John 4:1-26 The Samaritan Woman at the Well
Optional background reading: the significance of Sychar (formerly Shechem) and the Well
Genesis 12: 6-7 Abraham worshipped here and received a promise from God.
Genesis 33:18-20 Jacob settled here and worshipped God.
Genesis 34 The start of problems over inter-marrying with locals/worshipping their gods.
Deuteronomy 27 Moses commanded worship on Ebal and blessings/cursings to be called down from 2 mountains at Shechem.
Joshua 24:1 & 15 Joshua blessed the people and urged them to choose God.
Joshua 24: 32 Joseph’s bones buried at Shechem; Joseph saw it as his spiritual home.
1 Kings 12 The start of the split between Judah and Israel, war between tribes, worship moving to Jerusalem, and worship of foreign gods in the region of Shechem.
The Samaritans were an off-shoot of Judaism. They had intermarried with other nations and were despised by many Jews who believed in racial purity.
- Have you ever experienced a ‘God-incidence?’ Something that looks like a coincidence but you believe God is behind it? Share examples.
Jesus wanted to go from Judea to Galilee. He picked the yellow route (or something similar). What is odd about his choice?
Verse 4: ‘he needed to go through Samaria.’ What do you think compelled him to go out of his way to a place his people despised?
Verse 6: the woman came alone to get water at either midday or 6.00pm. What is odd about her choice?
This all looks like a strange coincidence. Is it?
- Verses 9-15. The woman turned her feelings of inferiority and rejection by the Jews into religious prejudice, and her anger stopped her from hearing what Jesus was saying. Have you met people like this? How do we respond? How did Jesus respond?
What does the woman misunderstand about Jesus’ offer? When you first believed in Jesus, did you fully understand what he was offering? How do you think your friends/family misunderstand what it would mean for them to become a Christian?
- Verses 16-26. Jesus knew all about the woman’s shady background, but still went out of his way to offer her eternal life.
Do you know anyone who thinks they are too bad for God to love them? Are they right? What could you do to go out of your way to communicate God’s love to them?
The woman finally opens up and tells Jesus about her hopes and dreams. What is she hoping for (verse 25)?
How does Jesus respond (verse 26)? Why is this astonishing?
Share something astonishing about what you feel Jesus has said to you.