We believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
The Samaritan woman, whom the Lord met at Jacob’s well at Sychar, was simply unable to retain for herself what she had discovered about Him. She entered the town, and the effect of her testimony was that the townspeople came to check the veracity of what she reported. Was He really the Christ? The initial result of their verification was that “many of the Samaritans of that city believed in him because of the word of the woman”. But then they asked Him to stay with them, and as a consequence they themselves testified of Him with the above words.
First the Samaritans believed the witness of the woman: she had made the acquaintance of the Lord Jesus. In principle, that is the start of all knowledge – not only in spiritual matters. The greatest scholars and teachers were once pupils who had to assimilate what others knew before them.
Then the Samaritans took the woman’s words seriously and saw their need to act on them by going out to see Jesus. After their first impressions they still believed because of the woman’s words; but then came the decisive thing. Their personal encounter with the Lord made them aware of who He really is. Thus they came to the conclusion that He must be the “Saviour of the world”, which went beyond the mere expectation of the Messiah. Let us ask ourselves this important question: is our own “faith” merely second-hand? If so, it is not saving faith. Or do we believe in Him because of His own word and our own acquaintance with Him? In that case He will have become our Saviour, too.
Image: By Angelica Kauffmann – Upload 1: repro from art bookUpload 2: Own Work, photo taken by Cybershot800i., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8988425