41. No second hand belief

Short Meditations in John 4:  41. No second-hand belief

Jn 4:42   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.”

There comes a time in the life of every would-be-believer when they pass on from merely hearing words from a witness to hearing words from God Himself. They may not realise that that is what they are hearing, but that it how it is. Previously they listened and argued, perhaps with a friend who was a believer. They hear his or her testimony and as good as it was, it doesn’t move them. And then, mysteriously, the Holy Spirit takes the words or starts speaking directly into the heart of this seeker, and it’s a whole new ball game. As we said, at the time we didn’t realise that that was what was happening, but it was! When God speaks – and we hear – then things change. We realise we are hearing something that is different, something that is significant, from another world and we become convicted because these words come with authority and meaning and purpose and they do their work in us and we are changed.

So it was with these Samaritans. The woman had come back from her encounter with Jesus at the well and told them what had happened. Our of curiosity, out of seeking hearts, they went out to see this man while he was still there. They like what they saw and heard and invited him to stay with them and so he did for two days. In those two days he shared some more. Previously they had simply heard about him. Now they were hearing directly from him and his words had power to convince and convict, and they believed.

What an amazing testimony they come out with: “we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”   How amazing! How incredible! This was a stronger response than Jesus got from his own people, certainly those back in Jerusalem, and often up in Galilee, and this from the abused and rejected Samaritans.

Speaking of the woman who poured oil over him, Jesus said, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” (Lk 7:47) There is a principle, that those who seemed the furthest from God, when they turn and are forgiven and born again, tend to be the ones who appreciate most the wonder of what has happened to them. The ‘good’ person who is saved often appreciates little of what has happened to them. These Samaritans are an example to us of a rejected people who received Jesus and then responded openly and fully to him, recognising him for who he truly was. It started with one dysfunctional woman and ended up with a lot of them. How wonderful.


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