The Samaritan Missionary

The Samaritan Missionary

A subtle theme of the blog the last few weeks has been on evangelism and speaking the message of the Gospel. If you have spent any time listening to the Stepping Stones podcast or reading Living Hope’s prayer chain emails, you’ll have more resources that can encourage you in spreading the Gospel. 

There are scores of books on evangelism as we share our faith with others. Today, I’m going to write about a really simple, powerful way God gives us to spread his message of salvation. 

There is a well-known story in the Bible, recorded only in the book of John, about this simple way. And it centers around a woman, a Samaritan woman, who doesn’t realize her own unique power. 

At the story’s outset, the woman is a fairly unassuming figure; she comes to the well in the middle of the day (around noon), and had Jesus not initiated a conversation with her, it’s doubtful she would have interacted with him at all. Yet, what follows is astounding! Jesus takes a woman completely uninterested in what he has to say, and by the end of their conversation she can’t wait to bring people back to meet him. 

How did she get there? 

Jesus is utterly magnificent at drawing the woman in. He approached her with a question (see here) and piqued her interest with a statement. After he draws her in, he shows her who she is and who the Father who sent him is. Jesus then reveals himself simply, clearly, directly: I who speak to you am he

Jesus’s mastery is something we can all take to heart in our own evangelism. He is observant; he asks good questions; he approaches her with a common need (water) and quickly moves from the colloquial to the complex (worship). And along the way, the woman realizes her own need and how Jesus can uniquely fill the most desperate desire of her heart. 

Friends, this is exactly what we can do today. The most simple, powerful evangelistic tool we have at our disposal is to show that Jesus has filled our hearts and utterly satisfied us. We can see that the woman’s heart is satisfied by reading one sentence after their conversation: 

How can we see that the woman’s heart and thirst has been satisfied? She leaves her water jar. She doesn’t need temporary water anymore – she wants to tell everybody about this living water. And she can afford to leave the water jar there because she can’t wait to come back to Jesus with more people!  

Part of the draw of this woman’s invitation is that she would have been known to the townspeople. They listen to her and come to Jesus probably in part because her invitation is utterly unlike her. This woman of low estate, she who had five husbands and lived with a man outside the bonds of marriage? The townspeople were familiar with this woman, and their interest is piqued – just like Jesus got the woman’s attention, she gets theirs. Who is this person she’s inviting us to come see? This is bound to be interesting

The woman who avoided the townspeople is now seeking them out. The woman with a shameful reputation is saying, Come see a man who told me everything I ever did. What did Jesus see? He saw who this woman really was – and invited her to worship the Father anyway. And now, this woman responds by inviting others back to see this Messiah who first saw her. Evangelism can seem very complex, but what it boils down to is simple. We are inviting someone to come, behold, see Jesus Christ. We draw others to see this God we love. 

When the townspeople believe, they ask Jesus to stay; he does. What a gift. Where there was no fellowship between Jews and Samaritans, Jesus has brought reconciliation. Where the woman was lonely, she was restored to fellowship with her people. Where the townspeople had heard the woman’s testimony, their belief came after they “heard for themselves and know [Jesus] really is the Savior of the world” (Jn. 4:42). 

Friends, in your missional conversations, let’s be like Jesus who reveals himself and the Father clearly. Let’s engage and ask good questions. And let’s also be like this unnamed, but so important, Samaritan missionary who invited everyone to come and meet Jesus, the Christ, the King of the Jews and the whole world. If you are hearing this message, may the Lord give you the ears and the heart to receive like the townspeople, who recognize Jesus as the Savior of the world and respond rightly.


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