(Where Jesus puts on a clinic in how to be a witness.)
The story of Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well is a wonderful one, because we get to see Jesus about His mission. AND, it doesn’t look much like the stereotypical approach of most evangelists/trained Christians. Jesus is not “on mission” the way we think of it. He is just being Himself.
I for one think that Jesus asks the woman for a drink because He is thirsty, not as a ploy to “save her.” However, sharing His message is as much a part of Him as the need for water, so it comes naturally, not rehearsed.
From there, Jesus just interacts with the woman. He isn’t going through a series of prepared steps, or presenting a “sales pitch.” He starts by mentioning God’s gift, Living Water. All of his other statements/replies come from what the woman says. She shows Him where she is and what her interests are. Had she not pursued the water talk, shown her spiritual curiosity, nor taken the conversation further into spiritual directions, Jesus might not have either.
When the woman misunderstands Jesus’ offer of no more thirst (and her need as well), Jesus doesn’t backtrack and explain the intricacies of the Gospel. He simply gets to the core of the issue. Sin.
People are pretty good about getting to the spiritual conversations today. We know better than to spring a question like “if you were to die today do you know where you would spend eternity?” cold turkey. We know we have to take conversations and people over into the spiritual side of things to find the seekers and the people open to spiritual truths. However, once we get there we wimp out. It quickly becomes all about how much Jesus loves you and how great life can be with Him. That does people a disservice.
Once a person is seeking, they need to see their need. Sin has to be a part of the conversation. But once again, Jesus is so natural here. He doesn’t condemn. He merely addresses the area where the woman struggles and lets her run with it. Once again, had she glossed over the topic, or evaded, that would have likely been the end of things.
The climax comes when the woman reveals that she is awaiting the Messiah. Or at least that she is aware of His promised coming. Then Jesus reveals Himself.
At that point, the woman becomes a witness. She doesn’t even need prompting. She may not even be a follower yet. But more on that in the next section…