We’re all familiar with the story of the Woman at the Well. (While the Disciples have gone for food, Jesus meets a Samaritan woman, reads her mail, speaks in a few riddles, and teaches her and many others to believe in him.) But within this well-known story, Jesus offers his disciples a lesson on evangelism too often overlooked in a casual reading. Take a moment to read John 4:35-38. (Really, it will only take a second.)
In these few verses, we are presented with two different evangelistic roles: sowers and reapers; sowers being those who have planted seeds of truth into the lives of individuals and reapers being those harvesting the now grown seeds, leading individuals into belief. In this passage, Jesus makes it clear that both are very necessary to evangelism.
So how exactly does this apply to us? I believe we can make two applications:
1. Whenever God gives us the opportunity to lead someone into a new life with Christ, we must be mindful that it is not our great personal evangelistic skill that has drawn that person to salvation. Instead, it is the culminating efforts of a number of sowers in that individual’s life that led up to this point. And we are blessed with the opportunity to join their work as a harvester. Whether we lead someone to Christ through a sermon, friendship, or spontaneous conversation, we must remember to thank God for the sowers that have been at work throughout that person’s life. We must also thank God for allowing us to harvest that which we may not have sown.
2. In situations where we see no opportunity to lead someone to Christ, we must remember that we always have the opportunity to sow a seed. Whether it’s with a family member, friend, or random stranger, we must always strive to live a life that continually presents Biblical truth. Because for all we know, our seeds, however small they may seem, may be a contribution to a culminative sowing effort that grows to join the harvest.