By Katie Rawson

Learning Evangelism From John 4

Evangelism Training Components

  • Use John 4 Bible study to motivate and train both internationals and Americans
  • Teach how to pray for non-Christians using Scripture and 2+ cards
  • Cross-cultural communication training, especially indirect communication cultures and the difficulty of saying “No” and how that should impact our communication and the way we encourage people to make a commitment to Christ (use material from Craig Storti, Figuring Foreigners Out)
  • Teach how to use I-GIG guide (suggest doing the studies in your discipleship times with certain folks- emphasizing the 2 questions- what do you not understand and what do you not like about the text)
  • Teach how to prepare and share their testimony
  • Teach a gospel outline (Bridge or Broken Family- emphasize difference between religion-our efforts/movement to reach God- and relationship-God’s movement toward us)

John 4 Bible Study Notes

John 4:8, 31-39

This is a cross-cultural experience for the disciples- they are put in a place of receiving- buying food- not going in to “fix” the Samaritans- they’re put in a place of humility. 

Jesus teaches them something about the harvest- there’s a harvest among a group they probably hadn’t considered.  What do I see when I look around me?  What groups do I not think of as a possible harvest- out of superiority, hostility or fear?  (This part is especially good for American students.)

John 4:25-30

The woman is an insider to the culture- she doesn’t know much about Jesus and can only share how Jesus has impacted her (isn’t even sure that He’s the Messiah).  She was an outcast in her society, but her testimony was enough to transform her village- this is an encouragement to Christian internationals. 

Jesus’ interactions with the woman (John 4:6-28) are a model for evangelistic conversations- particularly cross-cultural ones:

  • Jesus takes a posture of humility and need-reverses power distance by asking for water.
  • He crossed barriers (race, gender, position- he’s a rabbi- she’s an outcast) and risked his reputation as a rabbi.
  • He pricked her curiosity and guided the conversation from physical to spiritual things.
  • He started with the known- the beliefs held in common by Jews and Gentiles- and moved to the unknown.
  • He demonstrated the power of God by telling her about herself  (I believe He did this by listening to God- that He had given up His omniscience and was depending on the Holy Spirit to hear- see references in John to hearing His Father).
  • He convicted her of sin without shaming her.
  • He doesn’t debate secondary issues such as where to worship but goes to the point.
  • He teaches about worship of the heart (worship in spirit and truth)- or relationship rather than religion (outer worship).  This is crucial for folks from any kind of ritualistic background!
  • This teaching about worship turns on its head any previous ideas of a political Messiah.

Why did Jesus reveal His identity to a woman and an outcast?

  • She did have cultural affinity
  • A change in her would be very obvious to the community (she probably would normally have avoided talking to well-respected people in the village): the power of a transformed life: from shame to excited sharing.
  • Was He also making a point that salvation is for everyone regardless of gender, race, and previous life and that God values people who are not valued by society?
  • Possible lesson: perhaps we also can identify people who don’t fit in their communities, lead them into a life-transforming experience with Jesus and send them back into their communities as witnesses.
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