Do you have a favorite Bible story? Mine is found in the gospel of John, chapter 4:1-42. There, we read the story of Jesus’s encounter with a controversial outsider – the Samaritan woman. I love this story! The more I reflect on it, the more I recognize its depth and richness. There are many lessons we can learn and apply as followers of Jesus. For now, let’s consider the disciple-making lessons we discover there.
6 Evangelism Tips from John 4
1 – Start a Conversation (verses 7-9): Although the Samaritan was a stranger to Jesus, that did not stop him from initiating a conversation with her. Oftentimes, we find ourselves in situations with people that we may or may not know. It could be inside a bus, a train, a shared taxi, or some other setting. Those are great opportunities for us to start a conversation with them.
2 – Transition to a Spiritual Conversation (verses 10-14): What was the initial conversation about? Water. Something natural and ordinary. After a few minutes, the two were talking about the water of everlasting life. Let’s learn from Jesus how to transition a normal conversation into one where you are discussing spiritual things.
3 – The Role of the Prophetic (verses 15-26): Although it was the first time Jesus and the woman had met, he accurately described the details of her broken life. In the natural, he had no idea about how she lived her life. Jesus exercised a prophetic gift called a word of knowledge (1 Corinthians 12:8b). He compassionately exposed the secrets of her life and heart.
She must have been stunned! Notice what follows in the next few minutes (verses 19-26). It dawns on her that Jesus is the Messiah and Jesus confirms this to her!
Wouldn’t it be exciting to be used by God in this way? God can give us a prophetic word for someone we are sharing the gospel with. That helps opens their heart to the gospel!
It may not happen all the time, but there are moments when He will use us in this way. Let’s learn to be attentive to the Spirit, so He can move through us.
4 – God Uses Unlikely People (verses 28-30, 39-42). Right after her encounter with Jesus, the Samaritan woman ran back to the village and invited people to come and see the Lord. God’s Spirit used her testimony to draw the villagers to Jesus. In her Samaritan community, she was the most unlikely person to be used by God. Not only was she a female, but she was also an immoral woman, disliked by everyone in her village.
If God could use someone like her to turn a village to Christ, He can use anyone. He can use – a widow, a child, a less educated or poor person, a former drug addict, a low caste person, and so on. All you need is a testimony of having been changed by Jesus.
5 – The Harvest is Ready (verses 31-38). In the middle of this story, Jesus has an interesting conversation with his disciples. As they talk, He tells them “the harvest is ready.” He did not say that the harvest will be ready tomorrow, or sometime in the future. The fields of lost souls are ripe for harvest now, in the present. The Samaritan woman and her fellow villagers were examples of a ready harvest.
Naturally, it’s not easy to believe that the fields are ripe for harvest. There may be reasons that could have led you to feel disillusioned about evangelism. You may have had disappointing experiences trying to reaching the lost or the unreached. The story of John 4 calls us to a different kind of faith. It is trusting in what Jesus says, rather than our experiences. My place, my people group, and my community may seem hard. But there are people in the harvest who are ready for the gospel. Amen?
6 – Overcoming Prejudice (verse 9) – The woman was surprised when a Jewish man, Jesus, talked to her, a Samaritan woman. An ethnic divide was crossed. Jews and Samaritans, though somewhat related, did not like each other. No wonder she was surprised. Jesus reached across the barrier of race and gender to treat her as a valuable human being, made in the image of God. It wasn’t just His message. It was the way He treated her that brought her to faith in Him.
How can we learn to love those that are different from us the way Jesus did? It is critical that those whom we are trying to reach know that we authentically love them. No matter who they are, what their background is, they need to know they are not a “ministry project” to us. They need to know we are telling them about Jesus because we truly care.
Which of the above points are most relevant for you?
The above post was written by A.S.