BSF Study Questions John Lesson 5, Day 5: John 4:27-30

Summary of passage:  The disciples return with food and find Jesus talking to a woman.  The woman leaves, telling the whole town of whom she met and to come and see him.

Questions:

11a)  She probably forgot the jar in her excitement of meeting Jesus, the possible Messiah.  It also indicates she will return.  It indicates she might be turned for Jesus.

b)  She ran to town and testified to Jesus, telling all to come and see him.  The people came to see Jesus.  The woman probably believed in her heart who Jesus was, receiving his promised gift of eternal waters (everlasting life).  Furthermore, as a probable outcast, this woman so believed in Jesus she overcame the social stigma to tell others of Jesus.  Her faith was bright!

12)  Men did not talk to woman, especially unaccompanied women.  Women were akin to animals in ancient times and had no rights.  This shows Jesus is for all.  He welcomes all.  He wants all to come to him.  He does not care about the customs of man.  He cares about saving souls.

13)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He is truly for all no matter how fallen you are in this world.

Conclusions:  Love how Jesus smashes social norms and shows how he cares for all.  He gives hope to this world.  He wants every living soul.  This conversation with a Samaritan woman proves Jesus’ greatness.

End Notes:  Note the disciples did not openly question Jesus either out of respect for Jesus and who he is or in their hearts knowing the Samaritan woman has value as well.

Perfect example of eye-witness testimony:  John recorded the woman left her clay pot.

Even after being confronted with all her sins, the woman turned to Jesus.  Human reaction is to run away from those who speak of things we don’t want to hear or remember.  Not this woman.  Jesus had touched her soul.  She felt safe with him.  The woman felt compassion.  There was no judgement or condemnation.

The predicted Messiah will be able to tell all about you (Isaiah 11:2-3).  The Samaritans probably believed this as well.

She evangelized!  She told everyone to come and know Jesus just as she just has.  So must we all.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 5, Day 4: John 4:19-26

Summary of passage:  The woman now understands Jesus is a prophet since he knows her past.  She questions him about the proper place to worship since Samaritans believe Mount Gerazim is the place.  Jesus explains he, the Messiah, has come and it does not matter where you worship the Lord for he is spirit.

Questions:

8 )  Many followers of other religions worship other gods whom they don’t “know.”  The same can be said for Christians if they don’t “know” God.  True faith is having a personal relationship with God and Jesus Christ, knowing Him through the Word, prayer, and faith, and worshipping Him accordingly.

9)  Jesus said “salvation is from the Jews” and included himself with the Jews in verse 22 when he says “we”.   Jesus was a Jew and the Jews are God’s chosen people–the ones originally chosen to worship the Lord and to know Him.  God extends His grace to Gentiles as well through His Son, Jesus Christ.  The God of the Old Testament is the same God of the New Testament.  He never changes.  Both parts of the Bible are equally important in knowing who God is and growing closer to Him and obeying His laws for our lives.

10)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  “Those who worship the Father in spirit and truth.”  God wants us to worship Him with our whole hearts in truth and with the Holy Spirit as our guide with no pretenses or trappings.  By giving God all of my life and all of my heart and all of my soul and all of my strength and all of my mind.  (Luke 10:27).

Conclusions:  I love how Jesus just lays it out:  God wants all of us.  Period.  I love who he lays it out to:  a woman who has a dubious past who may be an outcast.  A woman in Ancient Times was nothing.  This fact alone should convince everyone that Jesus is for everyone–especially YOU.

End Notes:  The book of John focuses on Jesus’ ministry with individuals.  We see Jesus as he wants us to be:  an intimate friend, imparting words of wisdom to live by.  He has private conversations with the woman at the well and Nicodemus.  He strives to know us as we strive to know him.

Here, Jesus uses a profound image for those living in a desert environment:  water.  To this woman, water was everything and Jesus promises her living waters and a spring of eternal life.  This would have made a profound impression on this woman.

John’s goal is to provide clarity so we can see and know Jesus.  Still, many do not understand.

Here, the abrupt change in subject in verse 20 is probably the woman trying to evade the issue of her husbands.

Remember, the Samaritans combine the teachings of Moses with outside religions.  They believed Moses commissioned an altar on Mount Gerazim.  They cherry-picked the Bible, believing only the first 5 books.

Jesus strongly identifies with the Jewish people when he says “we” in verse 22.

Jesus announces to this unidentified woman how the time is coming where the place you worship will not matter; what matter is the how you worship.  This was profound and one of the greatest announcements in the entire Bible–made unplanned at a well.

Worship in spirit and truth means no outside pretenses.  All heart.

The place of worship is irrelevant because true worship must be in keeping with God’s nature, which is spirit.  “True worshippers” must worship God in the power of his Spirit and in accordance with truth.  Truth in John’s Gospel  is Christ.

Fun Fact:  This is the only time Jesus specifically speaks of himself as the Messiah before his trial.  In Samaria, the term had no political overtures, probably the reason Jesus used it here.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 5, Day 3: John 4:11-18

Summary of passage:  The Samaritan woman at the well asks Jesus where to get this living water he speaks of and if he’s greater than Jacob.  Jesus tells her the water he brings will give eternal life.  She asks where to get this water so she won’t thirst.  Jesus tells her to bring back her husband.  She says she has no husband.

Questions:

6a)  Ordinary water never quenches thirst.  The water Jesus offers will forever quench thirst and bring eternal life.

b)  In Ancient Times, living water was the name for bubbling water. However, for Jews living water is associated with God (Jeremiah 2:13; 17:13).  Jesus is also living water (John 6:35).  Holy Spirit is living water (John 6:63; John 7:37-39).

c)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  People thirst for ordinary water as a basic human need for survival.  People also thirst for success, power, status, material things, relationships, children, other human desires, etc.  Thirsting for other things outside God can take precedence.  This is when it’s dangerous.  Thirst for God first and the other things second.  Then will you be satisfied.  Prioritize.  For me, only Jesus satisfies the basic needs of my soul.  Everything else is meaningless without Him.

7a)  She showed belief by asking for the water that won’t lead to thirst but unbelief by equating living water with ordinary water when she gave her reason for wanting the water so she wouldn’t have to make daily trips to the well.  She was practical; Jesus wants spiritual.  Jesus told her to go and get her husband.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus humbles you to the point you have to acknowledge his precedence in your life.  When we are the most blinded, he shows up to guide us on our path.  For me, it has been bankruptcy and losing it all.  It’s also the constant money struggles we have with my husband’s job being so tied to the economy and the sins in my life.  It’s all about dependence on Him and Him alone.  When that’s all in place, life is full of contentment.

Conclusions:  Love the difference of the waters and the different representations in the Bible (although they are all the Triune God).  Jesus takes a basic need and turns it into an essential need–one even more important that water itself–our spiritual health.

End Notes:  Drinking is God’s supply and man’s need.  We drink through faith and take in and choose God.  It’s simple–even easier than eating.

One sip of Jesus usually isn’t enough.  We must drink and drink and drink of God to satisfy our needs.  The expression “welling up” means leaping up.  It is vigorous and abundant.

Why ask for her to fetch her husband?  Remember from YESTERDAY we spoke of how men don’t speak to women in public.  This conversation is long and Jesus recognizes the need for her husband to be present in order to continue talking.

Jesus confronts the woman about her sinful past–her 5 husbands.  Jesus is not trying to embarrass the woman–he’s trying to get her to realize her sinful life and her need for him.  Apparently, the woman is living with yet another man.  Jesus rightfully says this is no marriage in his eyes.  She must recognize herself as a sinner first in order to drink of the living waters.  Good lesson for us all!

Jews held a woman could divorce two or at the most three times.  Her life is incredibly immoral by Jewish standards.

BSF Study Questions John Lesson 5, Day 2: John 4:1-10

Summary of passage:  Jesus’ reputation was spreading and the Pharisees caught wind that Jesus was baptizing more people than John the Baptist although in fact it was Jesus’ disciples who were doing the actual physical act.  Jesus traveled back up north to Galilee from Judea, crossing through Samaria.  At a town named Sychar, Jesus stopped to rest at a well near Jacob’s well while his disciples went to town to buy food.  A Samaritan woman drew water at the well and Jesus asked for a drink from her (something forbidden to do since Jews do not associate with Samaritans).  Jesus tells her if she knew he were God, she would have asked him for the living water instead.

Questions:

3)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  She needed to know the gift of God, who it is who is asking for a drink, and ask Jesus to drink the gift of living water.  The “when” is every day.  The “how” is accepting Jesus’ sovereignty in my life and receiving the Holy Spirit as my guide–again, every day.

4a)  Nicodemus knows about Jesus and who he claims to be.  The Samaritan woman has never heard of him.  Nicodemus approaches Jesus.  Jesus approaches the Samaritan woman.  Nicodemus speaks first.  Jesus speaks first to the Samaritan woman.  Jesus tells both truths and things they need to do.  He tells Nicodemus he must be born again.  He tells the Samaritan woman she needs to receive the gift of living water.  The Samaritan woman realizes who Jesus is; Nicodemus does not.  She tells others (testifies); Nicodemus does not.  She is responsible for others’ belief; Nicodemus is not.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Speak the truth and keep it simple.  Use analogies.

5a)  Samaritan religion closely followed Judaism but was considered a cult.  They only accepted the first 5 books of the Old Testament and insisted that Mount Gerizim, not Jerusalem, was the proper place to worship God.

According to 2 Kings 17, when God allowed the Jews to be removed from their homeland by Assyria, the king of Assyria resettled the land which was Samaria with foreigners around 721 BC.  They intermarried with the remaining Jews.  These people eventually did not worship the Lord so the Lord sent lions to kill them.  The king of Assyria sent a Jewish priest to the people to teach them the ways of the Lord.  However, each group made their own gods.  They worshipped the Lord but had all sorts of people be their priests.  They don’t follow the Lord’s commands or ordinances and worshipped their own idols.  Hence, the Jews cut themselves off from the Samaritans because they were unbelievers.

Ezra tells us how the Samaritans tried to stop the temple from being re-built, creating more resentment from the Jews against them.

The height of this rift between the Jews and the Samaritans was in Jesus’ time.  This scene is remarkable and could only have taken place by Jesus.  His purpose was to show how he is for everyone and how he can bring those lost back to him.  There is no prejudice in the eyes of the Lord and no bounds to His love.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Mine is not about cultural at all.  I need the courage to speak to others about Jesus period.

Conclusions:  I found the history behind the rift between the Jews and the Samaritans the most interesting part of this passage.  I always knew they didn’t like each other, but I didn’t know the reasons behind it.  Cool stuff!

End Notes:  Jesus knew the time for confrontation had not yet come.  Hence, he returns to Galilee.

Note Jesus did not baptize.  This was a sign to all of Jesus’ status above John the Baptist.  Yet, he sanctioned baptism as a sign of acceptance of him and repentance of sin.

The road from Jerusalem to Galilee lay through Samaria, but Jews often went around to avoid the Samaritans.  (Cool map HERE of the route around.  It’s a long way just to avoid people you don’t like.).  The Samaritans were considered half-breeds if you will.  When Babylon exiled the Jews, they left behind the lower classes, not wanting them to mix with the Babylonians.  The Samaritans are a mix of these left-over Jewish peoples and non-Jews who immigrated to the area afterwards.  This new race of people took on some aspects of the religion of the non-Jews and built their own temple to God on Mount Gerizim.  The Jews burned this temple around 128 BC.

Jesus went this way because the Samaritans needed to hear him.  He could have gone around but didn’t.

Sychar was ancient Shechem and was the capital of Samaria.  The history of this place is astounding:

This is where Abram first came when he arrived into Canaan from Babylonia. (Genesis 12:6)

This is where God first appeared to Abram in Canaan, and renewed the promise of giving the land to him and his descendants. (Genesis 12:7)

This is where Abram built an altar and called upon the name of the Lord (Genesis 12:8)

This is where Jacob came safely when he returned with his wives and children from his sojourn with Laban. (Genesis 33:18)

This is where Jacob bought a piece of land from a Canaanite named Hamor for 100 pieces of sliver (Genesis 33:19)

This is where Jacob built an altar to the Lord, and called it El Elohe Israel (Genesis 33:20). This established the connection between Jacob and what became known as Jacob’s well there in Sychar.

Sychar (Shechem) was also the place where Dinah, the daughter of Jacob, was raped – and the sons of Jacob massacred the men of the city in retaliation. (Genesis 34)

This was the plot of ground that Jacob gave his son Joseph, land Jacob had conquered from the Amorites with his sword and bow in an unrecorded battle (Genesis 48:22)

This is where the bones of Joseph were eventually buried when they were carried up from Egypt (Joshua 24:32)

This is where Joshua made a covenant with Israel, renewing their commitment to the God of Israel and proclaiming, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24)

Jesus is tired after a long day of walking.  Jesus was fully human and fully God and as fully human experienced the same things we do.

The sixth hour would have been around noon–the hottest part of the day.

The woman at the well was unusual.  Mostly women came together and came during the early part of the day for water for the day.  Maybe she ran out of water or had a sudden need or maybe she was an outcast.  Like a pub today, the well was a gathering place, a place to exchange news and gossip.  Furthermore, men would come, knowing it was a place where young women frequented.  It was also a place where prostitutes hung out as well.

Rabbi never spoke to women in public, not even their own wives of daughters.  Some even closed their eyes when passing a woman on the street.  Furthermore, Jews never asked favors from Samaritans.  Jesus was breaking all the rules–and showing us all how to live.

Also, Jews believed they would become ceremonially unclean if they used a drinking vessel handled by a Samaritan since they held the belief all Samaritans were unclean.

Jesus makes a simple request to the woman–water.  He makes a simple request of us–faith.

Jesus often speaks to us similarly:  “If you knew….” on a quest to draw us closer to him, to investigate more, to pray more.

In Ancient Times, living water was the name for bubbling water.  However, for Jews living water is associated with God (Jeremiah 2:13; 17:13).  It is fresh, flowing water not water that is sitting and stagnant.

Fun Fact:  The Greek word for gift is used only this time in this Gospel here.  It emphasizes God’s grace through Christ.