The Power of Story
Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony. John 4:39
Any good salesman knows that personal testimony is a powerful tool. My uncle used this product and was cured from cancer. In practicing medicine though, I’m supposed to use only Evidence-Based Treatments. When you come to my clinic, you want a medication that has been proven, by testing, to be helpful for whatever condition you may have. I can’t try something new, just because I think it would be a good idea, or because my uncle tried it once. Still though, we’re prone to listen to the commercial on TV about how a certain vitamin supplement changed a stranger’s life.
Story is powerful. As a physician, I’m committed to science, but I also must recognize its limitations. When I go to jail to meet with inmates, I don’t start out by listing all the factual evidence that would make a person want to live a sober life. No, I tell my story. I tell about my own drug addiction and subsequent disaster. I explain how I now daily find freedom from my addiction in following God’s way instead of mine. In telling my story, I make an immediate connection and I provide the best evidence I have of God’s transforming power – my life.
In today’s passage, we see story at work. In the narrative, Jesus had a transformative encounter with a Samaritan woman at the local well. The woman in turn, went to her friends and family, telling them of Jesus. We’re told that, based on her testimony and transformation, many believed in Christ. Her story of a changed life was her best evidence for God.
So, what’s our story? For many around us, our lives and testimony are the best evidence they will regularly see of God. What do they see? Often, we’re afraid to share our story because we’ve not yet allowed God to do anything for us. Sure, we believe in him, but there’s really nothing we’ve allowed him to change. To have evidence to share with others, we must first experience God’s work in our own lives.
Our story is the best evidence that we can use to share Christ’s love with those around us. If we call ourselves Christians, we must experience God’s love and transformation and then we must be willing to share our story with those who need it.