Read John 4:1-19
1) Look at a map and trace the journey from the meeting with Nicodemus in Jerusalem in the beginning of chapter 3, to the presumed location (near the Jordan river) where Jesus and John were baptizing in Judea later in chapter 3, to Cana of Galilee (John 4:46). What would be the most direct route?
2) Second Kings 17 outlines the beginning of the problem that developed in Samaria. According to verses 28 to 34, what was the nature of this problem.
3) According to Ezra 4:1-2 the people of Samaria offered to help with the rebuilding of temple. What was the outcome of this offer?
Other historical notes about the worship of the Samaritans:
- In about 400 B.C., the Samaritans constructed their own rival temple on Mount Gerizim. At the end of the second century B.C., this temple was destroyed by John Hyrcanus, the Hasmonean ruler of Judea. This greatly increased hostilities between the Jews and the Samaritans.
- The Samaritans professed to believe in the God of Israel and awaited the coming of Messiah (see John 4:25).
- They accepted only the first five books of the Law, but rejected the rest of the Old Testament Scriptures.
4) Based on the above scriptural and historical data, how would you describe the relationship between the Jews and the Samaritans – particularly as it relates to their worship?
5) With the above situation in mind, look up the following scriptures where John also uses the same word – “dei” , or “must” – John 3:7, 3:14, 3:30, 4:24, 9:4, 10:16, 12:34, 20:9 (there is one other occurrence of the Greek word in 4:20). When John says that Jesus must needs go through Samaria, how do you understand Jesus’ reason for traveling by this route?
Sychar and Jacob’s Well (from http://www.christiancourier.com/feature/november2000.htm)
As Jesus and his disciples traveled northward through Samaria, they came to a city called Sychar. The precise location of Sychar is a point of controversy. It was near Mt. Gerizim, a peak some 2,850 feet high, about 40 miles north of Jerusalem. Some identify the city with modern Askar, slightly more than half a mile north of Jacob’s well, while others locate the city at the ruins of ancient Shechem (now Tell Balatah), which is located at the eastern edge of the pass between Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim. John says it was “near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph” (4:5; cf. Gen. 48:22).
The apostle declares that “Jacob’s well was there” (4:6). The site of Jacob’s well has been called “the most authentic of all the Holy Places in Palestine” (A. Parrot, cited in Freedman, III.608). The well is about 300 yards SSE of Tell Balatah. When it was cleaned out it 1935, it was shown to be about 135 feet deep (cf. 4:11), with the water being some 75 to 80 feet from the surface in the summer (Wright, 216). It is seven and one-half feet in diameter.
John calls it both a “spring” [pege] (Jn. 4:6, ASV fn), and a “well” [phrear - a cistern] (4:11-12), suggesting that its water was supplied by both an underground spring and rain. “Abundant water comes from springs emerging all along the north and east flanks of Mount Gerizim” (Stern, IV.1346). The biblical text is strikingly accurate.
6) What about the information in the box above strikes you as significant in the context of this story?
7) What do you know about the woman at this point in the story (up to verse 9)? What can you infer from the other details given?
8 ) Why does Jesus’ request amaze the woman?
9) Explain Jesus response in verse 10. Did Jesus answer her question? Why not?
10) Compare the woman’s response in verse 11 with the response of Nicodemus in John 3:4. What do you note?
11) This woman refers to Jacob as “our Father”. How does this compare to the usual Jewish reference to Abraham as their father, or to the reference to all three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? (See especially John 8:53).
12) The above quote pointed out that Jacob’s well is referred to by John as both a “spring” and a “well”. How would the characteristics of a spring and a well help us understand Jesus’ statement in John 4:14?
13) In verse 15, the woman asks Jesus for the water he has been talking about. What is this water? (See John 7:37-39) How is it that believers in Christ sometimes experience spiritual thirst?
14) Why did Jesus change the subject at this point in the conversation?
15) What does the woman’s response tell you about her (in light of Jesus’ answer in the following verse)?
16) Compare the woman’s estimation of Jesus’ identity in verse 19 with Nicodemus’ statement in John 3:2. Where were each of them in their understanding of who Jesus was? How is this important to the issue of salvation?by beakennedy and comments are closed.