Study 4 THE WOMAN OF SAMARIA: PERSONAL TESTIFYING
Ten New Testament Soul-Winners
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: John 4:1-30 and 39-42)
In a series of studies such as this it is necessary to repeat some points, but it is important for us to emphasise and reiterate certain truths, especially as most people remember only about one-sixth of what they hear and a quarter of what they read! In this study we notice the tremendous power in personal testimony. There is great power in preaching, but the special power in personal testimony may be defined as: telling others out of our own experience what we know about the Lord - who He is, what He is able to do for those who trust Him, and above all, what He has done for us. The story of the Woman by the Well is an illustration of this. See how she came to know the Lord and then went out to tell others what He had done for her. She did not preach to them, she simply told her story, with the result that there were scores of conversions. There are four good reasons why every Christian should engage in personal testimony:-
- 1. The Lord Jesus encouraged it. Look up Mark 5:19, and compare Acts 1:8.
- 2. The Apostles practised it. For example, we have the record of Paul’s testimony seven times in the Acts and in his Epistles. Why did he so frequently give his testimony? Because he knew the power of personal testimony.
- 3. The Holy Spirit uses it. When we read the word “preached” in Acts 8:4 it means that they told others what the Lord had done for them and is able and willing to do for all who will put their trust in Him.
- 4. Every Christian can engage in it. Not every Christian can preach or teach, but all can say - John 3:11 and 9:25.
Now let us turn to the Woman of Samaria and see the power of personal testifying in action:-
1. THE BASIS OF PERSONAL TESTIFYING.
Something must happen before we can give a personal testimony for Christ: we must have a knowledge of the Lord - not in a detached, historical way, but personally. To begin with, like thousands today, the Woman was blind to our Lord’s personal testimony and power. She was a Gentile, and she was immoral, lost, helpless and hopeless, but the Lord loved her, and He revealed to her who He was, with the result that she was deeply convicted of her sin and came to know Him as her personal Saviour, her Friend and her Lord - now look at verses 19,25,26,29 and 42, and notice that she came to know Him first as Prophet, then as the Messiah and then as the Saviour of the world. She knew Him in this way as a matter of personal experience. No one is qualified to testify for the Lord until he knows Him for himself; indeed, no one has a testimony at all until he really knows Christ as Saviour and Lord.
2. THE CONSTRAINT OF PERSONAL TESTIFYING.
Why should we testify to what the Lord has done for us, and what is the motive power for doing so? Surely, if we have found something good we want to share it with others. If we have found the Lord, can we keep this to ourselves? See what happened in the case of the Woman - see verses 26-28. Why did she leave her water jar and run off to the city? - look up Acts 4:20; 1 Corinthians 9:16; 2 Corinthians 5:14. When you think of the many around you who do not know the Lord Jesus, do you not feel constrained to go and tell them of His love and grace? - look up 2 Kings 7:9.
3. THE SPHERE OF PERSONAL TESTIFYING
This is indicated in verse 28. The woman went “back to the town, and said to the people…” The sphere for testifying is anywhere, for our commission is to ”Go into all the world” (Mark 16:15) and make the gospel known to everyone, but there is a special place where we ought to begin testifying, and this is emphasised in verse 28. We should begin in our own town among our own people, where we are known and where it is possible to testify to those who knew us before our conversion so that they are able to see and hear what the Lord has done for us. Our sphere for testifying is just where the Lord has placed us - in our home, among our loved ones, where we work …everywhere!
4. THE METHOD OF PERSONAL TESTIFYING.
In other words, how are we to do it? Notice 7 things in verses 28 and 29, which emphasise the way or the method in which we are to testify:-
- 1. First, there is the idea of PRIORITY. Verse 28 says that “leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town.” Her original concern was to draw water, but now she was concerned to save souls. Often we put soul-winning second or third, when it is a matter of first importance - look up John 1:41.
- 2. There is the note of EARNESTNESS. Her appeal to the people was not casual; it was earnest - look up John 9:4.
- 3. Then, there is the thought of DIRECTION. Verse 28 says, ”She said to the people…” - but first she had to find them. When we set out to seek people for Christ the Holy Spirit waits to direct us so that we do not go to the wrong person, speak at the wrong time or say the wrong thing - look up Acts 8:29.
- 4. Again, there is the emphasis on SPEECH. The woman “said to the people …” (verse 28). And why should she not speak or tell? Many Christians say, “I can’t speak!”- but compare Jeremiah 1:6-9.
- 5. There is a clear indication of HUMILITY. The woman’s whole thought was not to draw attention to herself but to her Lord - look up John 3:30.
- 6. We also have here a CHALLENGE. Verse 29 tells us that the woman said to the people, “Come, see!” She did not argue; she simply asked them to come and meet the Lord for themselves.
- 7. Finally, there is INTERROGATION. This was a clever move on her part when, as verse 29 tells us, she said, “Could this be the Christ?” She made the people think for themselves and face her penetrating question.
5. THE RESULT OF PERSONAL TESTIFYING.
This is beautifully described in verse 39 - and note the word “testified”. What was the result? Many of the people to whom she had testified believed on the Lord Jesus because of what she had said. But this is not the end of the story, for her testimony led to even greater blessing - see verses 40-42.
In concluding this study, please note verse 35.