September 30, 2018 – John 4:1-42

Lesson Date: September 30, 2018

Focal Scripture Passage: John 4:1-42

AIM: To lead students to recognize that Jesus went out of His way and into a situation most Jews would avoid in order to reach people with the Gospel, and to commit themselves to doing the same to reach those who need to know Jesus Christ as Savior.

 

Before class: Read the notes on John 4:1-42 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Tell the students to think about their friends, co-workers, and other associates. Ask: “Do those people look and dress a lot like you, or is their appearance vastly different from yours?” (they are probably very similar). Tell the class we are naturally more comfortable with those who dress, act, and talk like us.

Ask the students how they would respond to the following people. Would they be more likely to strike up a conversation with them, or to avoid them if possible?

  • Those who are obviously of a different race or nationality.
  • A woman whose dress and behavior indicates she is a prostitute.
  • A person with unnaturally colored, spiked hair and multiple piercings in various parts of his or her body.
  • A Middle Eastern person wearing a robe, headscarf, and long beard.

Ask: “Why do you think we are most comfortable around people who are similar to us?” (we assume they will act and talk like we do). Ask: “Why do you think we avoid people who are different from us?” (we are uncomfortable because we are unsure how they will talk and act).

Tell the students such prejudices are not new. They have existed as long as sin has been in the world. In today’s lesson we will discover that Jesus went out of His way to make contact with some people most other Jews avoided. He did that so those people could be saved.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Remind the students that we are studying the Gospel of John.
    • Ask a volunteer to read John 20:31.
    • Ask: “Why did John write this account of Jesus’ life?” (so his readers would believe that Jesus is the Son of God and have everlasting life by trusting in Him).
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (being born again).
    • Ask if any volunteer would be willing to recite last week’s memory verse (John 3:18).
  2. Jesus Went to Samaria.
    • Read John 4:1-6.
    • Explain that the Pharisees were upset about Jesus’ growing popularity, so Jesus left Judea to return to His home territory of Galilee (locate Judea and Galilee on the map).
    • Using the map, note that the most direct route between Judea and Galilee was to go through the region of Samaria (locate Samaria on the map).
    • Explain that the inhabitants of Samaria were called Samaritans. They were half-breeds whose Jewish ancestors had intermarried with pagans and intermixed their Judaism with false religions.
    • The Jews hated the Samaritans and avoided them at all costs. In fact, when they traveled between Judea and Galilee they usually went the long way around by going east of the Jordan River (locate the Jordan River on the map). They added many miles to their journey just to avoid contact with the Samaritans.
    • Tell the class that Jesus chose instead to travel directly from Judea to Galilee, going through Samaria (v. 4).
    • Jesus rested by Jacob’s well near the city of Sychar (show Sychar on the map).
    • Summarize: Jesus was not constrained by the prejudices most Jews held, so He went to Samaria on His way to Galilee. We should not let prejudice stop us from reaching out.
  3. Jesus Talked with an Immoral Woman.
    • Ask a volunteer to read John 4:7-10.
    • Explain that women usually came out to the well to draw water in large groups. This woman came alone because she was an immoral woman whom the other women didn’t want to associate with. She was an outcast.
    • Ask: “What did Jesus ask the woman?” (to get Him a drink of water from the well).
    • Ask: “Why was the woman surprised by this?” (because Jews avoided contact with Samaritans; also, in that culture men did not speak to women in public).
    • Ask: “What did Jesus offer the woman?” (living water).
    • Note that just as in His conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus cut straight to the heart of the matter – the woman’s spiritual need.
    • Read John 4:11-15.
    • Explain that verse 12 reveals that the Samaritans honored Jacob as a great patriarch. Even though they were half-breeds and idolaters, they proudly traced their ancestry back to Jacob. Similarly, many people today claim some ancestor’s spirituality for their own.
    • Ask: “What did Jesus say to the woman in verses 13-14?” (natural water, such as that from Jacob’s well, can only satisfy for a short time; but Jesus’ living water of salvation satisfies eternally).
    • Ask: “According to verse 15, why did the woman want Jesus’ water?” (so she wouldn’t have to come to the well and face ridicule, or have to work to draw out water).
    • The Samaritan woman still thought Jesus was speaking of literal water.
    • Summarize: Jesus talked with an unacceptable person: an immoral Samaritan woman who needed salvation. We should not let a person’s unacceptable status stop us from witnessing to them.
  4. Jesus Revealed His Identity to the Woman.
    • Ask a volunteer to read John 4:16-18.
    • Ask: “What did Jesus tell the woman in verse 16?” (go get your husband).
    • The woman said she did not have a husband.
    • Ask: “What did Jesus tell the woman about herself in verses 17-18?” (she had previously had five different husbands and she was currently living with a man out of wedlock; NOTE: Even though it is acceptable in our modern culture, the Bible does not condone nor does God bless couples living together outside of marriage).
    • Read John 4:19-24.
    • Ask: “What did the woman say about Jesus in verse 19?” (she thought He was a prophet; NOTE: Jesus was not a prophet; He was God in human flesh).
    • Tell the class that rather that focusing on her immoral lifestyle and spiritual need, the woman immediately asked Jesus her favorite “religious” question: where is the proper place for worship? She asked about the proper location for worship, but Jesus told her one must have the proper attitude to worship God.
    • Ask a volunteer to read John 4:25-27.
    • Ask: “What did the woman say in verse 25?” (she knew the Messiah was coming and He would have the kind of supernatural knowledge Jesus demonstrated).
    • Ask: “How did Jesus answer this sinful Samaritan woman?” (He clearly told her that He was the Messiah).
    • Ask: “What did the disciples think when they returned from town?” (they were surprised Jesus was speaking with this immoral Samaritan woman).
    • Summarize: Jesus told the Samaritan woman that He was the Christ and He offered her salvation. We should tell people about Jesus and how they can have eternal life.
  5. How the Samaritans Responded to Jesus.
    • Ask a volunteer to read John 4:28-30.
    • Tell the class the woman went back into town to tell everyone she had met the Christ. (NOTE: When people meet Jesus they generally tell others. Are we telling others about our Savior?) The townspeople went out to see Jesus.
    • Read John 4:31-34.
    • Tell the students that Jesus’ disciples wanted Him to ignore the Samaritans and eat. He replied that His “meat” was to do the Father’s will.
    • Ask a volunteer to read John 4:35-38.
    • Tell the class when four months remained until harvest time, the fields would be a lush green color. The Samaritan townspeople were coming out to see Jesus, so the disciples could see their light-colored robes contrasting against the green of the fields. Jesus told His disciples to lift up their eyes and look around them, because the spiritual harvest of souls was ready. Jesus knew many Samaritans would be saved that day.
    • Read John 4:39-42.
    • Ask: “What does verse 39 say about the Samaritans?” (many of them believed in Jesus because of the testimony of the woman).
    • Tell the students the Samaritans asked Jesus to stay with them. Jesus remained two days.
    • Ask: “What does verse 41 say about the Samaritans?” (many more believed in Jesus because of the words He spoke).
    • Ask: “What did they believe about Jesus?” (He was the Christ, the Savior of the world).
    • Summarize: The Samaritans, considered by the Jews to be outcasts and undesirables, believed that Jesus was in fact the Christ, the Savior of the world. We should tell everyone we can about Jesus, even those people who are not like us.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Tell the students that Jesus went out of His way and into a situation most Jews would avoid in order to reach people with the Gospel. He went through Samaria, He spoke publicly with an immoral woman, and He spent two days among the hated Samaritans. The result of His actions is that many Samaritans were saved.

Remind the students that most of us prefer to associate with people who look and talk and act like we do. Unfortunately, this tendency also spills over into our outreach and evangelism efforts. Many Christians only reach out to others like themselves, avoiding the very sinners who need the Gospel.

Ask: “Are you willing to go out of your way and out of your ‘comfort zone’ to try to reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ?”

Tell the class that CONNECT, our church-wide outreach and ministry activity, meets this afternoon. It is much easier to stay home in our easy chair than to go out on visitation on a hot Sunday afternoon. Ask: “Are you willing to go out of your way to tell people about Jesus, or would you rather be comfortable?” If we want to follow Jesus’ example we will sacrifice our comfort to tell others about Him.

Ask: “Are you willing to reach out to people with whom you might not normally associate to try to reach them for Jesus?” If we want to follow Jesus’ example, we will take the Gospel to anyone, regardless of race, appearance, nationality, or behavior.

Tell the students if they want to follow Jesus’ example in this area they should make a commitment to the Lord. Ask them to bow their head and make that personal commitment right now. Voice a closing prayer.

 

CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize John 4:24. Urge them to go out of their way to tell someone about Jesus this week.

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