The Woman at the Well is not About Evangelism

Frequently, John 4’s, the woman at the well, is used as an example of how to evangelize. Apparently, this is Evangelism 101 for the aspiring soul-winner. I have been confused by this idea and wonder exactly how this scene would play out if I were in the part of Jesus. How exactly would it go then?

After a long days journey in the heat, I come to a well and sit. A woman comes to the well to get water.

Me: Give me a drink.

Woman: What, you don’t have hands?

Me: I do, yes.

Woman: Well, then get your own drink.

Me: Oh, er, sorry, just thought maybe you could help me out.

Woman: What, am I your servant here or something?

Me: No. I was just, uh, you know, thirsty and whatnot. No offense.

Woman: What? Just because I’m a woman you assume I’m here to serve you? Am I supposed to be in awe of you that I’d just hand you a drink and thank you for the privilege?

Me: No, no, of course not. You know, never mind. I’ll get my own drink. You actually are the one who needs a drink.

Woman: Yes I am, that’s why I came to the well.

Me: Indeed. I can give you a drink and you’ll never thirst again.

Woman: What are you some kind of pervert or something?

Me: No, I just meant I can give you living water.

Woman: Yeah, uh-huh.

Me: Uh, why don’t you go get your husband.

Woman: OK, listen buddy, I don’t know what you’re up to but I’m feeling kind of creepy. I have mace in my pocket and I’m not afraid to use it.

Me: So, you have five husbands, eh?

Woman: What?

Me: And you have another man who isn’t your husband.

Woman: Sir, I perceive that you are a loony.

Me: No, I’m not. You’re supposed to ask me where you should worship the Lord now.

Woman: I’m leaving.

Here’s my point: The only way a John 4 conversation could occur is if you were the Messiah and you knew people’s heart and details about their life. I can’t do a John 4 evangelism deal because I don’t know what a person is going through, nor what is in their heart. The reason she was impressed by Jesus is because she perceived He was a prophet.

No one has ever mistaken me for a prophet, because I’m not one. I don’t know hidden things about people that I could draw out and impress them. Jesus never shares the Gospel, never does a sinner’s prayer, never even talks about atonement.

The entire impression He makes is chalked up to His prophetic knowledge of who she is. Unless you become a stalker, you can’t pull this off.

John 4 has little to do with evangelism. It has to do with the Messiah being appealing to Gentiles and Jews missing the point. Are there basic principles of evangelism a guy could borrow from this? Sure.

1) Talk to people.

That’s about it.

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