John 4:7-42 gives us an incredible insight into personal witnessing. The Lord Jesus exemplified this thrilling process in his dialogue with the Samaritan woman.
Consider with me eight basic lessons we must learn if we are to be an effective in personal witnessing for Jesus.
I. You must Engage People in Conversation: vv. 7-9
John 4:7 There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.”
There is really no such thing as a silent witness. A witness by definition must speak of that which they have observed and experienced. In order to do this you must first get the attention of another. Jesus does this by asking her for a drink. He knew this would get her attention because He was a Jew and she was a Samaritan.
You must have a mindset and preparedness to engage in conversation.
II. You Must Guide the Conversation from the Natural Realm to the Spiritual Realm. vv. 10-14
“Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
Jesus takes the current request of natural water and then turns it towards the realm of spiritual water.
- First, notice that Jesus at this point has not talked about sin or judgment or hell.
- Second, Jesus has presented a valuable gift to her. A gift that will meet her deepest needs in life.
- Third, look at the spiritual language He uses in the transition: Gift of God; living water (I mean how does one kill water?); eternal life.
- Fourth, notice that Jesus doesn’t react to her challenges about, nothing to draw with, and being greater than Jacob.
There is no Bible bashing, or forcing the conversation, there is simply an opening of the door to spiritual things and the Woman of Samaria seems quite prepared to walk through. Jesus up until now is sowing seeds and has in the process aroused this woman’s spiritual interest.
III. You Must Expose the Individuals Spiritual Need. vv. 15-18
v. 16 He said to her, “Go, call your husband and come here.” 17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.”
Jesus had to help this woman see where her true thirst in life was. She needed to see that her multiple and adulterous relationships were sinful and sin separates us from God. She is and has lived a sin laden life. She feels exposed by his knowledge of her life. She doesn’t want to be exposed in her sin but through this exposure she perceives Jesus to be a prophet because she feels he has laid her bare before God.
At the same time as Jesus exposes her sin He also commends her for her truthfulness. Jesus has used the Law that this woman knew so well to expose her need. He doesn’t hammer her ungodly lifestyle He simply affirms that she has been truthful to God about her sin.
This step is absolutely crucial when sharing the gospel. If the person you are speaking to doesn’t acknowledge they have broken God’s law and are under His condemnation, then they will not see the need to be rescued from their condition of spiritual death. So we must learn to expose the persons spiritual need by using the Law of God which is acts like a school master to bring us to Christ (Gal. 3:24).
IV. You Must Provide Spiritual Solutions to Sin and Corrections to Wrong Thinking. vv 19-24
The first thing that often happens once a person understands that they stand condemned before God is they seek to find a reason for not believing or seeking God as they should. For the Samaritan, the excuse was related to confusion over worship. Jesus supplies the solution to her confusion.
Jesus also corrects wrong thinking by showing her that salvation is of the Jews. This wasn’t a slap down but a reminder of the source of her faith and that the Messiah she and her people were looking for was coming though the lineage of the Jewish people.
Deuteronomy 18:15 “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.”
So, we must provide the solution to the questions being raised, whether legitimate or simply a self defense mechanism. We must also be actively correcting wrong thinking by pointing people to the Word of God. We must find ourselves in this process if we are to be effective in our witnessing.
V. You Must Present Jesus as the Savior of Mankind. vv. 25-26
John 4:25-26 “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” 26Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”
Jesus presents Himself to her as the God-sent Messiah which she says she is looking for. He is in effect calling her to trust in Him and His spiritual promises of living and thirst quenching water.
We also must make it clear to those we witness too that Jesus Christ is the rightful Sovereign Lord over all. He is sovereign over His Creation and He is Sovereign over death. He is the Creator and we are His Creatures, therefore He has the right to rule over us.
VI. You Must Be Motivated By Obedience to God not the Political correctness of Man. vv. 27, 31-34
First in verse 27 we see that obedience to God’s will is not always in accord with man centered protocol or political correctness. The disciples were amazed that Jesus has been speaking to a woman and at the very point at which they returned that had heard Him declare himself as Messiah. This was politically and culturally incorrect.
Second, when we do the will of God our souls are most satisfied. We must be about the Fathers business, we must feed our souls and when you feed something it grows…
VII. You Must Believe In and Encourage others To Gather the Harvest: vv. 28-29. 35-38
Jesus believed in this woman that she would be able to go and effectively witness of Him. It is the witness of the woman that brought great blessing to her town.
Jesus was expectant of a harvest and encourages others to see what He sees. This is not a harvest bound by the limits of natural laws, but a harvest that can be gathered right on top of the seed that has just been sown. This is a perpetual harvesting. We need to get on board. (1 Cor. 3:6)
We are most satisfied when we are fulfilling the ongoing purposes of God for our lives. We got saved for the purpose of becoming soul winners and helping the Lord of the Harvest gather in the harvest in its due season. That season to be sowing and harvesting is right now!
VIII. You Must Establish Those in the Faith Who Believe: vv. 39-42
What we have in these final verses is the grounding of those who have been harvested to eternal life. Jesus went to the village and spent two days to establish them in the truth before moving on.
So the question goes out, who can be a soul winner? Anyone who is saved! Who will you go and personally evangelize?
Robert Murray McCheyne, was one of Scotland’s greatest preachers, who died when he was only twenty-nine. A biographer wrote that everywhere he stepped, Scotland shook. Whenever he opened his mouth, a spiritual force seemed to sweep in every direction. Thousands followed him to the feet of Christ. A traveler, eager to see where McCheyne had preached, went to his old church. An old sexton agreed to give him a tour. He led the way into McCheyne’s study. “Sit in that chair,” he ordered. The traveler hesitated a moment, then sat in the chair. On the table before him was an open Bible. “Drop your head in that book and weep. That is what our minister always did before he preached,” said the old man. With such a passion for God’s Word and the souls of the lost, is it any wonder the Holy Spirit used McCheyne to draw so many to the Savior?
May we be found praying for the lost, engaging the lost, caring for the lost, exposing the need of the lost, preaching Christ to the lost and establishing those who believe in the faith.