There was a consistent pattern to Jesus’ ministry. One of the best places this is seen is in the story of the Woman at the well.
Jesus’ method of ministry:
1. Relevant engagement. “Please give me a drink” (John 4:7). This woman had come to the well to draw water in the middle of the day. Jesus entering wedge was to ask her for water, which was something a Jew would normally never ask a Samaritan.
2. Education. “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water” (vs. 10). Jesus gave this woman a ray of hope that there was something better available to her.
3. A soft reality check. “You have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now” (vs. 18). Jesus did not clobber this woman over the head, but He did speak the truth in love to her. The only person who should bring a correction to someone else is the one who is willing to die for the person. If you’re not, then you’re not the one to serve the rebuke (James. 5:19-20; Gal. 6:1).
4. A challenge. “You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship” (vs. 22).
5. An invitation. “The Father is looking for those who will worship Him in spirit and truth” (vs. 23). Jesus brought the conversation right back to the main topic: worship in both spirit (emotional involvement) and in truth (in accordance with God’s word)–both are needed.
6. Straight talk. “I am the Messiah” (vs. 26).
There were three cornerstones to this interaction that should be a part of our interactions with those we meet.
- Relevance. We must spend time getting to know people. Find out what is important to them, what their struggles, trials, and joys are.
- Engagement. Jesus went out of His way to meet this woman. He spoke to her despite the social customs. We must be willing to do the same.
- Reputation. The woman at the well could perceive that Jesus was a prophet. Can others see the character of Christ in you?
Jesus was able to share the truth with many in Samaria because of this interaction. “The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, ‘Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?’ So the people came streaming from the village to see him” (vs. 28-30). By following His example, we can do the same.