Witness in Action – The Samaritan Woman

John 4:1-29

We have considered the root of missions – in the very character of God, to seek out those who are lost with the intent of saving them. Next we learned how God covenanted with Abram to make him a blessing to all families of the earth through his Seed, the Lord Jesus. We saw from Psalm 150 that the ultimate goal of missions is the right worship of the true God, a topic found also in this morning’s text. Then, over the last three weeks, we explored the nature of 1st century missions and how Christ has equipped his church to evangelize the world. Today and for three more weeks we will look at the example of Jesus and also Philip, the evangelist, as they spoke one-on-one about the Gospel.

1.  The Samaritan Woman – one who knew little and had little interest (at first)

2.  The Rich Young Ruler – one who knew a little and had a wrong understanding

3.  Nicodemus – one who had the facts but not the understanding

4.  The Ethiopian Eunuch – one who knew some but had a desire for more

A. The Dialogue

1. Jesus initiated the conversationv.7

a. dealt with issue common to human need

b. nothing overtly spiritual in the opening exchange

c. crossed accepted cultural barriers

2. Jesus’ response had dual significance – “living water”v.10

a. running water – the spring at the bottom of the well

b. spiritual refreshment

3. The woman was stuck on her physical “needs”

a. no bucketv.11

b. no inconveniencev.15

4. Jesus’ next request designed to reveal her need was spiritualv.16

a. her responses show her recognition of an area of emptinessv.17, 20

i. “I stink at relationships.”

ii. “I was thinking about going to church.”

b. and a reluctance to deal with it too quickly and openly

i. “I’m not sure which church would be a good one.”

c. Jesus was careful to affirm her honestyv.17-18

i. “You spoke well.”

ii. “You spoke truly.”

5. Jesus’ response zeroed in on the heart of the matter

a. it’s not where you worship but Who and howv.21-22

b. it’s not a matter of externals, it’s a matter of the heartv.23-24

6. The woman’s saturation point was reached

a. “I’m not ready to deal with it right now.”v.25

b. “Ready or not, here’s the truth.”v.26

c. Jesus’ self-identification is the final recorded interaction between him and the woman

d. There is no direct indication in the text of her conversion

B. The Strategy

1. Jesus had a goal and purpose in mind

a. encourage and edify (build up faith and godliness of) the one who is a true disciple

b. move the one who isn’t a disciple toward a crisis – follow Him or reject Him

2. Jesus spoke so as to prolong the encounter

a. showed an interest and concern in the person

b. made statements that aroused curiosity, kept the conversation going

c. broke the stereotypes

3. Jesus engaged in drawing her out from behind her protective layer

a. wasn’t satisfied with the herfeltneed

b. wanted her to recognize her spiritual condition

c. all for the purpose of identifying hertrueneed – see 1.a.i and 1.a.ii

d. led her to “discover” the same things

4. Jesus dialogued creatively

a. used vocabulary that could be taken one way but applied in another

b. used language and word pictures she could relate to

5. Jesus moved beyond the comfort zone

a. made the transition from physical/felt to underlying spiritual need

b. led her to at least mentally identify that there was something missing

i. guided the conversation into the area of lack

ii. encouraged her to acknowledge the emptiness and insufficiency in man’s solutions

c. OMNISCIENCE IS NOT REQUIRED (for us to have)!!

i. skillful dialogue and good listening will uncover pertinent information

ii. understanding of human nature helps fill in the gaps

6. Jesus did not pressure

a. Sheep scatter when driven, follow when led

b. God often uses multiple means to bring someone to faith

i. Paul planted, Apollos watered, God gave the increase1 Corinthians 3:6

c. Jesus was satisfied with giving her a clear understanding of who He was

i. pointed the woman to Christ, the only one who could truly satisfy

ii. pointed her to the only one who could forgive, redeem, reconcile

d. Effective evangelism most often occurs in the context of relationships

i. Pastor Art Warner, Greenfield Alliance (MA): (1st encounter) Can I ask you a personal question?Sure.Tell me about your father.I don’t have a father.Let me guess: you’re lacking a proper father figure in your life so you’ve been looking for love in all the wrong places; now life’s a mess.Yup, that’s about right.(2nd encounter) You said you didn’t have a father.Well, I do, but…You’ll have to tell me about him sometime.It’ll make you cry.That’s OK.


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