“A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” “(John 4=7)
While most Christians would like to share the Gospel with people they encounter, often when the opportunity comes, they feel uncomfortable to follow through with witnessing for Christ. At times, they fail to establish communication with the person and this is not only embarrassing but it may hinder them from ever preaching the gospel. The story of Jesus and this Samaritan woman as recorded in Jn 4>1-26, gives us some principles we can apply in carrying out personal evangelism.
Make Contact with People: Jesus started out on a journey from Judea to Galilee through Samaria – being the shortest route to Galilee although many religiously Jews avoided it (Jn. 4>1-4). Jews in Jesusʼ timedespisedthe Samaritans avoided interaction with them. Jesus said He came to seek and save the lost (Lk.19>10); and again; “Go into all the world…” (Mk. 16>15). We are called to go where the people are!
Establish a Common Interest: Jesus’ first words to the Samaritan woman were “Give Me a drink” (Jn.4>7). She had come to draw water and Jesus was thirsty. Jesusʼ words centered around their common interest, water. (Jn. 4>7-8). It was very unusual for a Jew of that time to ask a favour or accept a drink from a Samaritan. Jesusʼ request genuinely surprised and caught the woman’s attention. A meaningful dialogue is not easy to establish, especially where spiritual matters are involved. A common interest creates a bridge which allows opportunity for meaningful dialogue.
Arouse Spiritual Interest: “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, “Give Me a drink…” (Jn.4>10) Jesus, taking advantage of the woman’s curiosity, gradually introduced God into the conversation. We need to raise questions or make statements that shift conversations to spiritual matters. We can also arouse spiritual interest by showing kindness and compassion to all and by not harboring racial or social prejudices to those who are different. (Jn. 4>9; 1Pet.3>1-2,15).
Proceed Slowly: Further in the discussion, the woman desired the “living water” but clearly, she had not understood what Jesus was referring to. Jesus slowed down and laid the groundwork. He needed to provide her with evidence that He was the Messiah and cultivate her faith in HIM. When Jesus told her to go get her husband, what followed resulted in her conviction that Jesus had to be a prophet (Jn. 4>15-16).
Be Led By the Spirit: “…you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband…” (Jn.4Q17-18). Jesus gave her information that there was no natural way of knowing. The Holy Spirit is able to empower us with wisdom and knowledge to make witnessing effective. We NEED HIM!
Don’t Condemn Unnecessarily:
Jesus could have dwelt on her adultery but He chose not to. He came to save
the world, not to condemn it. (Jn. 3>17). We should inform others of Godʼs forgiveness. God seeks reconciliation with sinners and we have been given the ministry of reconciliation (1Co 5>12-13; 18-20)
Stick with the Main Issue: In an attempt to avoid discussing herself, the Samaritan woman brought up the controversies between Jews and Samaritans (Jn. 4>20). Jesus steered the subject back to “Who He is and what He has to offer” (Jn. 4>19-25; Jn. 4>10). Jesus is the focus of our message!
After He had laid all the groundwork, Jesus finally confronted the woman with His true identity (Jn. 4>26). All our sharing should finally come to the revelation of who Jesus really is!
The result of Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman was the conversion of many people in the city of Sychar (Jn. 4>39-42). There is potential in personal evangelism. The one person you preach to might lead many more to the Lord. Take a leap of faith and Step Out. The harvest is ready but the workers are few! Let us take this Gospel of the Kingdom to the World.