Conversations are a big deal in the Bible. God chooses to have conversations with us. God wants to talk to you. Whoa.
He reveals Himself to us, talks to us, promises things for us. He promises Abraham will become the father of many nations. He promises that David’s kingdom will never end. He promises a Messiah.
What Exactly is a Conversation?
A conversation is an exchange between two people. It involves recognizing “I” and “you”. It’s recognizing the other person as a person. Conversations are both talking and listening. It means shutting up sometimes, being vulnerable, sharing yourself, moving beyond “social pulp” statements like “I’m fine, how are you?”
So if God has conversations with us, it means He’s listening, being vulnerable, and sharing Himself. In prayer, we should therefore listen, be vulnerable, and share of ourselves. Listen. It’s very easy to talk and talk and not let God get in a word. But monologue is not a conversation.
Conversation and Conversion
Conversation isn’t just an exchange between two people, throughout salvation history, conversations lead to conversions. They lead to faith.
Where did those conversations happen? Two major places are at meals and at the well. Meals are when a family comes together. The well is when the town comes together.
A well is where Jesus meets the Samaritan woman in chapter 4 of John’s Gospel. He doesn’t start with revealing His identity as Messiah or telling the woman everything He knows about her past. Instead, He starts by asking her for a drink of water.
From there, the conversation develops. By the end, He reveals His identity and told her about her past, but now she knows Him. Their conversation led to her conversion, and she goes to the whole town to tell them who she’s met. And the whole town comes to believe as well.
All because of a conversation.
Nowadays, we don’t have as many wells (thanks, running water!) but not now coffee shops are more of the hangout and socialize place. So if we want to have faith-oriented conversations, we’ll follow the same pattern: meals and coffee shops.
Jesus shows us how. He’s vulnerable, but at the right time. He meets people in a place where they’re willing to talk. He listens. If we want to make disciples of all nations, that’s our pattern to follow.
Can We Talk? | First Things