Sunday School Material 4-22-12: Samaritan Woman Finds Living Water
(John 4:7-15, 21-30; 4/22/12)
Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is Jesus talks with a Samaritan woman about living water and godly worship. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to accept the living water and engage in godly worship.
Read John 4:7-15
I. Conversation Begins. Jesus meets a woman at a well in Samaria. The Standard Lesson Commentary does a good job of explaining the racial and gender issues involved in a Jewish man, Jesus, talking with a Samaritan woman. Jesus starts a conversation that leads to His telling her about the living water.
- God’s will over race and gender tensions. Notice in vs. 7 of our Sunday School material that Jesus presses past race and gender issues for the sake of carrying out His Father’s will. For a Jew to talk to a Samaritan, in Jesus’ day, was an area of racial tension. For Jesus to talk to a woman, in Jesus’ day, was an area of gender tension.
Jesus looks past both issues and pursues His divine assignment. Let’s work on putting God’s will for our lives over the significance of race or gender.
God is bigger than any racial or gender tension we have with others. To be clear, we should be witnesses, loving, and whatever else God is calling us to be to people regardless of their race or gender.
- Living water. Notice in vs. 10-15 of our Sunday School material the idea of living water. Whatever else this figurative language means, it also includes how Jesus is that which satisfies our inner person as well as or better than physical water satisfies our physical bodies.
The thirst of our inner person will never be satisfied with the things of this world – money, relationships, accomplishment, etc. Let’s behave like we believe that Jesus is living water. Such behavior should include being satisfied with Jesus. It should include telling others about the satisfaction found only in Jesus.
Read John 4:21-26
II. Conversation Climaxes. The conversation focuses on worship. God wants His people to worship Him in spirit and truth. Jesus declares that He is the Messiah and the commentator explains Jesus’ strong implication that He is God.
- The omnipresence of God. Notice in vss. 21 of our Sunday School material that God is not as stuck on place and land as many of His people are. The Pastor’s recent trip to Israel, the “Holy Land,” inspired his thinking about how God is so much bigger than any place on the globe.
Wherever God is, it is a holy place. Therefore, we don’t have to go back to Israel (i.e., Zionism) nor Africa (i.e., Pan-Africanism) in order to experience or please God. The omnipresence of God suggests that we can experience Him and please Him right where are, even if we are in a place of oppression (see Jer. 29:7).
Let’s work on focusing on God more than place and land. God is bigger than our sanctuaries, home churches, and traditions.
- Godly worship. Notice in vss. 22-24 of our Sunday School material that people can worship in ignorance, but God wants His people to worship in spirit and truth.
As for worshipping in ignorance, just like one can go to a sports event and cheer for one’s favorite team and feel better after the game but yet not engage in godly worship, one can come to church and celebrate one’s image of God and even feel better, after the worship service, without engaging in godly worship.
It is not godly worship if the words don’t make sense (i.e., truth), nor is it godly worship, if it doesn’t come from the spirit or heart of the person (i.e., spirit). A great measure of how spiritual or heartfelt the worship is, is to see how the worshipper lives after the worship service. Singing about love and loving are two different issues.
When we worship in spirit (i.e., genuine heartfelt worship) then it should move us to work on being loving. Let’s work on worshipping God in spirit and truth.
- Jesus’ Messiah-ship. Notice in vss. 25-26 of our Sunday School material that Jesus indicates that He is the Messiah. The Messiah is essentially a King or leader who will restore God’s people to living in a state of prosperity.
As Christians, we believe that Jesus’ ministry during the first century was of a spiritual nature. But we also believe that when He comes back again, the millennium kingdom, that He will rule on the Earth physically.
Let’s live like Jesus is our Messiah/King. Such living should include obedience to His will, which centers around loving God and others, as we love ourselves.
Read John 4:27-30
III. Conversation Aftermath. Jesus’ disciples returned. They were puzzled about Jesus talking with the Samaritan woman but did not ask any questions. The woman left her pots and went and told her town’s people about Jesus.
- Telling and holding. Notice in vss. 27-29 of our Sunday School material that the woman went and told her town’s people about Jesus, while Jesus’ disciples withheld questions about why was He talking to a Samaritan woman.
In other words, there are some things that we need to talk about and some things we need to hold on to. Let’s seek the wisdom to tell people about Jesus and hold on to those things that need to be held on to. I Corinthians 6:12 talks about how all things are not expedient or beneficial.
Conclusion: Based on our Sunday School material, let’s work on accepting the living water and engage in godly worship. God has much for those who obey His will.
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