Summary: A living lesson on evangelism from the master of evangelism Himself.
Intro: One Sunday as they drove home from church, a little girl turned to her mother and said, "Mommy, there’s something about the preacher’s message this morning that I don’t understand." The mother said, "Oh? What is it?" The little girl replied, "Well, he said that God is bigger than we are. He said God is so big that He could hold the world in His hand. Is that true?" The mother replied, "Yes, that’s true, honey." "But Mommy, he also said that God comes to live inside of us when we believe in Jesus as our Savior. Is that true, too?" Again, the mother assured the little girl that what the pastor had said was true. With a puzzled look on her face the little girl then asked, "If God is bigger than us and He lives in us, wouldn’t He show through?"
Are we telling people about salvation through Jesus Christ? Or let me rephrase, are we getting out in highways and hedges and sharing the gospel with the lost world?
Lessons on Evangelism
1. Start from where people are. (v. 4) HE HAD TO GO THROUGH SAMARIA. We in the church expect people to come to us, when Jesus commanded us to “go” to them.
2. Start from lower than they are – he asked for a drink. Human nature wants to exalt its self-image and look down on others. Intimidating the lost with lofty religion does nothing but turn them away. We are only beggars telling other beggars where we found bread.
(v. 7-9) WILL YOU GIVE ME A DRINK? Sensing her discomfort, Jesus asked her for water. But she was too streetwise to think that all He wanted was a drink. “Since when does an uptown fellow like you ask a girl like me for water?” She wanted to know what He really had in mind. Her intuition was partly correct. He was interested in more than water. He was interested in her heart.
3. Push the right buttons.
a) Water – immediate interest
b) Husband – deep hearted interest, lonely,
c) Soul thirst – for something real and meaningful, fulfilling, enriching.
(v. 10) LIVING WATER – The OT is the background for this term, which has important metaphorical significance. In Jer. 2:13, Yahweh decries the disobedient Jews for rejecting him, the “fountain of living waters.” The OT prophets looked forward to a time when “living waters shall flow from Jerusalem” (Zech. 14:8; Ezek. 47:9). The OT metaphor spoke of the knowledge of God and His grace, which provides cleansing, spiritual life, and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. John applies these themes to Jesus Christ as the living water, which is symbolic of eternal life, mediated by the Holy Spirit from Him. Jesus used the woman’s need for physical water to sustain life in the arid region in order to serve as an object lesson for her need for spiritual transformation.
In this simple phrase, there is everything she needed to be saved. He told her what it was, "the water of life". He told her who controlled it, He did. He told her how to get it, "ask Him", and "receive it".
4. Be their friend (know them) so you can push the right button. If you know what has deep meaning or interest to them you have a starting place. You need to know what they believe about the Word of God and Jesus so you will know what you have to work with. Someone who doesn’t believe the Bible is the word of God will not be convicted or convinced by the Scriptures.
Illustration: One day, in 1888, Alfred Nobel picked up the morning newspaper and read his obituary. It was his brother who had passed away, but an over-zealous reporter, who had failed to check the facts, wrote that the world saw Alfred Nobel as the inventor of dynamite, an armaments manufacturer, a merchant of death. Because of this unusual chance to see his life as others saw it, Nobel resolved to make clear his true desire for peace. He arranged that the income from all of his fortune would fund an award to be made to those persons who did the most for the cause of peace. And so, today we remember Alfred Nobel not as an arms merchant, but as the founder of the Nobel Prize for Peace.
(v. 16) CALL YOUR HUSBAND – Since the woman failed to understand the nature of living water Jesus was offering, He abruptly turned the conversation to her spiritual need for conversion and cleansing from sin. His intimate knowledge of her morally depraved life not only indicated His supernatural ability, but also focused on her spiritual condition.
One day a lady criticized D. L. Moody for his methods of evangelism in attempting to win people to the Lord. Moody’s reply was "I agree with you. I don’t like the way I do it either. Tell me, how do you do it?" The lady replied, "I don’t do it." Moody retorted, "Then I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it." -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 178.