Jesus’ Approach to a Samaritan Woman


We often call her “the woman at the well.” Jesus’ conversation with her is recorded in John 4:3-26. Our Lord did not actually open a Bible with her, but they certainly talked about spiritual matters. In this memorable passage, there are a slew of evangelistic lessons for you and me to see and use today.


In this case, Jesus initiated a conversation with a person who had never met Him before. What topics would you feel comfortable bringing up or discussing with a total stranger? Every prospect is different, but Jesus’ example reminds us that it is possible to approach a person who is “new” to us.


Jesus talked with her about religious matters the very first time they ever met one another. You may think that such an approach would not be effective in your culture, but you might be surprised. On a daily basis in the market place, Paul talked “with those who happened to be there” (Acts 17:17). We should not assume he already was well-acquainted with them.


The Bible says Jesus was weary from His journey even before the woman came to the well (4:6). Yet, He still taught her. When we have a precious soul who is ready to listen to God’s truth, we need to push through any physical or mental exhaustion and teach!


Jesus initiated the conversation with the woman (4:7). He did more than nod His head . . . He spoke to her (4:27). Jesus wants us to go and communicate the gospel (Mark 16:15). Yes, it is possible for lost people to approach us about spiritual matters, but most of the time we will have to be the initiators.


He asked for a drink of water (4:7). Asking a question or making a request is a good way to “break the ice” and try to make a connection with a person.


Jesus turned the conversation from the material to the spiritual. You and I must learn to do this! What did our Lord do? He first talked about literal water (4:7).


From there He proceeded to “living water” (4:10) and “the gift of God” (4:10). He guided the conversation from the temporary to the eternal, speaking to her about everlasting life (4:14).

The Christ spoke about the woman’s need for what He possessed, which was living water (4:10). This made it personal for her.


Observe also that Jesus did not deliver a lecture to this unnamed woman. Instead, in their conversation He talked and then listened attentively when she responded. He gave her a chance to speak and ask questions. He guided the conversation in the direction He wanted it to go, but He did not speak non-stop.

We need to imitate Jesus’ evangelistic methods!


Adapted from Roger D. Campbell