Short Meditations in John 4: 29. Leave the Outworking to him
Jn 4:30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
The woman who encountered Jesus has gone home and testified to this man who told her all about her life, and she left her friends and neighbours with a question: “Could this be the Christ?” She does no more it seems; she just leaves them with this. No they could have just laughed at her and left it at that, but they didn’t, they went to see for themselves. This indicates a spiritual hunger in this people who were virtually enemies of the people of God.
That presents a challenge! Back in verse 4 we noted, the Jews of Judea or Galilee looked down on these ‘mixed-breed’ Jews of Samaria. As far as they were concerned they were second class, a lesser people. We do that to people, we demean them in our thinking; they are a lower class than us, they are different, they are not so good, they are the rabble. And in all these ways we write off people, but these people, considered second class by the Jews, were clearly spiritually hungry because simply on this rather dubious woman’s testimony they to go out of the town to search for this man she has spoken about.
From her side of things, she does no more. Today if we saw them as possible recipients of the Gospel when they meet Jesus, if it had been us testifying, we might at least pray for them. Some of us are not content with that though and we pursue people when they are not ready. These people indicated they were ready because at the mention of Jesus they went looking, but not everyone is that ready. Some people have to go through various stages before they are ready to receive the Gospel.
It is said that most people have to hear the Gospel at least six times before they will accept it and come to Christ. If that is so then we need to learn to be sensitive to the people to whom we witness. There are always two aspects of witness: first what we say. The trouble with using a formula is that it doesn’t recognise where people are. This person before us may not yet know anything about Jesus and they may certainly not have any sense of need yet. Yes, we do need to be prepared to lead them through to Christ but we need to be listening to the Lord to see where HE is with them. Perhaps He’s got a lot more work to do in them before they can come through to faith. It may be you simply share a testimony, maybe you answer their questions, maybe you tell about Jesus. Every person is unique. But the second aspect of being a witness is respecting this person and leaving the door open for further conversations – and then walking away and leaving them in the Lord’s hands. If they are at the hungry stage, they’ll come looking for Jesus, just like these Samaritans.