Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Testimonial Living

Many Samaritans
from that town

believed in him
because of the

woman’s testimony,
“He told me all

that I ever did.”

John 4:39

Jesus and his conversation with the Samaritan woman is one of my favorites. Here is an intelligent woman, with a fighter’s spirit, who had a tough life. However, she also must have been a woman of faith. How else could she confidently debate with Jesus the finer points of his “water of life” message? Given the environment of the day the conversation should never have happened and yet it is one of the lengthiest recorded in the gospels.

Several years ago I read Obery Hendrick’s novel, Living Water, based on this conversation. As a New Testament scholar, familiar with the 1st century culture, Hendrick’s version altered my view on this woman.

Normally we’re quick to right her off as “loose” because of her number of marriages. The conversation becomes a testimony of Jesus knowing all and offering salvation. And yet, her multiple marriages account for only 1 ½ verses in the 23 verses that tell us of their conversation. Surely, there is more to this woman than five husbands!

While the details of this woman’s life aren’t recorded, evidence of her possible role in the community is apparent when she returns to town. On her testimony alone “many” Samaritans believed in Jesus.

It’s a humbling thought. There is also a question to consider. How familiar are you with your testimony? When given an opportunity, are you able to clearly communicate the character of Jesus?

The woman lived a testimony of eight words, but they changed a community.

Jesus, you are eager
to be in conversation with me.
Help me to be as
eager to be in
conversation with others about you

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