Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 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.) ( John 4: 5-8)
In my last message I urged us all to Just preach the gospel. But I cannot tell anyone a step by step guide to sharing Jesus, but I can offer principles, as the Bible does. There can be no step by step because all people are different, and God meets us where we are.
In this story we see Jesus and his disciples traveling through Samaria, a very strained area full of tensions between Samaritans and Jews which went back centuries. Jews didn’t speak to Samaritans and vice versa. But Jesus did. He asked a Samaritan woman for a drink.
This is the first , simplest principle of evangelism;
- Relate, that is, open up to others, even allowing them to give something to you, such as a drink of water. Jesus asked a woman for a drink of water. She would have had to lower her bucket, fill a cup and give it to him.
Jesus was tired and thirsty, so He asked her for a drink.
The woman was surprised that Jesus being a Jew would talk to her, a Samaritan.
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. ( John 4:9-10)
This leads us to a second principle of Evangelism;
- In conversation, Be CREATIVE– “If you knew who was asking you for a drink, you would be asking me for a drink…” .
In this simple way, Jesus took the small discussion from a natural to a spiritual level. Living water? What is that?
Thirst has always been a metaphor for the unsatisfying nature of sin, and of the world. Satan has a minstrel named Mick Jagger, who used to sing (rightly) “I can’t get no satisfaction…”, and those deeply marked by the world know so painfully the truth of that.
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.( John 4:13-15)
The “water” Jesus offers is spiritual life. It alone can satisfy the deep longings of the soul. We were made for something higher and purer than anything this sinful world has to offer.
But even though the woman seems ready to accept the water Jesus is offering, another principle comes to the fore ground as a prerequisite to the reception of eternal life.
- Convict- the woman could sense the reality of what Jesus was offering her, and felt she was ready to accept it, but according to Jesus, not yet!
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.( John 4:16-18)
Jesus Knew full well the woman’s marital history, and the fact that currently she was living in a state of adultery. He also knew that she would have to face up to her sin, and acknowledge it, before she could accept the gift of “living water”. Sin has to be dealt with in order for man to be saved. “Thou shalt not committ Adultery”.
“Sir You are a Prophet…”, in other words, “Jesus, you are right, I am a sinner in need of forgiveness”. In that simple acknowledgement that Jesus was right, the woman “justified God”, condemning herself in the process.
Now she was ready for the final principle;
- Reveal- Now Jesus could reveal to her the gospel, now that she had been drawn, made aware of her need, and had justified her maker, acknoledging her sin and alienation from Him.
The woman had a valid question, ‘…which mountain is the right mountain, ours or yours? ‘
There is more to this question tan meets the eye. What the question asks, is where can forgiveness of sins be obtained, in the Samaritan or Jewish temple? The Samaritans had their own temple, sacrifices and Priesthood. The Jews had the Temple, ordained by God himself, with the levitical Priesthood, the services of sacrifice, intercession and the ministry of mercy.
Which one was valid?
In other words, which religion gets it right? Which one is sanctioned by God? Is it one, the other, or both?
Jesus had to tell her, that her religion was wrong…
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. ( John 4:20-22)
This woman is one of the few in all of the gospels, to hear Jesus tell her directly who he was, the Messiah.
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.( John 4:25-26)
Hre are four simple principles to employ in one on one ministry;
- Relate to others, engage them, be interested in them. Let them give to you in small ways.
- Be creative in conversation, hold out the spiritual reality wherever possible.
- There always comes a time to bring up the issue of the barrier which truly separates man from his maker, sin. The Ten Commandments are really helpful here,
- Reveal; Jesus didn’t reveal much of himself unless he saw that they were convicted and wanted to know of him, and of the Father.