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?
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.