Week 23 | Section 35a

Living WaterIn today’s study we explore the message and meaning of Jesus’ interaction with the Samaritan woman at the well. Its a message of truth, honor, and love in which Jesus offers freedom, a future, and the promise of living water sure to satisfy her every thirst.


Scripture:

John 4:5-26
5 So he came1 to a city of Samaria,2 called Sychar,3 near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son, Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well4 was there. Jesus therefore, being tired from his journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.5 7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water.6 Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. 9 The Samaritan woman therefore said to him, “How is it that you, being a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. So where do you get that living water?7¯8 12 Are you greater than our father, Jacob, who gave us the well,9 and drank of it himself, as did his children, and his livestock?”10  13 Jesus answered her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst again; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water,11


Group Dialog:

  1. When have you felt “left out”? What emotions sweep through you in such instances? How might you imagine this woman was feeling?
  2. How has the grace of God overcome your shame, guilt and restored your dignity?
  3. What sin and activities result in creating social outcasts in your community?
  4. How might you have expected Jesus to interact in this instance? How do the actual events change and challenge your under of God’s grace and our resulting behavior?
  5. What cultures (sub-cultures) and pains do you feel called to reach?
  6. How does the expectation of conformity injure the soul?
  7. What then can we learn about discipling others from this lesson?
  8. Pray for those who feel rejected, and extend the grace of God to them this week.

Learning Objectives:

receive the gifts of God grace, let your soul be renewed and behavior will change, respect, love the sinner, the foreknowledge of Jesus, mercy, discipleship


Study Notes:

  1. in section 34 we read that Jesus has left Jerusalem after the Passover, on his way to Galilee. On that journey he travels through the region called Samaria.
  2. Samaria is the region between the Northern and Southern Kingdom, regions that were respectively called Galilee and Judea (map). On the whole they the culture moved away from following the Jewish faith and laws. They have adopted other cultures and some of their religious convictions. Because of the intermingling, they were social outcasts among pious Jewish peoples. This may be why Jesus specifically instructed the disciples to witness there (Acts 1:8) an in so doing created a strategy for accomplishing the Great Commission (Matt 28:19-20; Matt 24:14; Eph 4:11-13).
  3. Read this for a more complete history of Sychar.
  4. Jacob was a common ancestor but the Samaritans culture shifted when the Assyrians conquered the Northern region (700BC) which was followed by the intermingling of marriages and the Jewish and Assyrian cultures, and religious beliefs. The Samaritans accepted the Pentateuch, revered Moses, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the prophecies about the Messiah. The woman herself was curious about worship, no doubt because the temple had a curious history that was detailed by Josephus, the Jewish historian.  The Temple on Gerizim was considered unsuitable by the Jewish Priests in Jerusalem for the idea of it had been conceived by Sanballat a foreigner who served as the Governor of the region for King Darius the Persian in the second half of the forth century. As a foreign Governor ruling Samaria, he sought to appease the Jewish and gave his daughter in marriage to Manasseh, a Jewish Priest and one of the overseers in Jerusalem. The Jewish law however did not allow Manaseh to serve in the temple while being married to a foreigner and the solution was divorce. The idea of the temple was conceived of then by Sanballat (not God) in an effort to avoid seeing his daughter divorced. About 200 years after the temple was built on Mt Gerizim, John Hycranus, a Jewish high priest and prince of the Hasmonean Dynasty, led a crusade in 120 BC which resulted in the destruction of the temple there. There’s more to this torrid story which you can read in all the links provided.
  5. About noon. Based on the sequence of events this event happened in the spring.
  6. Why was she gathering water in the afternoon rather than in the morning when the water was coolest. It might be because she was a social outcast, it could have been she needed more water for her days work. However from the reading of the rest of the passage, this woman was probably a social outcast even among her own community, having various husbands, and the one whom she was with now was not her husband. Was she in adultery or were they living together (we don’t know).
  7. Genesis 28, the Targum, and other midrashic accounts highlight five miraculous signs given Jacob, one of which is how the water would surge to the top of and overflow. Perhaps she thought this miracle would be given Jesus – but he was ready to give her something far better- living water.
  8. The woman was struggling own two accounts, Jesus a Galilean and a Jew would not have normally spoken with a Samaritan, let alone a woman or asked a sinner to fetch them water as that would make the Jew ceremonially unclean. The second issue was that she was not understanding the undertone of Jesus’ response – that is that he being the Messiah could fill her and satisfy the longings of her soul.
  9. Read Gen 33:19; 48:22
  10. Jesus (the eternal creator of the universe, the Son of God, Son of Man, Messiah) is in fact greater than Jacob. He’s  also greater than the temple (Mt 12:6), greater than Abraham (Jn 8:58), greater than Jonah and Solomon (Mt 12:41-42), greater than the angels (Heb. 1:4-14), greater than the priests (Hebrews 7:25-27), greater than all other believers and founding fathers of the Jewish faith (1 Peter 2:21-22; John 1:17-18; 5:38; 6:32) and so he is worthy to be praised (Revelation 5:12).
  11. She has now shed a layer of her cultural morass and emotional blindness. Because of his acknowledgement and respect, his love and offer of freedom she recognizes that He can renew her soul with this living water. Oh we hope the same for every disciple today.[note] so that I don’t get thirsty, neither come all the way here to draw.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You said well, ‘I have no husband,’ 18 for you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not your husband. This you have said truly.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour comes, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, will you worship the Father. 22 You worship that which you don’t know. We worship that which we know; for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to be his worshipers. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah comes, he who is called Christ. When he has come, he will declare to us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who speaks to you.”[note]Here is yet another instance when Jesus make a clear claim about his purpose, and identity as Messiah. Download the PDF of Messianic prophesies fulfilled by Jesus.