When I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior a number of years ago, I vividly remember how excited I was! So excited that I couldn’t wait to share the news with my family and friends…hoping they too would accept Jesus! So excited that I was ready to quote them Bible scriptures and point out their sin…explaining their need to accept Jesus!
I remember sharing my excitement with my brother who was experiencing some difficult circumstances in his life at that time. I thought to myself… “If he just accepted Christ, his life would get better!” He pushed me away and didn’t want to hear about Jesus.
I remember sharing my excitement with my friends and hearing them say I was going through a phase and thinking I was part of a cult now. They too pushed me away and didn’t accept my life-changing experience of becoming a Christian.
I even recall sharing my excitement with my mother. Her response? “So what does that mean…are you gonna marry a Pastor now?” …showing no enthusiasm for my new life with Christ.
I had encountered Jesus and accepted Him as my Lord and Savior…and my heart’s desire was to see others come to know Him as well!
Although my excitement was certainly warranted about sharing the message of Christ, my methods in sharing this truth with others were quite possibly not the best. Do you share any similar experiences too?
One of the most truly amazing encounters with Jesus recorded in the bible is the encounter between Jesus and an unnamed woman at a well. It is referred to as…the story of the Woman at the Well…also known as the story of The Samaritan Woman.
It is a story of a woman whose name and age we do not know…a story of an unnamed woman who has a life-changing conversation with Jesus…a conversation considered to be the longest one on one chat recorded in scripture! That just might be enough to spark our curiosity of this story’s significance!
This encounter between Jesus and this unnamed woman…recorded in John 4:1-26… is full of many important lessons for us today… but one lesson may not appear as obvious.
If we examine this encounter more closely, we will see something very interesting…something we can so quickly overlook…something we can so easily miss…a hidden message that certainly has practical benefits for us.
And that is the way in which Jesus brought the truth to this unnamed woman.
Jesus comes and sits at the well for a moment while his disciples go into town for food. While Jesus sits and rests, our unnamed woman comes to the well to draw water. Jesus asks her for a drink. (John 4:4-7)
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” John 4:7 NIV
Practical Point 1: Even though Jesus knows who she is and what her issue really is, He first establishes a relationship with her.
Many times we think it takes time to build a relationship but it may only take a few moments to establish rapport with someone. Here we see Jesus developing a rapport with this woman so that she would be more open with Him.
Check out the woman’s response after Jesus asks her for a drink.
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.) John 4:9 NIV
The unnamed woman is surprised when Jesus asks her for a drink! Why?
Well, not only was it unheard of for a rabbi to speak to a woman in a public place, but Jews looked down on Samaritans because they had intermarried with the nations around them and were no longer “pure-blooded” enough to be considered true Jews.
Practical Point 2: Jesus demonstrates His love for her. It didn’t matter to Him that she was woman or a Samaritan.
When we share the truth with others, love should be our motivating factor. A person’s socioeconomic status, race, age, or any other stereotype should not prevent us from sharing with others the truth about Jesus.
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.” John 4:10 NIV
Jesus points out that if she knew who He truly was she would be willing to ask for the living water which can only come from Him. It is this living water that ultimately and forever quenches your thirst and satisfies the soul’s desire.
Practical Point 3: Jesus speaks of normal and ordinary things but leads her to talk of spiritual things.
When sharing the truth with others…like Jesus did…it’s important to be relevant and relatable. It is so easy to jump into spiritual things…it’s so easy to point out a person’s sin…it’s so easy to throw bible scriptures out…but to really impact others who don’t know Christ, we should talk about normal and ordinary things in life and find that common ground with them first.
Now the woman asks Jesus for the living water that only He can give… but check this out! Look at Jesus’ response!
He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” John 4:16 NIV
He is getting to the point by revealing the truth of her spiritual condition…her sin which is now coming out of the darkness and into the light. And Jesus is doing this without being combative or judgmental!
He isn’t wacking her over the head with the Bible or beating her down with scriptures about her sin…He isn’t accusing her of being an adulteress or harlot…He isn’t telling her that she is a sinner and is going to hell. And note… He isn’t compromising the truth here either.
Practical Point 4: Jesus gets the truth revealed about her sinful life in a manner that doesn’t beat her up and abuse her spiritually. He does it in love…leading her to spiritual things…leading her to the living water…leading her to the truth.
What a great story for us in presenting the truth of Jesus Christ to others! In this story of the Samaritan woman, Jesus spoke the truth but did it in a way that was respectful and with love.
1If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NIV
I know sharing Christ with others can be difficult at times…especially with our families and close friends. Jesus presents an example for us to follow. Every situation will not fit exactly into this example and timetable… but the principles can certainly be applied and followed. The message of Jesus Christ never changes…but for some of us…the method of sharing Jesus may need to change.
Jesus demonstrates the importance of building relationships and rapport…Let others see your walk…not just your talk. In time, they will see your changed life and new heart.
Jesus demonstrates His love for this woman. He chose to travel through Samaria…He didn’t have to…but He loved her so much. He went against what a respectable Jewish man would do…He spoke to a woman of the hated Samaritan race…but He loved her so much. He knew she was a social outcast…He knew she had a bad reputation…He knew she was a sinner…but He loved her so much.
Love should be our motivating factor in sharing Christ with others. And that love can be seen through our actions in serving and going out of our way for others…like Jesus did.
Jesus demonstrates the importance of being relevant and relatable. Meet people where they are at. Show interest in their life and be relatable.
I may not have started off with the greatest wisdom in sharing the truth with my family and friends…and that’s ok. I have learned a few things since then.
Update: After my bother showed no interest when I shared the truth with him, I prayed for his salvation every day. Three months later, he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior when a Harley Davidson minister shared the truth with him. And He has continued to live his life as a Christian for over 10 years now!
My mother accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior after her hairdresser shared the truth with her. Two years after her salvation, my mother passed away. I am so thankful I will see her again in heaven one day.
Our job is not to save people…that’s Jesus’ job. Our job is to develop relationships with others and share the truth with them in a loving, respectable, and relevant way.
And only God knows the encounter that will one day set them free…like the unnamed woman at the well! Let the example of this encounter serve as one practical method for us to follow in sharing Jesus with others!
1) Were you excited to share with your family and friends the truth about Jesus after accepting Him as your Lord and Savior?
2) How did they respond?
3) Did you point out their sin and give them bible scriptures explaining their need to turn to Jesus?
4) How effective is this method of sharing the message of Jesus Christ?
Review the story of Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well and allow it to serve as a method to share the message of Jesus Christ with others.