Jesus, the Evangelist
By Scott Fiddler
The Word: John 4:1-9
1Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John
2(although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were),
3He left Judea and went away again into Galilee.
4And He had to pass through Samaria.
5So He came to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph;
6and Jacob’s well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
7There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.”
8For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.
9Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)
There are four takeaways from these first nine verses, at least as it pertains to evangelism.
First, Jesus was situationally aware. Jesus knew the Pharisees had heard Jesus was making more disciples than John. Jesus knew how the Pharisees would react to this knowledge, so He left for Galilee. When Jesus arrived at the well in Sychar and saw the woman come to the well, He immediately saw the opportunity in the situation. Jesus knew it was not time to engage the Pharisees but that it was time to engage the woman at the well.
Second, Jesus is an example of what it means to be led by the Holy Spirit in evangelism. The walk from Jerusalem to Sychar is about 40 miles, which would have taken at least 7-8 hours. Jesus was tired. It was noon. He was thirsty. It was an inconvenient time to share the gospel. Yet, Jesus did what He saw the Father doing. (John 5:19). The most inconvenient times are often the most opportune times.
Third, Jesus did not let cultural or political barriers inhibit Him from sharing the gospel. The Jewish culture of first century Israel had its misogynistic and racist challenges. Jewish religious leaders did not speak to women in public, and Jews did not socialize with Samaritans. Jesus broke though both those barriers by speaking to a Samaritan woman in broad daylight in a public place. In fact, the woman, rightly surprised responded, “How is it You, being a Jew ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?”
Fourth, Jesus engaged the woman in conversation. And, as the verses that follow show, Jesus turned the conversation to the issue of who He was, and revealed Himself as the Son of God and her Savior.
Jesus’ actions with the woman at the well is a model of evangelism for Christians.
There are too many things going on around us in a world where we share common ground for everything to fit neatly into our schedule. It is therefore incumbent upon Christians to be situationally aware, see what the Lord is doing, and be led by the Holy Spirit to engage others with the gospel, regardless of whether it is convenient and regardless of cultural barriers.
I was recently talking to an acquaintance on the phone when he brought up the subject of God. My first thought was that I didn’t have time to begin and finish a conversation like this. I was getting ready to leave to catch a flight out of town for business and needed to leave in about fifteen minutes.
However, I felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit that I should share the gospel with him. Fortunately, I was obedient to the Lord, and about ten minutes later this man prayed to become a Christian. It was easy because it was the right time, even though it wasn’t a convenient time for me.
I know evangelism is tough for most Christians, but it is essential. And, in the account of Jesus and the woman at the well, Jesus gives Christians a good example of how to share the gospel with others.