“Many more believed because of His word; and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.” John 4:41,42
Today we are in Samaria, Lord. You’ve spoken to one of the outcasts of Samaria, and a woman at that, a woman with a risque lifestyle, who has come to the well where You specifically chose to rest. I don’t have to wonder much if you knew she was going to come there. It’s pretty apparent that this was a divine appointment that she didn’t know she was going to have. And she comes to believe in You and runs to tell her townspeople about You. And many of them believed because of her testimony. Then they gather around You and ask You to stay and tell them more. And in the two days more that You remained teaching in this city of outcasts many more believed because of Your own words and not just the words of the woman.
Imagine that. “We no longer believe because of your testimony. We have heard His word for ourselves. We are convinced in Him that He is the One. He is truly the Savior of the world, the Christ. Just like You came to see for yourself, now we see each for ourself. We have our own testimony of seeing!” Isn’t that something that many believed into You because of one woman’s testimony, but those and many more came to be even more excited about believing in You because of hearing and understanding Your words directly for themselves? That’s exciting to me. It’s even exciting to me every day when You help me to see something deeper or differently in Your Word on any particular day. It’s one thing to hear Your Word opened up by someone else I’m listening to. But when You tell something directly to me, that’s a wow factor to another degree!
It’s one thing to believe that You are who You say You are and that You intervene in a person’s life. It’s exciting stuff. But it’s a whole new realization when I come to see that You are who You say You are and intervene in my own life. It’s one thing to say, “I wish I had experienced what she has. Look at how excited she is about Jesus. Look at how there is something changed about her. I believe what she is saying is true. It has to be. Look at what’s happened in her.” And it’s a whole different thing to say, “Wow, this is like nothing I have ever experienced before. I am so excited about Jesus! He’s changed me! This is everything I’ve been searching for. This is the answer. This is what I’ve been missing. I believe that He is everything I need. This is true. I need Jesus. I found Jesus. Thank You, Jesus for coming and finding me!”
So what does faith, this pisteuo, look like here? It looks like hearing Your words speak to me. It goes beyond hearing someone else explain them to us. It’s when I stop to listen from You and hear You directly.
My family is doing a devotion in James right now. And before getting up this morning, I started reading James chapter 1 on my phone. I was stopped at James 1:25. “But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” Now that is a wonderful truth packed full of exciting stuff, but I’m going to only deal with one little part today, the part that stopped me this morning, these two little words- “looks into.” The one who “looks into” God’s Word is where it all starts. What does it mean to “look into” God’s Word?
When I stop to look into Your Word it implies that I am peering intently into it. I stop what I am doing and I kneel down and I take a deeper look. I examine it. I take time out and set other things aside to make sure I can see. Isn’t that what is happening in this story, this true story, in Samaria that day? These people who were normally so busy with life there way, stopped and took a chance to peer into what You were telling them. First they stopped to listen and pay attention to the woman. But then they asked You to stick around longer and tell them more. And their normal activities and the normal things they payed attention to got pushed off to the wayside and You were brought to the forefront. And they probably knelt there before You, listening intently, leaning into You, to hear every word You spoke. Because Your words are words of life and they were coming alive as they listened and were ministered to by these words.
And the wonderful thing is, as we lean closer to You, as we draw closer to You to hear You and what You are saying to us, You draw closer to us. Then “BOOM!” We see what we’ve been looking for. And it was all in You! And we find it when we find You. Romans 10:17 tells us that “Faith is of hearing, and hearing through the word of God.” Hearing preceeds sight in this case. And the more we hear from You ourselves, the stronger our faith, because it is our faith and not just someone elses. I might start out coasting on someone else’s coattail, but I cannot remain there. I must hear and acknowledge You for myself. I must experience Your word speaking in my own life for myself. That is living in belief. That is personal faith that changes my life and makes it Yours.
I remember the day I understood and came to know You as my personal Lord and Savior. I was as excited as the Samaritans that day. I still am. You never cease to amaze me. I had been hearing Your testimony through other people. And I was excited. But it was You speaking through Your own Word that won me over. It was me getting to know You for myself that convicted me and won my heart. I knew I needed You and I knew I didn’t want to live without You. But here’s another part of that wonderful truth- it doesn’t stop there. It didn’t end that day in Samaria. And it didn’t end the day I got it and accepted You and committed into You. Every day, into eternity, as I kneel and peer into Your words, You keep teaching me and changing me and amazing me and walking with me.
Lord, may I never cease to fall more in love with You as I peer deeper and deeper into Your words. May I love Your word so dearly that there is nothing else like it in my life. Let nothing else compare. May Your words fill me, equip me, empower me, and change me more and more every second of every day into Your image and may I be ever drawn closer and closer to You. Lord, let there be something in the way that I share Your words that draws others directly to peer into Your words for themselves, because I want them to fall in love with Your words to them for themselves because I don’t want them to miss hearing from You for themselves. Lord, as we listen, as we look, let us hear You and know You for ourselves.