Let’s consider the Biblical account of a master evangelist, proficient and professional at the art of wooing the seeker and sojourner to the altar… highly skilled, charismatic, compelling, and captivating … an expert and leading authority at inviting sinners to be converted.
Who is this great soul winner? A prophet? A preacher? A patriarch? No.
She was a thirsty soul who trudged to the well at noon, alone. None of the other women in town made the trek to the communal well when the sun was high in the sky. Most of the decent women traveled together as the sun’s first rays peaked over the horizon, drawing enough water to cook and clean for the day. They chatted and chattered about the kids, about the fruits and vegetables available at the market, and about community affairs as they carried their buckets and jugs down the dusty, well-worn path.
A wanton woman, she tried to stay in the shadows, hiding from the whispers and finger pointing. It was rumored that she would sleep with anyone who wore pants. She was a five-time loser, married to five different guys, each of them worse than the last. Today she was shacked up with a scoundrel in his flea-bag shanty.
When she arrived at the well, a weary traveler sat with his back to a large rock. “Give me a drink,” the stranger asked.
“How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” (John 4:7-8). The thirsty man wasn’t wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with “I Love Jerusalem,” but she knew where he was from. He was a Jew, and Jews don’t associate with Samaritans, the half-breed Assyrians that populated the region between Galilee and Judea.
He was polite. Kind. Different from the men she knew. “If you knew me, you’d ask me for water that would quench your thirst eternally” (John 4:10).
“Sir,” she replied, “I’d sure like a drink of your water, ‘cause I don’t enjoy carrying water in this heat!” (John 4:15).
“Ok, but first, go get your husband.”
She responded honestly, “I don’t have a husband.” This was a fact that the omniscient Jesus already knew. “You have correctly said, ‘I don’t have a husband,’ for you’ve had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband” (John 4:17).
Jesus introduced the woman to the Messiah, the Promised One, the One that both Jews and Samaritans were awaiting. Then He drew back the curtain saying, “I, the one speaking to you, am he” (John 4:26). The Man at the well, the One promising living water, was the Messiah, the Son of David, the King. He’d come to Sychar, and she found herself in His presence!
Having found the long-awaited Messiah, her Savior, the Samaritan woman, the “woman at the well,” raced back into her village, and like a herald announcing the vanquishing king, she boldly shared the simple truth about Jesus. “Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of what the woman said!” (John 4:39). “Many!” Men, women and children. Multitudes!
The greatest evangelist, the most effective soul-winner to ever preach at Sychar was a five-time loser, a shady lady, a Samaritan.
Why was she so effective? With first-hand experience, she shared the message of grace.