In John 4 (you can read here), Jesus engages a despised Samaritan woman, and in so doing sets us an example on how we should engage the people we come into contact with. If you want to be a good witness for the Lord Jesus, you might want to consider His example.
- He accepts the woman as she is, even though He knows every thing about her (v9). We know very little about people, and sometimes what we do know we don’t like, and so we don’t accept them. We don’t think that the Lord could actually be at work in their soul. You know there are times when we don’t think like the Lord at all. If there’s one thing I could change about me this would be it, to be able to see people as Jesus sees them, and to be able to accept people the way Jesus does here.
- He actually spoke to the woman (v7). If you want to evangelize people, if you want to witness to people, you’ll have to speak to someone. Creation is a silent witness, you and I are not. Jesus was very relational; He engaged in conversation, He didn’t pass out Bible tracts. He sat down and had conversations with people. He built relationships with them, and I’ve found it’s more effective to be relational in witnessing, than trying to be the Bible-Answer Man. Build the relationship, tell of what Jesus has done, don’t worry about answering every theological question. If they ask you a question you don’t know, be honest and tell them you don’t know, but you’ll do some digging and get back with them the next time you meet for coffee.
- He levels with her about her sin (v 17-18). We try to be so merciful sometimes that we don’t deal with other’s sin. We tell people that their “okay” and God loves them and they think, “Well sure God loves me, I’m a good person, everybody tells me so.” Yet the Good News is not really Good News until you first hear the bad news, and the bad news is apart from faith in Christ, God isn’t all that happy with humanity. By the way, the only way you can deal with another person’s sin is through building a solid enough relationship that you can actually deal with the real issues of life. This is what Jesus does with this woman, and it reminds us that sometimes we have to say the hard things and call sin, sin.
- He communicates the truth with her (v 21-24). It’s not about where you worship, it’s about how and whom you worship, and it needs to be done through the Son. By the Spirit of God in accordance with the truth He has said in His Son, and in the Scriptures.
- He introduced Himself to the woman (v26). “I am He.” When you relate to people about God, you must bring up Jesus Christ, and what He has done. Even a simple statement like, “Jesus is Lord” is enough. You must bring up the Name of Jesus Christ. In our plurastic soceity, if you say, “I believe in God” without specifically saying Jesus Christ they are left to wonder which God you believe in. Be clear. Introduce them to the Jesus of the Scriptures.
- He stopped talking (v27-28). He let her go. He knew when to stop. When you don’t have anything else to say, stop talking. There’s nothing worse than a Christian (outside of a Jehovah Witness) who continues to jam the Gospel down somebody’s throat when their done listening! You gotta know when to stop.
Let’s pray that our engagement with the people the Lord gives us to speak to will be effective and fruitful for the Kingdom.