You may listen to this 4-minute devotional by clicking here.
JOHN 4:4-7 (ESV)
“[Jesus] had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.”NEW CONVERSATIONS
After my wife and I were newly married, the Lord led us to Colorado to serve with a ministry called ‘Apartment Life.’ Through this ministry, we agreed to live in a lower-income apartment complex and serve as the events coordinators. Our role was not only to provide ‘fun events’ but also to do our best to point them to Jesus and a local church. This was really intimidating! We both grew up in a primary white community with strong Christian influences. Our apartment community in Colorado Springs was not like that at all. Our neighbors came from many different cultural backgrounds, most did not know Jesus, and many had very heart-breaking life experiences.
Fortunately, Apartment Life had a way of helping us stay focused. Each month, we were asked to keep track of the ‘spiritual conversations’ that we had with residents. These kind of conversations included talking about faith, church, Scripture or simply just asking to pray for people. Without that kind of accountability, it would have been very tempting to keep our faith to ourselves.
Meeting new people and moving into the realm of ‘spiritual conversations’ can be quite difficult for many of us. It’s much easier to simply be nice and silently pray that someone else talks to our un-saved neighbors about Jesus. However, if we are to take the Lord’s calling upon our lives seriously, we must venture beyond our comfort zone. In fact, it may be necessary for the future of the church in North America!
According to a study by the Barna Research Center in 2014, around 50% of the un-churched in the US will not consider stepping foot into a church building even if invited by a close friend or family member! This means that Christians need to be willing to build new relationship and bring up spiritual matters. But how do we do this in a way that is gentle, respectful and genuine?
A careful study of Jesus’ interactions with the ‘woman at the well’ in John 4 gives us a great example. He was willing to engage her in deeper conversations, listen to her questions and talk about God’s heart. (Go back to Sunday’s sermon to learn more). But what did Jesus do first?
First, He walked beyond the religious bubble of Judea, into an ‘unclean’ territory and made himself available in a place where people tend to gather. Where are those places now? Parks? Bars? As you look around your community this week, consider some new environments which the Lord may lead you into in order to build new relationships.
There is tremendous spiritual need around us if we are willing to go beyond our comfort zone and initiate a conversation. Once there, don’t leave without offering to pray for your new friend. Who knows what the Lord may do as we start building new relationships for the sake of spiritual conversations!
Lord, give us confidence to follow your example and speak with others about the hope that we have. Through Jesus, Amen!