Belie'f, n. 1. A persuasion of the truth, or an assent of mind to the truth of a declaration, proposition or alleged fact, on the ground of evidence, distinct from personal knowledge; as the belief of the gospel; belief of a witness. - The 1828 Noah Webster Dictionary
What are some of the things you believe? How did you arrive at those beliefs? Was it through lessons learned? What it through experience? Was it through something your mother or father told you?
"Don't touch the stove! It's hot!!"
Did you come to believe that stoves might be hot through obedience to your parents commands? Or did you actually have to touch the stove before you fully believed?
The Bible is full of stories about people, even entire nations, who "thought" they believed in God, but when it came right down to it, it was rather obvious that they didn't. However, they soon came to believe and, well, let's just say that it didn't necessarily end well for them.
During the early part of Jesus' ministry, Jesus and his disciples were traveling through Samaria on their way to Galilee. Jesus became thirsty, or did He really, and He sat down at a well - Jacob's well. Things began to happen shortly after His disciples went into town to to get some food. A woman showed up (John 4:7).
You can read their entire conversation here. But I can spare you most of it. It was really rather normal. In the woman's eyes, there was nothing special about the man who had asked her for a drink. That is, until Jesus began telling her things about herself that no one else could have possibly known. By verse 19 the Samaritan woman had already come to believe that Jesus was more than a typical traveler.
"19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet."
And what a prophet He was! This woman also knew that a "messiah" was coming into the world. She told Jesus so. That is what she believed. So, when Jesus told her, "I who speak to you am he." she probably freaked . . . JUST a little.
When the disciples returned they found Jesus and the woman talking. What the woman had just learned from Jesus, that He was indeed the messiah, made he leave everything she was carrying and run back into town to tell her family and her friends. She believed!!
When we say we, do we REALLY believe? Or do we just think we believe? The woman was so excited about what she had just learned she left her water jar behind (John 4:28) and ran to tell anyone who would listen about Jesus.
A question for you . . . What is it that we are not leaving behind? What is keeping US from running into town to tell everyone WE know about Jesus? What are WE afraid of?
Later in verse 39 we read . . .
"39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”
This woman's testimony of what Jesus had told her, and that she believed He was the messiah, was what had brought all the others to meet Jesus. And once they heard what Jesus had to say, they believed . . . fully.
God, help us to believe and to believe with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. Help us to believe not doubt. Thomas doubted, yet finally came to believe . . .
"29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” - John 20:29
Here is a short video about people who say they believe . . . but really don't.