Title: Christ-like Witnessing
Theme: Following the Lord’s Example in Witnessing
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)
No greater honor than to be a part God’s work
There is no greater honor than to be a part God’s work which is telling others about Jesus Christ.
In John chapter four Jesus is passing through Samaria. When He comes to Jacob’s well He is tired from his journey and He sits down. (John 4:6) The disciples have gone into Sychar to buy food. (John 4:5,8) The Bible says it was about the six hour which would most likely be around noon.
In this portion of Scripture we see Jesus’ human side for we read that He is tired and evidently hungry, just like we get tired and hungry. Just as God sent Jesus on a mission He can send you and me on a mission and yes we will get tired.
Jesus uses a common physical thirst to cause the lady at the well to enquire about deeper eternal matters. In their discussion He intrigues her with a promise of quenching a natural spiritual thirst that is common to all of mankind, that spiritual thirst which people try to satisfy through giving into the flesh, drinking in the world’s views and Satan’s lies. Sadly, only a few drink of the living water offered by the Lord.
Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)
I would propose to you that Jesus lays down three simple truths that could help all Christians in their witnessing about Jesus Christ. Jesus made a connection, then drew attention from temporary satisfaction to eternal fulfillment and then on to what true worship is.
A heart surrendered to the will of the Lord will be given opportunities to share about the wonderful works of Christ. It may be today, next week, next month or off and on through out the calendar year. You can be confident in this fact God wants to use you.
Just how can you follow the simple example of Christ with confidence that Jesus is going to use you?
Make a connection
The first thing Jesus did was to make a connection. This woman who lived a life of sin came out to get water and He makes a connection with her.
You have family members, friends and co-workers who are just like this lady who are also bound by sin and you need to be making a connection. Jesus made this connection by being obedient to His father who was sending Him to Galilee. All divine appointments that are set up for you will come about as you are obedient to the Lord’s call upon your life.
Divine Providence brings about glorious things and Jesus does not want you to miss the opportunities He gives you. Is there someone in your work place that you want to reach for Christ? Is there a neighbor that you want to reach? Is there a family member you have been praying for? Ask the Lord for a connection!
Jesus had a need for water and the lady had a way of getting water from a well that was very deep. The dept is around 75 feet to the water line with a total dept of a 135 feet (The New International Dictionary of the Bible; The International Dictionary of the Bible; Pastor Tom Holladay) The point being Jesus, being man had a need that could not be met without her help.
You have some need that you cannot meet and there is someone who is bound by sin who can help you meet that need, This is a wonderful opportunity for you to make a connection. It may be an answer to a question about work, home repairs or about how to find the right resources. It could be a physical task that you cannot do on your own.
Here at the church we often like to find someone who does not know Christ as personal Savior and Lord to do things we cannot get done around here on our own. For example when the church parsonage needed painted, we hired a non-Christian to do that. When the driveway, sidewalks, curbing and parking lot needed improvements upon we gave someone the bid who not only knew what they were doing, but also did not know Christ. When the roof was causing some real problems, we let someone work on it who did not know Jesus. We made every effort to express appreciation of their good work and we paid them what they were worth. These are connections made with sinners who could meet a need we could not meet on our own.
Make a connection with someone who would be shocked that you even speak to them let alone ask them for assistance or show a real interest in them.
The lady at Jacob’s well asked, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink? (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)” (John 4:9)
Let me give you a little history about the Samaritans. Samaria is right about center of Israel. When Israel fell to the Assyrians, Samaria was the place where the very poorest were left behind. They intermarried with other races. They brought in a false priest. They began false worship and they twisted Scripture while rejecting everything in the Old Testament except the first five books of the Bible. (Pastor Tom Halladay; The New International Dictionary of the Bible; 2 Kings 17; The Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible; The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia; William Barclay; Matthew Henry Commentary)
According to Josephus (Antig 18.2.2) there was no greater time in history that bitterness was higher between the Jews and Samaritans than at the time Jesus spoke with the woman at Jacob’s well. According to the annual customs, during the governorship of Coponius from A.D. 6-9, the temple gates were opened at midnight. Some Samaritans had intruded and polluted the Holy place by scattering human bones in the porches. Samaritans were thereafter excluded from the services. They were cursed in the temple. Their food was considered unclean, even as swine’s flesh. (The New International Dictionary of the Bible)
The whole situation narrated in John 4 is therefore remarkable for it is a magnificent illustration of the work that Christianity was to bring to all who have grown immoveable from the bondage of prejudice.
Jesus taking time to talk to a Samaritan woman and sending the disciples to buy food from the town where the people’s food was considered uneatable was just a foreshadowing of the great revival that came to the Samaritan area during the ministry of Philip, Peter and John. (Acts 8:4-25)
There are many prejudices that keep people from hearing the gospel of Christ. There is the prejudice of the people who are in sin. They convince themselves that obedient Christians do not want to associate with them or care about their needs, problems or concerns in life. There is the prejudice of religion that causes Christians to hide away in their homes, churches and among Christian friendships. Jesus was out among sinners ministering to the sick, the needy, meeting the practical and spiritual need of all who would accept what God was doing through Him.
In this Biblical account of Jesus speaking with the Samaritan woman there is an interesting truth found in John 4:4 that the Holy Spirit wants us to grasp today in our efforts to fulfill our part of the Great Commission. It says, “Now He [meaning Jesus] had to go through Samaria.” (John 4:4) It is better translated in the King James Bible as “And He must needs go through Samaria.”
“Must needs” (edei) in its application in John 4:4 means that it was a necessity, a compulsion and Jesus’ destiny to go through Samaria for the sake of His mission. (The Expositors Bible Commentary; The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible; Thru the Bible; Matthew Henry; The Pulpit Commentary) The Greek word “must” (edei) is often used in connection with Jesus’ missions. (John 3:14; 9:4; 10:16; 12:34; 20:9)
There are three routes Jesus could have taken, which were the paths the Jews took most often. Jesus said this about His part in fulfilling the Great Commission, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work.” (John 4:34) Jesus had to go through Samaria to lay down a foundational work of the gospel, because is was His Father’s will for Him.
The Lord Jesus still has a work to do down here and through the “Great Commission” He sends the children of God on a mission that they must complete. All Christians will give an accounting for their mission, therefore, be obedient and sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading and pray for the connection the Lord wants you to make.
Draw attention from temporary satisfaction to eternal fulfillment
The second truth the Holy Spirit wants us to catch today is that Jesus drew attention from temporary satisfaction to eternal fulfillment.
The heartbeat of Jesus’ mission at Jacob’s well is defined in John 4:10 and 13. Jesus said, “‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.’ ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Jesus moves the lady from what she does know to what she does not know. He intrigues her to begin to ask questions about Him. In John 4: 12 we read of the woman asking this question, “Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?” She wants to know who this man at the well is. Through Jesus’ example our goal is to get people from thinking and talking about what they know to asking about what they do not know.
How do you get people to move form talking about what they do know to asking about what they do not know? Example, when people begin to talk about the problems their family is having, move them to ask about a Christian family who had those same problems but do not have them problems now. Point out how Jesus Christ did a work in their lives.
Remember the Christian’s goal is to be walking in obedience to the Lord and the focus is to be speaking to people that you can connect with. Let the Lord lead you to that person that has a heart prepared to receive what the Lord has for them at that time of their life. As Christians prayerfully seek the Lord, they will see doors open up and as they work at it they will be surprised how often they find people they can connect with drawing their attention from temporary issues to eternal issues.
An important note to remember is that Jesus pointed the woman’s attention to what matters in eternity. There is a contrast to what will satisfy physical thirst, (water drawn from a well by labor) to spiritual water that will bubble from inside which is given by Jesus Christ.
The water that Jesus is referring to without a doubt is His own teachings, His grace, His Holy Spirit and all the benefits which come with having Him as personal Savior and Lord. It is having God take away that heart of stone and putting His Spirit in a repentant sinner to move a man to seek a life of Holiness. (Ezekiel 36:26-27) (Barnes Notes)
Jesus work in Samaria is a perfect picture because in the surrounding areas were vast deserts and often there was a great want for water. The soul without Christ is like a desert or like a traveler wandering through a desert looking for water. As soon as they find water it is not long before they start another search for water. The soul without Christ is thirsty for happiness and fulfillment and it is constantly looking for satisfaction, but finds himself continuing seeking for more and bigger wells.
In contrast is the soul that is drinking in the Holy Spirit as He brings revelation and illumination from the Word of God. This soul is satisfied as he walks in simple faith not longing for the amusement of the world. The grace of Jesus shall be in the heart and the principles of Holy living shall be a reflection of his life.
A spring of water welling up to eternal life is a beautiful image for it is like a fountain bubbling up with fresh clean cool water. It is a contrast to a stagnant pool that holds the harmful bacteria, which in this represents sin. It is in contrast to the deep well that takes hard work to pull up water and carry it home.
It is a spring that never runs dry in heat, never freezes over during cold seasons, and it is in constant flow in all circumstances of life. Whether foul, fair or in abundance this soul lives on because it is refreshed by the very Spirit of God. (These ideas came as I read Barnes Notes)
In this incident at Jacob’s well the Samaritan lady makes a request, “…Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” (John 4:15) This lady shows how it is for sinners who are bound by sin. They are so slow to respond to the things of God in a right way. This lady is like many who hear the gospel, yet still want the things of God for all the wrong reasons. In other words she and those like her still need a purifying of the heart. (The Pulpit Commentary) They are people who are carnal in their thinking and not yet surrendered to the Lord. (Matthew Henry)
In John chapter four we see that Jesus had to break that barrier that kept her heart from understanding. There is a barrier of sin that keeps sinners from enjoying continued fellowship with the Lord. Jesus asked her to, “Go, call [your] husband and come back.” (John 4:16)
Jesus resolves to bring her to her senses for He knows what lays in her heart, just like He knows what is in the heart of all people. Nothing can be hidden from the Lord Jesus Christ. Conviction of sin is the beginning of the great work of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life. (The Pulpit Commentary; Thru the Bible; Matthew Henry’s Commentary)
The truth that must be presented to all and that is true Christianity is first, the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ and all that He is. The second is revelation of oneself. No man can truly see himself as he is until he finds himself in the presence of Christ as He is revealed in the Word of God. Christianity begins with that sense of sin. It begins with the sudden realization that life lived without Him being Savior and Lord will not do, one must be enlightened by the Holy Spirit that he is in great need of the grace and mercy of God.
The third truth that the Lord wants us to grasp and pass on to others today is what is a true worshiper?
Jesus said, “You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:22-24)
In 2 Kings 17:27-28 we read that the King of Assyria gave orders to have a priest go and tell the Samaritans how to worship the Lord. Yet what they did was add Jehovah God to the list of gods that they already served. They refused to leave their other gods and they passed that down from generation to generation.
Remember, the Samaritans rejected all the Old Testament except the first five books of the Bible. Thus they had unsound religion based on a partial Bible which caused them to miss true worship to God alone. (William Barclay)
When Jesus said, “You Samaritans worship what you do not know” He was very likely referring to the worship of their many gods and they most certainly did not have a clear picture of the worship that pleases the Lord. (The Expositors Bible Commentary; The Pulpit Commentary; Matthew Henry)
Most of the people you come in contact with are like the Samaritans in a sense that they have chosen a partial knowledge of God’s Word. They, like the Samaritans, have selective worship. They choose which portion of Scripture they like and simply disregard the rest. No one can worship in spirit and truth without an honest heart seeking God’s will through the whole council of the written Word. This does not mean that a worshiper has to know all of God’s Word, but he must have a heart desire to be seeking the Lord’s will and a willingness to live out what has already been revealed to him.
True worship is that of the spirit, which means that the worshiper must deal honestly and openly with the Lord. The true worshiper is fully dependant upon God’s Holy Spirit for strength and assistance laying his heart under the influence and operation of the Spirit of Christ. He devotes his spirit, mind, body and will to service to Jesus Christ.
Those who want to witness as Jesus did must point out that the Lord is looking for the worshiper who approaches God through the Lordship of Christ. They approach with deep heartfelt affection to have a relationship with God, Jesus, and fellowship in the Holy Spirit.
William Barclay wrote, “The true worship is when man, through his spirit, attains to friendship and intimacy with God. True and genuine worship is not to come to a certain place; it is not to go through a certain ritual or liturgy; it is not even to bring certain gifts. True worship is when the spirit, the immortal and invisible part of man, speaks to and meets with God, who is immortal and invisible.”
Jesus sets three foundational truths to genuine witnessing. 1.) Seek to make a connection with the lost as the Lord leads. 2.) Ask the Lord to make a way for you to draw sinner’s attention away from that which is temporary to that which is eternal and 3.) Point people who have a false understanding about God to what true worship is for it is the only way they can find direction in their lives.
Romans 12:1-2 says, “…offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Howard G. Hendricks wrote about an eye doctor by the name of Jack Cooper in Dallas, Texas who found a way of making a connection to his patients. The patients needed his help and he needed eye patients to make a living. He worked hard to develop his skills as an eye surgeon. He thought of a clever way to take his patients thoughts of the temporary and think of God’s plan for them. He made an eye chart that said “God loves you and He has a wonderful plan for my life.”
He often had patients come who could not read the chart very well. He would do the surgery and when it was time the patient would come back again and then read the entire chart. They would read, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for my life.” They then ask, “What does that mean.” And the door to share Christ was opened.
You do not need to be a skilled eye surgeon to be used of God. Simply use what you have and He will make the way for you to witness for Jesus.
Let us pray!