Witnessing 101 – John 4:1-42

“Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water’” (John 4:13-15, ESV).

In the familiar story of Jesus and the woman of Samaria in John 4:1-42, Jesus provided a perfect demonstration of personal witnessing:

 

  • Jesus didn’t discriminate about whom He spoke to and it didn’t matter to Him the circumstances or conditions of the encounter (vs. 7-9). Jesus asked a Samaritan woman for a drink of water from her water jar. Since “Jews have no dealings with Samaritans” drinking water from this woman’s water jar would make Jesus ceremonially unclean–a fact they both understood. So, Jesus demonstrated His acceptance of her as a human being.
  • Jesus approached the woman on a personal and friendly basis (vs. 7-9). Breaking with both culture and tradition, Jesus took the initiative to speak to a Samaritan woman.  My pastor once told me that you can’t win anyone to Jesus that you can’t first win to yourself. In other words, first be a friend.
  • Jesus explained God’s gift of eternal life in a relevant and meaningful way–as living water–and invited her to accept it (vs. 10-15). Jesus frequently spoke in terms of the visible, physical world in order to teach about the unseen, spiritual world of God’s Kingdom.
  • Without compromise but with gentleness and compassion Jesus helped the Samaritan woman see her need to repent (vs. 16-17)
  • Jesus addressed her objections and preconceptions without debating with her (vs. 20-24) and helped her believe His testimony by explaining that He was the Messiah (vs. 25-26).
  • The Samaritan woman had a transformational encounter with Jesus because she left her water jar and went back to town and excitedly shared her faith in Jesus (vs. 28-29). When Jesus truly saves you, you want to tell others about it.
  • Jesus turned the event into a teachable moment for His disciples (vs. 31-38). Jesus explained His (and consequently His disciples’) mission. His coming into the world ushered in the time of gathering of all believers into God’s Kingdom and sharing the gospel with the Samaritans indicated the universal scope of His saving mission.
  • The Samaritan woman began to disciple other believers (vs.40-43). Many of the woman’s fellow Samaritan citizens believed because of her testimony. Jesus remained with the Samaritans a few days and as she continued to lead people to Jesus, they heard His teachings for themselves and believed in Him.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8, ESV)

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