In my reading of Scripture every morning, my set-aside devotional time, there’s one book in the New Testament that refreshes my spirit over and over again. It was the first book of the Bible I read through after I was “born again” in 1972. The book, The Gospel Of John.
Many truths set forth in John’s gospel have made a great impact on my Christian life. First and foremost, there is no greater honor than to be a part of God’s work of telling others about Jesus. So this is where I want to begin; sharing from my own experiences and giving a beginning guide to today’s oft forgotten term… Witnessing to others about Jesus Christ.
We hear from pastor’s sermons at least once a year from a familiar passage in Acts 1:8 “and you shall be My witnesses…” Now if we take that verse to heart, seriously, maybe we need to reevaluate our preparedness to obey Christ’s command.
WHAT IS A WITNESS?
WITNESS Definitions: Merriam Webster;  One that gives evidence;  public affirmation by word or example.
The word WITNESS we are most familiar with comes to us from the legal sphere, derived from the root meaning “to bear in mind,” “to be careful.” Thus a witness in the field of law is one who has the knowledge of something by recollection and experience and who can tell about it accurately.
Biblically speaking, A WITNESS is born when one is born again, that is, when you experience the POWER of God in your own personal death, burial and resurrection. In that sense, Christian Witnessing is not optional, nor is it mandatory. It is inevitable.
When I first had knowledge of what a witness was, and internalizing Jesus’ message in Acts 1:8 of being “witnesses” in the community, this next little tidbit was added to my spirit:
The word MARTYR: “comes from the Greek word for “witness”. Early Christians were often put to death for the “witness” of Christ Jesus.
Boy, after having that scary thought placed in my mind, I needed some real motivation if… I was going to be a witness for Jesus. But where was that motivation going to come from?
A GUIDE to Being A WITNESS:
In John chapter four, JESUS is passing through Samaria. He comes to Jacob’s well, tired from His journey and He sits down (John 4:6).
Now the disciples have gone into a nearby town Sychar, to buy food (John 4:5, 8). The Bible says it was about the sixth hour which most likely be around noon.
In my last job before retiring, I was required to be at my desk by 6 AM. So by the time lunch time rolled around, I needed to get away from the office, where I could sit down, get a bite to eat, and relax. Many times, several of my co-workers would show up at the same place. I didn’t invite them to come. They just showed up!
In this portion of Scripture, we see Jesus’ human side and see that He is tired and evidently hungry, just like when we get tired and hungry.
Notice how Jesus uses a common physical thirst to cause the lady at the well to ask questions about deeper eternal matters.
I was intrigued once more to focus on their discussion. Remember, they are total strangers to one another–not co-workers, not BFF’s, but strangers.
STEP #1. Jesus arouses the woman’s curiosity with a promise; the quenching a natural spiritual thirst common to all mankind. That spiritual thirst which people try to satisfy through giving into the flesh, drinking in the world’s views and Satan’s lies. Sadly, only a few drink of the Living Water offered by the Lord.
 Jesus answer her, “All who drink of this water will be thirsty again.
 But whoever takes a drink of the water that I will give him shall never, no never, be thirsty any more. But the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing, bubbling) [continually] within him unto (into, for) eternal life.”
By Divine Appointment – A Personal Story
Working for a large company for over fifteen years, starting as a truck driver and working myself up through the ranks to Branch Manager, in February, 1985, the company was sold, and my services were no longer needed. I was to be replaced by new management. Although I was given a decent severance pay package, my self-worth was definitely damaged in the process.
Two weeks later, I received a phone call from an old business associate, who had heard through the grapevine reasons for my termination. He asked the question–“Would I be interested in taking a job out-of-state?” “That depends,” I answered. “Where is ‘out-of-state’?” HAWAII. So, two days later, I found myself sitting in front of the president of large Hawaiian Wholesale Plumbing Company on the island of Oahu.
The next several months was a time in my life I have reflected on in detail for years. For my stay was for a brief time. At the time, A Divine Appointment wasn’t even a thought. But God had set His plan in motion long before I had a clue.
After accepting the new job, part of my negotiated package was housing and a company vehicle to use until my family and automobile arrived from the mainland. Since the president’s daughter and son-in-law lived nearby and also worked at the same office, I carpooled with the young man…for over two months. Our conversation varied during the heavy commute, from family to music choices (the car radio was always active), to Hawaiian lifestyle compared to mainland lifestyle. Then one day he asked, “I’ve noticed you go to church every Sunday. What church do you attend?” The opportunity at the well was there and I took it!
I answered his question with a question; asking him his religious background and did he have a personal relationship with JESUS; a few weeks later led him to Christ.
Hawaii wasn’t the place for my family and I to live, and I returned to the mainland; unemployed to employment…and back to unemployment… all with three month’s time.
WHY? God had a DIVINE APPOINTMENT in mind and I had the privilege to be a part of. It wasn’t until I returned to my original starting point did I fully understand the details in my going.
Divine Providence brings always amazing things and Jesus doesn’t want you to miss the opportunities He gives you.
Three simple truths we can hold on to here as laid down by Jesus to help all Christians in their daily witness. For after all, when we leave our front door in the morning, we don’t go out witnessing; we witness as we go. It may be today, next week, next month or off and on through out the calendar year. But know this: God wants to use you.
So how can we follow the simple example of Christ with confidence that Jesus is going to use us?
The FIRST THING I noticed that Jesus did was to make a connection.
The woman who lived a sinful life came out to get water and He makes the connection with her.
You have family members, friends and co-workers just like this lady and you need to be making connections. Jesus made the connection in being obedient to His Father who was sending Him to Galilee.
All Divine Appointments that are set up for you come about as you are obedient to the Lord’s call on your life.
Divine Providence brings all glorious things into existence. Jesus doesn’t want you to miss the opportunities He gives you.
Is there someone in your workplace that you want to reach for Christ? Is there a neighbor, a family member you’ve been praying for? Ask the Lord for a connection.
Jesus had a need for water and the lady had a way of getting water from a well that was very deep. The depth is around 70 feet to the water line with a depth of about 105 feet (Harper’s Bible Dictionary, Jacob’s Well).
The point being Jesus, being a man, had a NEED that could not be met without her help.
We all have some needs that we cannot meet and there is someone who is bound by sin who can help you meet that need.
This is a wonderful opportunity to make a connection. It may be an answer to a question about work, home repairs, a physical task you cannot do on your own.
Make a connection with someone who would be shocked that you even noticed them let alone asked them for help.
The lady at the well asks, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans) – (John 4:9)
A Little History About Samaritans –
Samaria is right about center of Israel. When Israel fell to the Assyrians, Samaria was the place where the poorest were left behind. They intermarried with other races and brought in a false priest. Add to that, they began false worship and twisted Scripture while rejecting everything in the Old Testament except the first five books of the Bible (2 Kings 17).
There are many PREJUDICES that keep people from hearing the gospel message of Jesus.
PREJUDICES of the people who are living in sin. They convince themselves that obedient Christians don’t want to associate with them or care about their needs, problems or concerns.
Jesus’ lifestyle was to be out among sinners, ministering to the sick, the needy, meeting practical and spiritual needs to all who would accept what God was doing through Him.
“Must needs” (John 4:4)
After looking at different bible translations, I like the KJV version the best: “And he must needs pass through Samaria.”
Interesting TRUTH can be found here that the Holy Spirit wants us to grasp in our efforts to fulfill our part in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20).
“Must needs” in application means it was a necessity, a compulsion and Jesus’ destiny to go through Samaria for the sake of His mission.
There are THREE ROUTES Jesus could have taken. But Jesus had to go through Samaria to lay down a foundational work of the gospel, because it was His Father’s will for Him (John 4:34).
THE SECOND TRUTH the Holy Spirit wants us to get hold of: Jesus drew attention for temporary satisfaction to eternal fulfillment.
The core of Jesus’ mission at the well as defined in John 4:10 and 13 is to move the lady from what she does know to what she does not know. He does this in stimulating her curiosity resulting in her asking a question about Him (John 4:12). She wants to know who this man at the well is:
“Are You greater than and superior to our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well and who used to drink from it himself, and his sons and his cattle also?”
Through Jesus’ example, our goal is to get people from thinking and talking about what they know and talking about and asking they about what they don’t know.
How can we guide the conversation in our connections to talk about what they don’t know?
One example, when people begin to talk about the problems their family is having, move them to ask about a Christian family that had the same problem, maybe your own family, but do not have them now.
Point how Jesus did a work in their lives. Remember the goal here is to be walking in obedience to the Lord. The focus is to be speaking to people you connect with.
Let the Lord lead you to the Divine Appointment; to a heart that is prepared to receive what the Lord has for them at that time on their life.
An important note to remember in witnessing to others: Jesus pointed the women’s attention to what matters in eternity. There is a contrast to what will satisfy PHYSICAL Thirst (water drawn from a well by labor) and to SPIRITUAL Water that will bubble from the inside given by Jesus.
In this incident at Jacob’s Well, the Samaritan lady makes a request, “…Sir, give me this water so I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water!” (John 4:15).
This lady typifies many of the people we come across daily in our witnessing. Because they are bound by SIN, they are so slow to respond to the things of God.
Like the lady at the well, many HEAR the gospel message, yet still want the things of God for all the wrong reasons. In other words, she and those like her, still need a purifying of the heart.
People who are carnal in their thinking and not yet surrendered to the Lord (Matthew Henry Commentary).
In John chapter four, we see that Jesus had to break the barrier that kept her from understanding.
The TRUTH that must be presented to all, including Christianity is FIRST, the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ and all that He is.
The SECOND is the revelation on oneself.
It begins with the realization that LIFE lived without Him being Savior and Lord will not do; that one must be enlightened by the Holy Spirit that he is in great need of GRACE & MERCY of God. Use your own testimony of how God’s Grace & Mercy made things new in your life.
The THIRD TRUTH I discovered is that the Lord wants us to grab hold of and pass on to others the importance: What is a TRUE WORSHIPER?
Jesus said, “You [Samaritans] do not know what you are worshiping [you worship what you do not comprehend]. We do know what we are worshiping [we worship what we have knowledge of and understand], for [after all] salvation comes from [among] the Jews. A time will come, however, indeed it is already here, when the true (genuine) worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth (reality); for the Father is seeking just such people as these as His worshipers. God is a Spirit (a spiritual Being) and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth (reality).” (John 4:22-24 AMP).
Most of the people we come in contact with are like the Samaritans in a sense who have chosen a partial knowledge of God’s Word. They, like the Samaritans, have selective worship. They choose which portion of Scripture they like and disregard the rest.
No one can worship in spirit and truth without an honest heart, seeking God’s will through the whole council of the written Word.
That doesn’t mean that a worshiper has to know ALL of God’s Word, but they must have a heart desire in seeking the Lord’s will and a willingness to live out what has already been revealed to them.
Those who want to WITNESS as Jesus did must point out the Lord is looking for the worshipers who approach God through his spirit, to attain a closeness and intimacy with God–a new relationship.
TRUE WORSHIP is when the spirit, the immortal and invisible part of oneself, speaks to and meets God, who is immortal and invisible (William Barclay).
This study in John chapter four is but a GUIDE towards your making connections in your community. Simply use what you have already been given and He will make the way for you to WITNESS for Jesus.
God has a DIVINE APPOINTMENT for you to keep–be ready and willing to keep it!!
Photos & Map – Google image search.
The New Testament Meaning of “Witness” [Founders – by Ernest Reisinger]
Bible translations as noted in the text.