Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Unlikely Evangelist

Friday, August 15, 2014

Just then his disciples came back.  They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her?”  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.Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!”  When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village.  So he stayed for two days, long enough for many more to hear his message and believe.  Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves.  Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.”  John 4:27-30, 39-42 (NLT)

In a “chance meeting” with Jesus the Samaritan woman comes face to face with eternity and the Christ who holds the key to everything for which her soul cries out.  And having met this “lover of her soul” she hurries back to her village and tells everyone that Messiah has come.  This led to a two-day revival in which her hometown was changed.

Now, while many believed because of what she told them, many more believed because after hearing about Jesus, they just had to check him out personally.  The “woman at the well” was an unlikely evangelist, but an evangelist nonetheless!

What makes an evangelist?

I’ve known those with that something different in them which we’d call the “spiritual gift of evangelism”.  I’m thinking Billy Graham here, as well as some not so well-known.  Some were ordained ministers, while some were not part of the religious system; they were simply crying out from the wilderness like John the Baptist.  But there was just something different about them.  The difference, I believe, is not something you learn, or even a talent with which you were born; it is rather God’s choosing – anointing for God’s purposes.

Apart from those given a special anointing are those of us who speak up because Christ has so impacted our lives, we cannot stay silent.  It makes little difference in evangelism if you can speak two words without stuttering (remember Moses?).  It makes little difference if you know the 5 tenets of Calvinism, or the Westminster Confession by heart, or even the verses that make up the Romans Road Gospel tract.  Genuine evangelism is where a changed heart (like the woman at the well) meets a ready heart (like the woman’s neighbors)…and the conversation begins.  What happens then is in Christ’s hands…and that is where evangelism is most effectively laid.

The woman in our story was an unlikely evangelist; she had no tent, Gospel band or wavy Pompadour hair style; she wasn’t even a person of good reputation.  In fact, meeting with Jesus at the well in the middle of the day indicated she went there to draw water without the other women because she was a social pariah – unfit for well-bred company. 

And, just maybe, that’s the key here – this woman knew who would really accept her with all her flaws, checkered history and downright sinfulness.  She could recognize her need for salvation and cleansing – and she had no pride standing in the way.  This was a woman with very little to lose, and heaven to gain.

At a church I pass regularly the sign recently said:

When you’re down to nothing, God’s up to something.

That’s evangelism….God up to something.

For You, Today

You aren’t an evangelist?  No white suit, microphone and tear-jerking dog-story?
It’s okay; God only needs you to be you, if you’ve got a heart like that woman.

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