Women in the Bible – Lesson 7: The Woman at the Well

A youth Bible study on Women in the Bible based on the Yale Bible Study.

Lesson Developed by

Jill Olds and Victoria Crook

Goal

Seeing women as people, not objects

Tips to Prepare

  • If in person, set the room with chairs or around a table for a small group conversation
  • If virtually, schedule in your preferred video platform

Materials Checklist

Scripture Focus

John 4:1-39

Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard, “Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples than John” —although it was not Jesus himself but his disciples who baptized— he left Judea and started back to Galilee.

But he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon. A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.” Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!” The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.”

Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are you speaking with her?” Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?” 

Introduction for Leaders

Gather

  • Begin with a check in with members
  • Open with prayer

Engage

Activity 1: Headlines

  • Bring in headlines/magazines/news articles describing men and women and ask youth what they think the article is about. (The more ridiculous the headline the better)
  • Circle/point out the different ways these articles describe the men and women in their stories. Examples include articles talking about what women politician’s wear, descriptors of their bodies, personality traits, discussions around family life, etc. These can be from Pop Culture magazines, NYT, internet articles, commercials, etc.
  • What patterns do you and your youth notice? Discuss why there might be such a difference in descriptions of women and men.

Activity 2: Video

Watch the video “Jesus Talks with the Samaritan Woman”  OR the video “The Truth About Being a Girl”

Reflect

Read the focal scripture and discuss the following questions together:

  1. What is Jesus’ approach here? How does he converse with her?
  2. This is the longest conversation in all of the Scriptures, and it’s with a woman. In Jesus’ exchange with her, the power flows between them. What does that say about how Jesus views women who are outsiders, perhaps adulterous, certainly vulnerable in society?
  3. How often do other people “see” us the way Jesus sees the Samaritan woman? How often do we see others in this way, and let others lead in the conversation, without interruption?

 

Send Forth

Close the meeting in prayer (either the leader or a group member).