We started looking yesterday at the way Christ met people where they were. We’ll finish out the week by taking a closer look at His meeting with the woman at the well. This passage offers many pointers for the would-be witness.
Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her? The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? Then they went out of the city, and came unto him. (Joh 4:6-30)
An Example of Evangelism
This passage is full of great soul winning principles. Here are some of them:
- Christ shared the gospel with a woman personally, but did so in a public place. He didn’t do it behind closed doors where He could open Himself to temptation or slander against His character.
- Christ didn’t let bigotry keep Him from sharing the gospel. This woman was a despised Samaritan. She had a terrible personal reputation and Christ knew it. Even so, He cared for her and showed her the way of life.
- Christ began a conversation with her in a simple, non-threatening way. He confessed a need and asked for her help.
- He didn’t make an issue of the potential rift between them, even when she brought it up.
- Christ expessed good will to her by offering her something she needed – living water.
- He was patient with her lack of spiritual insight.
- Christ brought the conversation around to sin in the woman’s life. He wasn’t being mean. We are sinners and Jesus came to save us from our sins (1Ti. 1:15).
- Christ gently turned the conversation from religion to truth. When the Samaritan woman tried to dodge the sin issue by discussing religion, Jesus talked with her plainly about it, but drew the conversation back to truth.
- Christ proclaimed absolute truth in response to her agnostic attitude. In effect, the woman was saying, “We can’t know truth now.” “You have your opinion and I have mine,” she was saying, “I guess we’ll have to wait till Christ comes to find out who was right.” Christ responded by proclaiming Himself the Messiah – the truth she was looking for. (By the way, proclaiming that truth can’t be known is a little like calling a friend on your cell phone and telling him you’re a mute.)
Christ skilfully met this women where she was and led her where she needed to be. The salvation of her soul was the result of His wise and compassionate witness. Not only that, but a multitude of her neighbors came to Christ, too.
What About You?
- Are you following Christ’s evangelistic example?