WELCOME to the fourth week of Reason to Believe. Throughout this six-week series, we are exploring six encounters Jesus has with people looking for God. This weekend, Senior Pastor Jeff Manion tells the story of the Woman at the Well. Through this story, we learn some important lessons through Jesus’ conversation with the woman, his disciples, and the Samaritans.
Building healthy and life-giving relationships.
What has been new or challenging in your life since last time the group met? Spend 20-30 minutes checking in with each other.
One of the most important ways a group can care for each other is checking in on each other’s souls. Does your soul feel alive or do you feel like you are just going through the motions? Maybe your soul feels hardened by life circumstances or maybe it feels raw. Take a few minutes to go around the group checking in on each other’s souls.
Share Part of Your Story.
This weekend, we heard God can use us in those spaces where we don’t want to be. Share a time when God taught you something through a difficult time or used you to minister to others in a difficult time.
Taking next steps toward Christ together.
Have someone read John 4.1-42 aloud. What do you notice in these verses?
Everything about the conversation with the woman is wrong. In 1st Century culture, a Jewish man would never talk to a woman alone, not to mention a Samaritan. Plus, this woman has made some poor decisions that Jesus knows about. Jesus didn’t let any of these things serve as a barrier. He wasn’t prejudiced. Where do you see our culture being prejudiced? What’s the difference between making character judgments based on evidence and being prejudiced? How can we cross cultural barriers to love others? How can we figure out where some of our prejudices are so we can see people as Jesus sees people?
Water is life in an arid climate.
Jesus uses water as a metaphor for the woman’s longing, offering her real life. According to the passage, where does it appear the woman is trying to meet her deepest needs? What are some things our culture tells us will meet our longings?
Discuss the following statement: The danger is when we take something that is good and make it god.
Planting & Harvesting.
The disciples come back and are amazed Jesus is talking to the woman. Jesus teaches them about planting and harvesting. What does Jesus mean when he tells the disciples “One sows and another reaps”? Many believe John the Baptist had been through Samaria preparing the people to respond. It is possible there are people in our life who have already been prepared to respond. How can we be looking for people whose hearts are ready to respond?
Jesus and the disciples reap the harvest John the Baptist had planted. How can knowing there are times when someone plants and another reaps encourage us to have spiritual conversations?
It appears the disciples just wanted to move through Samaria as fast as possible. Jesus helps reorient them to his mission. He tells them Samaria is ready to respond. When the Samaritans ask, he stays two more days. Why didn’t the disciples want to stay in Samaria? Why did Jesus stay? Sometimes, God wants to use us in those places we don’t want to be—the Samaria’s of life. What are some of the ways God works through spaces we don’t want to be in? How can we stay focused on God and what he is doing when we find ourselves in a Samaria?
The Samaritans initially believed because of the woman’s testimony. Yet, we see them increasing in belief because of the time spent learning from Jesus. What can we learn about belief from the Samaritans? How can it help us in our interactions with those outside the faith? Who do you most closely identify with of these three groups? Do you feel like the woman—with Jesus offering you real life? Do you feel like the disciples—confused about what Jesus is doing and wanting to move through Samaria as fast as possible? Do you feel like the Samaritans—starting to believe and increasing your belief?
Invest in Others
Valuing people outside the group and outside the faith.
Spend some time talking about how you and your group can better engage the people in your life outside your small group.
Last week, we asked you to share with the group someone you want to introduce to Jesus so the group could pray for them. Update your group on that person, any interactions you may have had with them and how they can continue to pray.
Spring and summer are often good times for a group to do a service project together. Spend some time talking about what a service project might look like for your group and how you can find service project opportunities through your current relationships.