Leader Bible Study
At the time Jesus was on earth, Jews and Samaritans didn’t get along. The strife between the two groups stretched back hundreds of years, to the Babylonian exile.
When the Babylonians attacked Judah, they moved a large group of God’s people away from their homes. But some of the people—the poorest, sickest, least able to work—were left behind in the region that became known as Samaria. The exile lasted 70 years. During that time, those left in Samaria began to mingle with their neighbors to the north. They intermarried and practiced foreign customs. While the Samaritans still believed in God, they adapted foreign beliefs as well.
The Jews who returned home from Babylon to rebuild God’s temple in Jerusalem rejected this new way of life. They were dedicated to obeying and worshiping God, so they didn’t agree with the Samaritans’ practices. The Samaritans opposed the Jews’ efforts to reestablish their nation. In time, the Jews’ hate for the Samaritans grew—so much so that a Jew traveling from Judea to Galilee would take a longer route to travel around Samaria rather than through it.
Jesus broke down barriers when He traveled to Galilee by way of Samaria. Even more surprising, Jesus stopped at a well around noon and asked a Samaritan woman for a drink. Jewish men did not speak to women in public.
But Jesus was kind to her, and He offered her a gift: living water. The woman didn’t understand, but Jesus revealed His knowledge of her past. He even gave her a glimpse of the future. The Samaritan woman expected a Messiah to come and fix everything. Jesus said, “I am He.”
Explain to kids that the living water Jesus offers is the Holy Spirit. (See John 7:37-39.) The Holy Spirit is a gift that He is eager to give us when we ask Him. Those who receive His grace will never be thirsty again.
The BIBLE Story
Jesus and the Samaritan Woman
Jesus had been teaching in Judea. He and His disciples began traveling back to Galilee. They traveled through Samaria and stopped in a town with a well. Jesus’ disciples went into town to buy food.
While Jesus was at the well, a Samaritan woman came to get water from the well. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.”
The woman was surprised. “Why are You talking to me?” she asked. “You’re a Jew, and I’m a Samaritan.”
Jesus said, “I asked you for a drink. You don’t know who I am. If you did, you would have asked Me for a drink, and I would give you living water.”
The woman was confused. She said, “Sir, this well is deep, and You don’t have a bucket. Where do You get this ‘living water’?”
Jesus said, “Anyone who drinks this well water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks from the water I give will never be thirsty again! In fact, the water I give will become a well inside you, and you will have eternal life.” Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit, but the woman did not understand.
“Sir,” she said, “give me this water. If I’m not thirsty, I won’t have to keep coming to this well to get water.”
“Go get your husband,” Jesus said.
“I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied.
Jesus knew she was telling the truth. He said, “You don’t have a husband now, but you’ve had five husbands.”
Jesus was right. “I see You are a prophet,” the woman said. Maybe this prophet could explain something to her. She said, “The Samaritans worship here on a mountain, but the Jews say we need to worship at the temple in Jerusalem.”
Jesus said, “Soon you will not need to be in either of those places to worship God in spirit and in truth.”
The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming. When He comes, He will explain everything to us.”
Then Jesus said, “I am the Messiah.”
The woman left and told the people in her town, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could this be the Messiah?”
Many Samaritans believed in Jesus because of what the woman said. Jesus stayed in their town for two days. Many more believed because of what Jesus said. They told the woman, “We no longer believe because of what you said, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this really is the Savior of the world.”
Christ Connection: Jesus offers something better than physical water; He gives us Himself. Jesus gives the Holy Spirit to everyone who comes to Him by faith. We can worship Him as Lord and Savior wherever we are.
BibleProject is the author and owner of this Content.
Please go to www.bibleproject.com to visit their site and to learn more about BibleProject.