“Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?”
Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” — John 4:29,39 (ESV)
I see repeated a theme throughout the stories of people who met Jesus, that those who were the biggest losers — the ones with the most demons, the ones with the most sins, the ones who were despised and rejected by others — it is those who, when they find hope and freedom in Jesus, become the biggest lovers of Jesus, the best witnesses for him, those who untiringly give all they have in gratitude.
This is the story we see played out here in these two verses. The woman is so taken by the words of Jesus that she has to go and tell others. Keep in mind that she was likely a social outcast, indicated by her visit to the well in the heat of the day, when no one else was around. You wouldn’t expect an outcast to have influence, unless there was something discernibly different about that person that would cause others to take notice. Maybe it was simply her subject matter. Maybe no one ever heard her say anything about God before — or maybe only negative things — and now she can’t keep quiet about God and the man at the well.
Note that some of the people didn’t even need to see Jesus for themselves. This woman’s testimony was so powerful that they believed in Jesus because of it. People want to share amazing blessings with others, but this woman perhaps was also expressing her gratitude for Jesus touching her life by sharing the love she received with others.
But for someone to believe in the Messiah, it takes more than a good sales pitch — people respond to what seems genuine to them, and there is no bigger testimony to something being genuine than your life being noticeably changed. Changed people change people. Firstly, because whatever caused the change in their life becomes their primary motivator for life. And secondly, because a visible change is the ultimate stamp of credibility.
We can be changed like that, but it entails understanding what we were without Jesus, then realizing what we are with Jesus, and finally letting that bubble up in gratitude and praise.