Bible Study, February 2024

Conversations: Jesus and … the woman at the well (John 4:5–42)

Whenever you want to share something with another person, a friendship, a discussion item, information – it begins with a conversation. We don’t get very far without having conversations with others. When God came to earth by becoming a human being in Jesus, his whole life was full of conversations, too. From the cradle where he cooed at Mary and Joseph, to interacting with much older, studied teachers of the law in the temple as a boy, and then calling his disciples and teaching his followers, conversations took place throughout Jesus’ life and ministry. The many conversations between Jesus and people that have been recorded have become a hallmark of how we see Jesus, how we relate to him and find deeper connection to God. Throughout the year, we will explore conversations Jesus had with different people and listen to what our Saviour has to say to us through them.

Conversations with Jesus are life changing. One of Jesus’ longest conversations, documented in the Bible, is with the woman at the well. She was simply doing her daily chore of fetching water.

Imagine Jesus crossing paths with you while you are in the middle of your daily tasks. What would you want to have a conversation with Jesus about?

Read John 4:5–10

Jesus transcends social and cultural boundaries by engaging in conversation with this woman because he is of the Jewish people, whereas she is a Samaritan, and tradition holds that the two don’t associate with one another.

Has tradition ever prescribed for you not to associate with someone? What does Jesus teach us through this story about associating with others? Can you see this put into action by Christians today?

Read John 4:11–15

In your own words, what is this “living water” that Jesus talks about here?

It’s ok if you are finding this a difficult question to answer – the woman at the well found it hard to make sense of too. She thought Jesus was talking about literal water. Maybe this is where many old fables take the “elixir of life” or the “fountain of youth” imagery from. What Jesus was actually talking about was himself, the embodiment of God’s Word. If we drink deeply from Jesus, we will be satisfied.

Read John 4:16–26

One special thing about the conversation between Jesus and the woman at the well is that she is the first person to whom Jesus reveals that he is the Messiah by declaring: I, the one speaking to you – I am he. (NIV)

Share with each other about your own faith journey – have you always known Jesus as the Messiah, or did you come to faith later in life?

Read John 4:27–30

Her first action after her encounter with Jesus is to go and tell others about him. She urges them to “come and see Jesus”. As a result of her urging, many set out to meet him.

How do people come to Jesus today?

Sincere conversations and building genuine relationships can help others “come and see Jesus”.

Have you ever experienced this yourself?

Read John 4:31–38

Reread verse 38. What does this verse say to you?

Jesus is teaching the disciples and us that we cannot take credit for “bringing someone to believe in Jesus”. Many people sow God’s Word into a person’s life until it bears fruit.

Do you find it discouraging that you may never see the fruit of your labour in some cases?

On the other hand, when we happen to be in a person’s life while they connect deeply with God, it can be a life changing blessing for us.

Do you have any story to share about that?

Read John 4:39–42

The woman at the well’s testimony about Jesus made many people come and meet him, and Jesus then took two more days to sit and teach them. Because of this, “many more became believers”. Conversations with Jesus are life changing.

Think of one person you can be intentional about having a conversation with, in the coming days. Pray for the Holy Spirit to help you mention Jesus or your faith.

Let us pray together:

Heavenly Father, just as your son Jesus met the woman at the well, we thank you for meeting us right where we are. Mould our hearts to make them ever ready to receive you. Unveil our eyes so we can really see you as the Messiah and King of our lives. Grant us listening ears to hear your Word, and drink deeply from your Living Water, and help us to listen to those around us and enter in sincere conversations with them. Help us to invite others to “come and see Jesus”. In his name we pray. Amen.

About the Author

Maria Rudolph

After encountering Jesus and getting baptised while I travelled around Australia as a German backpacker, I completed a Bachelor of Theology at Australian Lutheran College in Adelaide and am currently studying towards a Bachelor of Ministry there. Together with my pastor husband Michael, we have lived and served in congregations in Newcastle, NSW and now in Perth, WA while also bringing up three lively children.

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