Have you ever had information you just had to share? Whether it’s a secret someone has told you that isn’t supposed to be shared, or the type of good news that you just want to share with everyone? Maybe it’s a new fact or skill that you learned that you can’t wait to tell someone. What’s funny to me is that we love to share information, but so often we struggle to share our faith.
If you’re honest with yourself today, you might admit that you’ve struggled to be an effective witness for Jesus. First off, you’re not alone. Many people struggle to share their faith with others. Even as a pastor, I’ve prayed for God to help me, I’ve read books with strategies on sharing your faith, I’ve even taken classes about effective evangelism, but still, I often fail at being a good witness for Jesus. Today’s scripture gives us an example of effective evangelism from an unlikely source.
In John 4, we read about Jesus and the Samaritan Woman. Many of us probably know this story as the “Woman at the Well”. The scripture begins with Jesus on his way from Judea to Galilee, and what’s interesting about this passage is it mentions, “And he had to pass through Samaria” in verse 4. This would’ve been contrary to popular opinion of travel for the Jewish people. During that time, many Jews traveling from Galilee or Judea would purposefully avoid Samaria because of their religious differences and fear of being attacked.
So why would Jesus “have” to go through Samaria? Jesus went through Samaria because he was on mission to meet the woman at the well. Not only did Jesus meet the woman at the exact location, but he met her at precisely the right moment. The woman wasn’t looking for Jesus, but Jesus is looking for her. The woman at the well had a divine appointment with Jesus himself.
After a conversation with Jesus that reveals the Samaritan woman’s life of sin, the conversation turns to a matter of worship. Samaritans and Jews had theological differences as to where somebody would be able to worship. The woman at the well says, “I know the Messiah is coming – the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” And Jesus responds in verse 26 saying, “I AM the Messiah!”
Now can you imagine with me for a moment? Can you imagine this woman’s reaction? Jesus himself, has just told you that you’re speaking with the Messiah that has been prophesied over. Talk about a mic drop moment. It’s at this moment, the disciples come back and find Jesus talking with the woman. I want you to see what the woman does after her encounter with Jesus.
Scripture says that she drops her water jar that she was there in the first place for, runs back to her village, telling everyone, “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” Verse 30 says that people came streaming from the village to see him. After their encounter with Jesus, Luke 4 says that many Samaritans believed in Jesus because of what the woman had said. They said, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.”
Notice the woman didn’t give any theological explanation for her faith. She simply shared what God had done in her life and then said, “Come and see for yourself”. Often times we get so caught up in having the perfect defense for our faith that we miss out on opportunities to simply share our faith by sharing what Christ has done for us. This woman at the well had an encounter with God that she couldn’t help but share with the people of her village!
Today, the first thing you have to remember when it comes to sharing your faith is, we have to be willing to go through Samaria if we want to reach Samaritans. Jesus didn’t avoid Samaria or hurry through it like you and I tend to do when encounters with others are inconvenient. How often do we avoid others simply because it would be a “burden” to us? As believers, we have a responsibility to the people in our lives to share about what God has done in our lives.
The second thing you have to remember when it comes to sharing your faith is, come and see. The woman at the well didn’t come prepared with a theological defense for her faith when she ran back to her Samaritan village. She went back to her village and said, come and see what Jesus has done! The most effective way of sharing your faith comes from sharing the story of what God has done in your life. We say it all the time as a church, but we don’t invite people to church, we invite them to a relationship with Jesus. And that starts with what He’s done in you!