WEEK TWO – EXTENDED REFLECTION OF PASSAGE
Insights on Woman at the Well: John 4:4-26 (NIV)
NOTE FOR GROUP LEADER: With the group, read or listen to the passage again and discuss any or all of the reflection questions. Items needed: Reading passage and questions.
John 4: 4-26 (NIV)
Woman at the Well
4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of waterwelling up to eternal life.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
17 “I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband.18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you — I am he.”
Questions for reflection and discussion:
- The conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman is one of longest recorded between Jesus and another person in the Gospel of John. Why do you think he spent so much time with her?
- Jesus was known to challenge behaviors and attitudes. In this situation, he went against the social norms of the day and spoke with a stranger who was a woman. More than that, she was a Samaritan woman of ill-repute. She was an outcast. Why do you suppose he chose that woman to reveal himself as the Savior, the Messiah?
- What social norms, behaviors and attitudes would Jesus challenge today?
- How do you think people would respond to Jesus’ challenges?
- How should we respond to Jesus’ challenges if he were with us today?
- What words would we use to invite a person to drink from the “living waters”?
- Most of us want to live peaceably in our families and in our society, but we are challenged by the model of Christ as a counter-cultural spiritual and historical figure; how can we balance our need to follow Jesus and that need to not “rock the boat?”
- Share a chance encounter with the group and explain how it changed your life.
- Share an opportunity you missed to open yourself to a conversation and how you think it might have affected your life had you started or extended a conversation.
NOTE TO GROUP LEADER: At the end of the session, you may want to allow the group to have a few moments for open commentary and thoughts about the session and what it may have meant for them.