How a woman with a bad reputation became an unlikely witness to the love and compassion of Jesus.
1. What is the most unlikely situation in which you felt led to share your faith?
2. Skim John 4:1-26. What is the setting and situation in this chapter? (A tired Jesus sat at a well at noon, while His disciples went into the Samaritan town of Sychar to get lunch. Despite being tired and hungry, Jesus took an opportunity to teach a woman of a despised race about the Father.)
3. As you read John 4:27-42, take notice of the characters’ attitudes towards the spiritually lost.
4. How do the disciples react when they return and find Jesus conversing with a Samaritan woman? What are they focused on? (The disciples didn’t voice their surprise and probable disgust, but their silence and perhaps their body language spoke just as loud. Barriers of sex, race and religion kept them from speaking to the woman themselves. She may have taken this awkward situation as her cue to go back to town. Meanwhile, the disciples had lunch and only lunch on their minds.)
5. Describe a time when your own needs and comfort zones eclipsed an opportunity to be a witness for Christ.
6. How does the woman differ from the disciples in her attitude toward reaching the lost? (While the disciples were enslaved to their hunger pangs, she was willing to let witness interrupt her schedule. She actually left her water jar behind and returned to speak of Jesus. Sidelining her own need for water was as inefficient as returning from the gas station with an empty tank.)
7. How willing are you to let witness interrupt your schedule?
8. How are her words to the townspeople (in verse 29) a model for our own witness?
• She spoke of her experience with Jesus.
• She invited people to meet Him for themselves.
• She was open and vulnerable when referring to her past life.
• She didn’t wait until she had her theology perfected before she began speaking of Jesus.
• She raised interest in Christ’s identity.
9. Which of these elements of witness are you doing well at, and which do you need to focus on improving?
10. Put the conversation about food (verses 31-34) in your own words. What was the point that Jesus was making? (He was fed and energized by spiritual food which was far more fulfilling than mere physical food. While they were picking up lunch in town, He’d been eating the whole time. He was nourished by the joy of revealing the Father to a lost soul.)
11. Can you relate to Christ’s experience? How have you experienced the satisfaction found in doing God’s will, especially in sharing your faith?
12. What “sight” was Jesus referring to as He said: “open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest”? (By then, the crowd of Samaritans may have been approaching to check out Jesus. They may have reminded Jesus of a field of ripe wheat swaying in the wind. The disciples would have avoided the people of Sychar altogether were it not for their need to buy lunch. They certainly viewed Samaritans more as weeds than wheat.)
13. What fields may Jesus want you to “open your eyes” and see?
14. Why does Jesus stress that “even now,” not four months away, its time to reap? (We should not assume that people are so far from coming to faith. We should be sowing and reaping among people who, like Samaritans, seem unlikely to bear gospel fruit.)
15. Who are some people you know that seem incredibly far from faith in Jesus?
As in the case of the Samaritans, their harvest may be sooner than you think. Let’s stop and pray for those people right now. Simply speak their names out loud so that we can all agree with you in prayer for their salvation.
16. How do the people of Sychar react to Jesus? What contributed to their belief? (A combination of personal testimony and Christ’s truth contributed to their belief. The same is true today.)
Let’s lay our barriers to witness before Jesus, and ask for more of His compassion for the lost.