Evangelism for Normal People Week 4 – The Jesus Way

So far

  • Evangelism is a good and important thing that has gotten a bad wrap
  • Evangelism in the Old and New Testament is more often a community thing than an individual’s thing – the way we live and love and interact is supposed to draw people to faith
  • But even then – there comes a point where the example isn’t enough – you can live a very good wholesome life that has nothing to do with Jesus
    • So, how do we go about that aspect – lets look at Jesus


John 4

  • Verse 1-7
    • (The disciples have gone into town for food, this woman comes up in the middle of the day to get water, its hot, Jesus asks for water – seems like a basic interaction
      • Jewish audience is already scandalized – 1) She’s a woman and he’s a man (don’t speak in public)  2) She’s a Samaritan and he’s a Jew (Don’t interact at all)  3) there’s a tradition in Jewish scripture of romances beginning at wells
        • Abraham’s servant finds Rebekah for Issac, Jacob meets Rachel, Moses meets Zipporah
          • If we were modernizing this story Jesus would be at the bar and goes and sits by this woman and offers to buy her a drink
  • Verse 9
    • The woman is curious – why would Jesus be willing to commit all these taboos?
      • “How can you ask me a drink?” – a lot under the surface there: who are you? Why are you willing to take this risk? What’s your deal
  • Verse 10 – Jesus’ response
    • If you knew who I was, if you knew the answer to all those questions, you’d be asking me for what I can give you
      • Back to our modernization – Jesus is hanging out at the bar in the middle of the day and this woman walks in, goes straight to the bartender and slams her money down, drains the first drink and asks for another, “keep em coming”
        • It doesn’t a particularly deep insight to realize something’s up if someone’s drinking like that at noon
        • When Jesus sees this woman at the well – at noon, alone – he knows something is up
          • Getting water is tedious so its social – all the women go together. Its pretty hard work so they go in the morning or in the evening when its cool
            • She’s there alone at the hottest part of the day – something is up, there’s a reason the other women won’t let her come with them
              • We know its because she’s got a reputation – she’s had five husbands already and she’s living with a man who is not her husband
              • We can imagine what she might think about as she’s going to get water. Every day she had to do it. Its boring because she’s alone and its tedious because she has to go at the hottest part of the day, and the water never lasts. And neither do the men. Neither do the relationships. She’s always thirsty again and she’s always desperate for love and companionship again.
                • “Neither water nor the relationship has ever lasted. Neither satisfied for very long. The water kept running out, and the men kept running out too. Where were they when she needed them? She needed their company, she need their love, she needed their help and their support. Her body and her spirit are constantly crying out for satisfaction: trying to slake a thirst that is constantly demanding more, trying to keep body, heart, and spirit satisfied. Where will it end? Is this all there is to life?”
  • Verse 11 and 12 – in my mind there’s a pretty good pause
    • Her first response = you don’t have a bucket?
    • Second gets to the heart of it – this can’t be true, that would make you greater than Jacob
  • Verse 13 and 14  – with my water you’ll never get thirsty again
    • Now we’re talking. How great would it be to not get thirsty? How great would it be not to have to trudge up to the well in the heat of the day being reminded of all the mistakes that led to this moment, all the things that have gone wrong that put her in this situation?
    • Jesus has also done something – he’s not talking about water anymore. He’s deepened this conversation
  • Verse 15 and 16
    • She asks about the water, Jesus says go get your husband we’ll talk about it with him too
      • Why bring it up? Because she needs to see that she’s been looking for the wrong water, she’s been trying to satisfy with relationships what only god can satisfy. If her pitcher is full of ordinary water she can’t fill it with living water
  • Verse 17 and 18
    • That’s a Jesus moment – we can assume why the woman is at the well or the bar or whatever but only Jesus is going to be able to drop those specifics
      • Two options – she’s left five men and is living with the sixth – question of whether any of those “divorces” would be legal or she’s been left by five men and the sixth is letting her live with him out of pity – either way she’s got a scandalous past and everyone in the city would have known it – and she doesn’t want to get in to that
  • Verse 19 – 24 – she tries to change the subject
    • You’re obviously a smart guy, should we be Lutherans or Baptists? I’ve always wondered about that, you seem like you could give the answer
    • Jesus goes with the flow – the temptation would be to say “do you really think that’s what matters here?” but instead he keeps the conversation going, trusting that the moment is coming
      • His answer is steering it back to her –  the time is quickly coming where what will matter is your intent, do you want to know God or not, are you worshiping from tradition and obligation or from the deepest part of your soul – what brings you to worship matters more than why you’re there
        • She doesn’t want the conversation back to her so she tries to end it
          • Verse 25 – when the Messiah comes he can answer these questions.
            • I imagine a pause. Maybe she gets up to leave but he gives her a look, the look makes her know she needs to stay
              • Verse 26 – I, the one speaking to you. I am he
                • And at that point it all makes sense – that’s why he wasn’t worried about the taboos, that’s why he knows about her history, that’s why can answer her questions in such an unnerving way
                  • And then the disciples show up – so we can’t know what she would have done immediately
                    • But we do get to see what she ends up doing. And we’ll look at that next week

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