John 4: 6-10; 13-20; 25-26
Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, ‘Will you give me a drink?’ 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’ (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.’…
…Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’
He told her, ‘Go, call your husband and come back.’
‘I have no husband,’ she replied.
Jesus said to her, ‘You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.’
‘Sir,’ the woman said, ‘I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.’….
…The woman said, ‘I know that Messiah’ (called Christ) ‘is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.’
Then Jesus declared, ‘I, the one speaking to you – I am he.’
There is so much we can learn about reaching into our community and impacting lives with the love of Jesus through this Bible passage. I want to highlight just some of the truths I see here.
JESUS WENT TO PEOPLE WHO NEEDED HIM: When Jesus made the decision to travel through Samaria instead of going around the region it was because he had to meet this woman whose life was in a mess. There was no other way this would take place except in her territory at this time. Jesus knew his primary mission was to find lost people and welcome them into the Kingdom. In exactly the same way, if we want to see lost people come to experience Jesus we need to go where they are. We can’t wait for them to come to us.
JESUS INITIATED THE CONVERSATION: The disciples have gone into town to get food, so there’s just Jesus and this Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus immediately initiates a conversation. He finds the one thing they have in common, the one point of contact between them – they both need water. And that’s where he starts his conversation.
I have discovered that with every person I meet, I can always find at least one point of contact to begin a conversation. When we show genuine interest in others, it may start off on a superficial level, but it can often lead to more significant conversations about important issues further down the line.
JESUS MOVED FROM EVERYDAY CONVERSATION TO TALKING ABOUT SPIRITUAL THINGS: Jesus asks the woman for a drink and she says, “I thought your crowd didn’t talk to our crowd.” Look at how Jesus responds:
“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water." (v. 10)
One minute they’re talking about natural water and the next minute Jesus has moved the conversation onto spiritual issues and living water.
There comes a time in every relationship where we need to move beyond shallow, superficial chat and talk about ultimate issues. What I have found is that most people are generally open to talking about God and faith as long as they don’t feel that they’re being preached at.
JESUS CONFRONTED BUT DIDN’T CONDEMN: Jesus knew all about this woman and her past before he even spoke to her. He had supernatural knowledge of the immoral life she had been living. And yet he didn’t launch into an attack on her promiscuous lifestyle. He didn’t condemn her, but he did confront her with the reality of who she was and her own sin.
The world doesn’t need more self-righteous Christians. It does need grace-filled people whooffer life and hope.
Jesus always spoke the truth, but the truth was never used to condemn or shatter others. It was always wrapped up in grace and love to draw them and soften their hearts.
JESUS FOCUSED ON TALKING ABOUT JESUS: Jesus talked about himself. He didn’t get side-tracked by all other sorts of issues because he knew what people needed most was himself. Look at verse 13:
“Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
Jesus points to himself and tells this woman that he is the only one who can satisfy her thirst that she is trying to satisfy with relationships.
She then tries to side-track him with all sorts of issues about religion and the right place to worship. She even mentions the Messiah who is expected among her people. Look at how Jesus responds:
"I who speak to you am he." (v. 26)
Again Jesus points to himself, essentially saying, “I am the one you have been waiting on, the Messiah, I am what you really need.”
When confronted with the reality of who Jesus is, some people will try to get into all sorts of debates about evolution and science and other religions. While we should try to answer their sincere questions, what I have found is that very rarely will anyone become a Christian if you answer all of their questions. Becoming a Christian isn’t just a head issue, there’s always a heart component.
The key to sharing your faith is to do what Jesus did and stay focused on him – who Jesus is, what he has done, what he is doing in your life, and what he can do for them. It’s all about Jesus.