match. “Sometimes,” her pastor continued, “a testimony is giving evidence of what God has brought you out of or brought you through. Other times, it’s what He has kept you from.” “All in all,” he concluded with a reassuring smile, “a testimony is nothing more than your story of what God has done, is doing now, and the plans He has for your future. You tell that. It will make a difference.”
Going Deeper: The woman with the jar was known by the people in her town. She was so well known, that it is believed by many scholars that she chose to the hottest part of the afternoon to go and gather water. There was no one there to notice her, be turned off by her, or to remind her of what she had done. Her story was one of broken promises and a shattered life. Yet, when she encountered Jesus, she encountered grace. She returned to her community at the same time of day she had previously tried to escape. She told her story of how she had met Jesus and how He spoke to her life in a way that changed everything. They heard her story and were moved to discover the One who might rewrite the stories of their own lives. She dared to tell her story. This is what God calls for from those who believe in Him. Whether it is a story of a life saved out of the prison of past mistakes or one that tells of the power of God that keeps them from falling in that same pit, there is a story to be told. It’s a story of grace. It’s the story of Jesus.
Next Step: What is a testimony? It’s presenting the evidence of something that has transpired. No matter what you have done or, perhaps, what you haven’t done, you definitely have a story to tell. Whether it’s when you first gave your life to Christ or the many times God has brought you through situations, you have a story to tell. The question is, are you telling the story? Someone needs to hear it. Take some time and identify a situation that was more than you could handle on your own. What did God do? What did He show you in the process? What did you learn? How has it impacted you? That is part of your story. Ask God for the opportunity to share the story of His love with someone who is aching for a story “re-write” of their own. The more you tell your story, the greater the investment you make in others with the hopes, that one day, they will tell their story, too.