Lesson 5 w/AnswersJohn 4:1-42
In this lesson, Jesus continues to demonstrate to us how to share the good news, and whom to share it with. In our last lesson, we observed Jesus’ interactions with a highly-respected (if not feared), religious, and well-educated man—Nicodemus. In contrast, in this lesson, we find Jesus speaking with an outcast—the Samaritan woman at the well.
We can learn much about ourselves, others, and Jesus by examining this story. I pray that as you read the words of John’s Gospel, Christ will speak to you and lay on your heart what he has prepared for each of us this week, as we study Jesus-in-action, spreading the Good News.
For this lesson, read John 4:1-42 and answer the following:
- In order to more clearly see the contrast between Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus in the last lesson, and his conversation with the Samaritan woman in this week’s lesson, sort the following list into two columns. Below, identify those characteristics that apply to Nicodemus vs. those that apply to the Samaritan woman.
- Despised Samaritan
- Ignorant of religious knowledge
- Well educated in Religion
- Woman of the world
- Man of Religion
- Needed Salvation
- Needed Salvation
Characteristics Nicodemus Samaritan Woman Seeking Indifferent Respected Outcast Serious Flippant Jewish Despised Samaritan Moral Immoral Orthodox Heterodox Well educated in religion Ignorant of religious knowledge Man of religion Woman of the world Needed salvation Needed salvation
- Read John 4:3-5. When the Jews traveled across Israel, they avoided having to travel through Samaria at all costs. However, we observe that Jesus did not. What is the reason given for this in these verses?
- ANSWER: First of all, traveling through Samaria was the most direct route to Galilee, where he was ultimately headed. Had he taken the traditional Jewish route around Samaria, he would have missed the opportunity to reach the Samaritan woman, proclaim the good news to her, then to her village over a two day span. Finally, this provided an excellent object lesson for his disciples, namely, that the gospel is for everyone, regardless of community stature or religious background and training.
- As we read John 4:5-6, what can we learn about the person, the humanity, of Jesus? (see also verses 11-13)
- ANSWER: We observe that indeed he was human just like us; he tired from a long walk, he thirsted, etc.
- Read John 4:7-8. Had Jesus ever met this woman before? Yet he spoke to her. Why was this unusual? (see also verse 9)
- ANSWER 1: He spoke with her even though Jewish tradition prohibited it. Jews were taught to treat Samaritan women as though they were always having "an issue of blood"; this made them unclean. Jesus is talking to someone "unclean", which was unheard of in Judaism.
- ANSWER 2: Again, this shows us that the gospel is even for the outcast and despised of society.
- What do Jeremiah 2:13, Jeremiah 17:13, Psalm 36:9 and John 7:38-39 tell us about "living water"?
- ANSWER: These passages indicate that it comes from God, and that it is the Holy Spirit.
- Read John 4:23-24. How does Jesus define a "true worshiper"?
- ANSWER: A true worshipper is one who worships God in spirit and in truth. Our internal motivations, our desires, and our character must be pure if we are to truly worship God.
- During his conversation with the Samaritan woman, does Jesus ever claim to actually be the Messiah? (see John 4:26)
- ANSWER: Absolutely.
- Can we tell if the woman was excited after hearing that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah? How can we tell? What kind of response to the Gospel message can we observe today?
- ANSWER 1: She was so excited that she left her water pot behind and ran into the village telling everyone she saw.
- ANSWER 2: Those who hear the gospel and believe are typically so excited that they feel compelled to share the good news with their friends and family, just as the woman at the well did.
- What was the instruction that Jesus gave his disciples in John 4:35? What was he trying to tell them?
- ANSWER: Jesus was telling them: "Don’t wait; the harvest is now. Get to it, and quickly! The fields are white and ready for harvest. Don’t delay in getting out the gospel."
- What can we learn about our role in getting out the gospel from Jesus’ instructions in John 4:36-38?
- ANSWER 1: We learn that not everyone will "reap". Some will reap, but others will sow. This indicates to us that, first of all, a lot of work goes into to preparing a soul to hear and accept the good news. Secondly, it indicates that not every worker will be a harvester. We should not be discouraged if we don’t personally lead someone to Christ; our role is simply to have a part.
- ANSWER 2: Jesus is also telling us not to get a swelled head. People who lead others to Christ must recognize that the conversion of someone into a believer is the result of a lot of others’ hard work.
- Now read John 4:39-42. Why did the other Samaritans come to Jesus?
- ANSWER: They came because of all that the woman said and did. They wanted to see and hear Jesus for themselves.
- Why did they believe he was "indeed the Christ"?
- ANSWER: They believed because they heard him, and recognized from what they heard that he was the Messiah, the Savior.
So, in this lesson, we see, firsthand, Jesus patiently teaching and spreading the good news that the long-awaited Messiah has come. We see that he came for everyone—both the well-respected and the outcast, the Jew and the Alien, the Jew and the Gentile.
What a blessing, and what a hope that Jesus came and died for me and for you—not because of our place in society, nor our education or income. And what a hope for us all that no matter whom you are, where you are, or what you are; through your belief in Jesus, you are assured of salvation. The Good News is that Jesus is the real and long-awaited Messiah. We are going to be with him eternally through God’s grace and Jesus’ great sacrifice.
An additional important takeaway from this lesson is that we need to be in the fields now, spreading the good news to the many who so desperately need it. And we need to remember that it is for everyone, even the vilest of sinners. Don’t keep the good news from anyone! Jesus died and rose again for all to be saved, not just a special few.
Have a great week everyone, and thanks for studying with us.