The Woman at the Well: Part Two of A Bible Study


John 4:1-42


Look at the progression of the following remarks. What do they tell you about the encounter with Jesus? What do they tell you about assumptions? What do they tell you about the way the woman viewed the world, about the way you might view the world? What do they tell you about the development of faith and belief?
The Woman's response to Jesus in words
"How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?"
" 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?"
"Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water."
"I have no husband."
"Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem."
"I know that Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us."
and, lastly, to her neighbours, in response to her conversation with Jesus: "Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?"

The Woman's physical response to Jesus
Upon the return of the disciples, the woman left her water jar at the well with Jesus and went back to the village and witnesses to them of what she has seen and heard and felt.
What does the leaving of the jar behind tell you about women and women's ways? Can you think of some examples from your own life that remind you of this incident? Why did she leave the jar? What does the outcome of this encounter with Jesus tell you about discipleship?
First she sees Jesus (through many assumptions about herself and the world), then she really sees Jesus - as Messiah (and for himself), then she goes and tells others about him (and invites response). This is "witnessing" to Jesus.
What happens after she witnesses? The people go to see him - establish their own relationship - and believe for themselves. Is not this the way things work, the way they are supposed to work, when we ourselves witness to Jesus?

I can imagine that this story was told to others by the woman herself in later years and thus came to be included in the Gospel. This woman was a disciple of Christ. No doubt about it. One has to wonder what influence this woman had on later events in Samaria. See Acts 8:5-25. Did her testimony help prepare the ground that yielded the abundant harvest that Philip and Peter and John discovered? What does this woman's role say to you about Jesus' thoughts on women in ministry? What does it mean to worship in spirit and in truth?


  • Have you ever witnessed to Jesus? When and where and how?
  • Do you think you have to know everything before you can get started?
  • Has anyone ever witnessed to you?
  • Why do we squirm when the Jehovah's Witnessess and the Mormons knock on our door?
  • What is it that God wants us to do?
  • Is there anyone you consider to be a "Samaritan" - incapable of understanding spiritual truths? What are you going to do about it?

Suggested Hymns For Contemplation and Prayer

"Ye Servants of God," "Go Tell It on the Mountain," "Be Thou My Vision, "Take My Life And Let It Be"

Suggested Psalms For Contemplation and Prayer

# 42, 63, 65, 78

See also
Woman At The Well: Part I
Woman of Samaria
Dramatic Gospel Presentation and Liturgy for Lent 3 - Year A

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