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4. Jesus and the Samaritan Woman (John 4:1-42)

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Main Point: Jesus came to give new life to ALL people who put their trust in Him.

Key Verse: I am not ashamed of the good news. It is God's power. And it will save everyone who believes. It is meant first for the Jews. It is meant also for those who aren't Jews. - Romans 1:16

Props: A beautiful vase, filled with dirty rocks, a clay vase filled with gold or pearls


Say: Jesus left heaven and came to earth to be the Savior of the world. Anyone who believes in Him will be forgiven of their sins, and will enter eternal life. Last week we learned about a Jewish leader who came to meet Jesus in the middle of the night. Ask: Who can tell me his name? Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a Pharisee. The Pharisees knew God’s laws very well and they even added more rules to them. The Jewish people admired the Pharisees, and the Pharisees were proud of their positions. They mistakenly thought that God would accept them because of all their rule following. As a whole, the Pharisees did not believe in Jesus, but Nicodemus knew there was something special about Jesus. He wanted to find out more about him. The Bible does not tell us if Nicodemus put his faith in Jesus at that time. If he did, he kept it a secret from the other Pharisees (John 7:48-49).

Traveling North (John 2:4-11)


Because the Pharisees wanted to cause trouble for Jesus, He and His disciples left the Jewish town of Judea (John 4:1-2). They headed toward the town of Galilee (John 4:3). The quickest route between these two towns was through another town, called Samaria. Teacher: Point to this on the map. However, the Jews hated the Samaritans. The Samaritan people were half-Jewish. That means one parent was Jewish and the other parent was a foreigner. Because they were half-Jewish, Samaritans believed only part of the Jewish religion. The Jews believed the Samaritans were “unclean” in God’s eyes. Therefore, most Jews would never travel through Samaria. They would travel way out of their way to avoid getting near a Samaritan person.

Note to Teacher: There had been bitter feelings between Jews and Samaritans for centuries. The Samaritans find their origin at the time of the Assyrian conquest of the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 721 B.C. According to Assyrian figures, nearly 30,000 Israelites were deported, being replaced by heathen captives from all over the Assyrian empire (cf. 2 Kings 17:3f.). It was not long before the purity of the Israelites was defiled, not only racially, but spiritually.

Ultimately, Samaritan theology differed greatly from that of Orthodox Judaism. The Samaritans accepted only the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament) as inspired and authoritative. They rejected the Psalms, the prophets, and other books of the Old Testament. When the Babylonian exiles returned to the Holy Land, the Samaritans made efforts toward merger, but were rebuffed and rejected (and rightly so). As a result, open hostility sprung up from time to time. The Samaritans held that the center of worship was at Mt. Gerizim, while the Jews maintained that it was Jerusalem (cf. John 4:20). The Samaritans actually tampered with the Scriptures to substantiate their theology. Around 400 B.C., a Samaritan Temple was built on Mount Gerizim. Around 128 B.C., this temple was destroyed by the Jews and relations between these two peoples worsened. Such was the background to this conversation between Jesus and the woman. Evidence to the friction between the Jews and the Samaritans is easily found.

Bob Deffinbaugh, The Manifestation of Messiah to the Samaritan Woman ©1996-2006 Biblical Studies Press, reprinted with permission from

Meeting At The Well (John 2:4-11)

Say: Unlike every other Jew, Jesus felt the need to go through Samaria.

Note to Teacher: The Greek word for Jesus’ need to go through Samaria was “dei,” meaning, “the necessity of law and command, of duty, of equity.” The dictionary defines equity as the quality of being fair or impartial. We will soon see that in Samaria, Jesus impartially shares the Gospel with Gentiles for the first time.

He and His disciples came to a town called Sychar. They stopped at a well that had been dug by Abraham’s grandson, Jacob. Jesus was tired, so He sat by the well. His disciples left Him there and went into town to buy food. It was about 6:00 in the evening at this time.

A woman from Samaria came to get some water. Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?" - John 4:7

This may seem like a simple question, but it was much more than that! Jesus was a Jew, and as we said, a Jew almost NEVER spoke to a Samaritan. And even more than that, this Samaritan was a woman. Back in Jesus’ day, the Jewish teachers did not allow Jewish men to speak to women in public. By speaking to this Samaritan woman, Jesus proved He was different from any other teacher. He was concerned about people, not about rules made up by men.

The Samaritan woman said to Him, "You are a Jew. I am a Samaritan woman. How can You ask me for a drink?" She said this because Jews don't have anything to do with Samaritans.

Jesus answered her, "You do not know what God's gift is. And you do not know Who is asking you for a drink. If you did, you would have asked Him. He would have given you living water." - John 4:9-10

This woman stood face to face with Emmanuel, God’s own Son, yet she did not know Who He was. As always, Jesus knew this woman’s deepest need. Very often, Jesus used things that people could see to explain heavenly things that they could not see. He spoke to her of living water. The Bible says that this water is a symbol for God’s Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39). But the woman did not understand that He was talking about spiritual things. She thought He meant actual water. Back then, living water meant water that moved, like water from a brook or stream. This water would be much fresher than the well water this woman was used to.

She asked Him where He could get such water. She even mentioned that the well they were at once belong to Abraham’s grandson. She asked Jesus how He could get water better than the water from Jacob’s well. She asked if Jesus was more important than Jacob. And as always, Jesus focused on what was most important.

Jesus answered, "All who drink this water will be thirsty again. But anyone who drinks the water I give him will never be thirsty. In fact, the water I give him will become a spring of water in him. It will flow up into eternal life." - John 4:13-14

The woman said she would like to have this water, but she still did not fully understand. Jesus told her to go get her husband and come back. She said she did not have a husband. Of course, Jesus already knew this, and much more. Jesus knew all about her past, and her present.

Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands. And the man you have now is not your husband. What you have just said is very true."

"Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet. Our people have worshiped on this mountain for a long time. But you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem." - John 4:17b-20

The Jews and Samaritans argued over where the center of worship should be: at the Temple in Jerusalem, or a temple built by the Samaritans on Mt. Gerizim. Jesus spoke to what was most important.

Jesus said, "Believe me, woman. A time is coming when you will not worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know. We worship what we do know. Salvation comes from the Jews.

"But a new time is coming. In fact, it is already here. True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. They are the kind of worshipers the Father is looking for. God is spirit. His worshipers must worship Him in spirit and in truth."

The woman said, "I know that Messiah is coming." (He is called Christ.) "When He comes, He will explain everything to us."

Then Jesus said, "I, the One speaking to you, am He." - John 4:21-26

Note to Teacher: It is possible that this statement of our Lord in verse 26 is even more bold than simply a declaration of His identity as Messiah. When our Lord said, ‘I who speak to you am He,’ the ‘He’ is not present in the original text, but rather supplied by the translators. Jesus, I believe, made claim to be the ‘I AM’ of the Old Testament, where God instructed Moses to tell the Israelites that “I AM” sent you (Exodus 3:14). If this is the case, Jesus claimed to be Messiah and God at the same moment. - Bob Deffinbaugh

Ask: Who did Jesus say He was? The Messiah, the Christ. Jesus could not have spoken more clearly about who He was. And though He said salvation must come through the Jews, it was not only for the Jews. Now it was for the non-Jews, or “Gentiles,” also.

Right at that time, Jesus’ disciples returned from town. They were very surprised to see Jesus talking to a woman, but they did not ask Him about it.

The woman had come to the well to get water, but she received new life instead. She left her water jar by the well and ran back to town to tell others the Good News.

She said to the people, "Come. See a man who told me everything I've ever done. Could this be the Christ?" The people came out of the town and made their way toward Jesus.

His disciples were saying to Him, "Rabbi, eat something!"

But He said to them, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about."

Then His disciples asked each other, "Did someone bring him food?"

Jesus said, "My food is to do what My Father sent me to do. My food is to finish His work.

"You say, 'Four months more, and then it will be harvest time.' But I tell you, open your eyes! Look at the fields! (Teacher, point to power point slide of people coming to Jesus.) They are ripe for harvest right now. Those who gather the crop are already getting paid. They are already harvesting the crop for eternal life. So those who plant and those who gather can now be glad together.

"Here is a true saying. 'One plants and another gathers.' ” - John 4:29-37

His disciples wanted Jesus to eat the food that they had bought in town. Once again, Jesus used something that they could see (food) as a symbol of heavenly things. The food they bought in town would nourish their bodies, but the food of doing God’s work would nourish their souls. As the crowd of people from town made their way up the hillside to see Him, Jesus compared them to a crop that was ready to be harvested. A regular crop takes months to prepare. First, the farmer plants the seeds, then he waters and the sun shines. Each seed grows slowly into a mature plant. Then it is time to harvest, or pick the grain. But this day, Jesus spoke of a spiritual crop. The Samaritan woman had planted seeds of truth into the townspeople. Those who wanted to hear more were coming right to Jesus and the disciples. That very day, many Samaritans believed in Jesus. The spiritual crop was harvested! The disciples weren’t even present when the woman first came to Jesus, but they were privileged to help lead her friends and relative to new life in Christ. The Samaritans invited Jesus to stay with them for a few more days. The Bible says, “Many more became believers.” (John 4:41)

Application: Nicodemus was a Jew, one of God’s chosen people. He was a very educated man, admired by others, and he followed God’s laws. Nicodemus looked good on the outside. Teacher: Show the beautiful vase. Contrast this woman. She was a Samaritan - outcast from God’s chosen people. She had a terrible reputation; other people looked down on her. She had openly broken God’s laws. On the outside, she looked awful. Show the clay pot. Nicodemus had everything going for him, yet when he heard the news about Who Jesus was, and why He came, Nicodemus did not put his trust in Him - at least not right away. And if he did, he was afraid to tell anyone. Show that the beautiful vase is empty. But when the woman at the well heard the news about Jesus, she gladly accepted it. Then she ran to tell everyone about Him. Show the gold or pearls inside the clay pot. They BOTH needed Jesus, but only one boldly accepted Him. By outward appearances, anyone would have thought Nicodemus would have accepted Jesus instead of the woman. Perhaps the woman could see her need for Jesus’ forgiveness much more clearly than Nicodemus could see his.

Jesus came to save people from the punishment of their sin. This salvation was first offered to the Jews, and then God freely offered it to the non-Jews. We can apply this to our lives by remembering that Jesus came to give new life to ALL people who put their trust in Him. Pray for the opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus with everyone - those who look shiny on the outside, and those who don’t. EVERYONE needs to know Him.

PPT CUE: Key Verse

Key Verse: I am not ashamed of the good news. It is God's power. And it will save everyone who believes. It is meant first for the Jews. It is meant also for those who aren't Jews. - Romans 1:16

PPT CUE: Main Point

Main Point: Jesus came to give new life to ALL people who put their trust in Him.

1 © 2010 All rights reserved worldwide. May be reproduced for personal, nonprofit, and non-commercial uses only. Unless otherwise noted the Scriptures taken from: Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version, (NIrV®) Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society / Used by permission of IBS-STL. All rights reserved worldwide.

Related Topics: Christology, Children, Children's Curriculum

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