MEETING AIM: To explore the fact that anyone can be Jesus’ friend, even those who might be outcasts.
BIBLE PASSAGE: John 4:1-42
BACKGROUND: This is a complex passage, with much to explore. In this session, we’ll be focusing on the fact that Jesus makes a difference in the life of someone he would not be expected to interact with, someone who was outside his community and in social terms, beneath him. This does not matter to Jesus. The message of salvation and grace is for all, even the Samaritans, even those whose lives seem beyond his reach.
Welcome the children by name and share out any refreshments you have brought. Ask the children about their week; share in their triumphs and commiserate with them about the things that haven’t gone according to plan. If appropriate, share something of what has been happening with you recently.
You will need: pens and paper Spend some time thinking about the people in your community who might not be accepted by others. Make a list of them and try to think about some of the reasons why. How can we reach out to them and help them?
You will need: pictures of different wells (search online for different photos); boxes (such as shoeboxes); clean bucket; map of Israel at the time of Jesus; cups
Gather the children together and explain that your story takes place next to a well. Ask the children if they have seen a well before and know what it’s for. Show the picture you have brought and chat about how, for many parts of the world, a well would be their main source of clean water.
Show the children your boxes and challenge them to help you build a well with them. Fill the bucket with water (from a tap is fine, as long as it’s drinking water) and put it in the middle of your well.
Look together at the map and say that Jesus had been in Jerusalem, but now he was travelling back to his home in Galilee. Point out these two places on the map.
Explain that, in between Jerusalem and Galilee was a place called Samaria. People from Samaria didn’t like people from Jerusalem, and people from Jerusalem didn’t like people from Samaria. Ask the group if they know any other stories about Samaritans – they may have heard the parable of the good Samaritan. However, this didn’t stop Jesus from travelling through Samaria. Gather around your well and tell the rest of the story:
As Jesus and his disciples were walking from Jerusalem to Galilee, they came to a place called Sychar. The disciples went to a nearby town to get food, but Jesus was tired so he sat down by a well.
A woman came to the well to draw water and Jesus asked her to give him a drink.
Dip the cups into the bucket of water in your well and share them around the children.
The woman was shocked because she was a Samaritan and Jesus had come from Jerusalem. Jesus shouldn’t have been talking to her. She was also shocked because she was a woman and Jesus was a man to whom she wasn’t related. He shouldn’t have been talking to her! What’s more, the woman had lived a bad life and Jesus was a holy teacher. He shouldn’t have been talking to her! Ask the children who might be the equivalent of the woman in your community. Who is ignored by many people? Who is seen as a bad person or not
worth talking to? Refer back to ‘Intro activity’ if you did it.
But Jesus didn’t care. He did talk to her!
He told her that, even though there were many differences between them and many reasons that he shouldn’t be talking to her, she could still be God’s friend. Finally he told her that he was God’s special saviour – the one that everyone was waiting for. She couldn’t believe it!
Then the disciples came back. Ask the children how they disciples might have felt when then found Jesus with a Samaritan woman. But the woman couldn’t wait to tell people she had found God’s special saviour! She ran back to town to tell everyone the news. Jesus stayed with the Samaritans for two days and many people believed in Jesus and became God’s friend.
Use these questions to continue chatting about the Bible story and what it says about God and our relationship with him:
- Why do you think Jesus was happy to talk with the woman?
- What does this tell you about Jesus?
- Have you ever felt too bad to be Jesus’ friend? Why?
- What do you want to do now you’ve heard this story?
You will need: art materials; paper; reflective music and the means to play it (optional)
Show the children the art materials you have provided. Encourage them to create a picture which reflects what they have discovered today. Make sure you have enough time to do this; don’t rush this activity. It’s important to give the children some time to process what God is saying to them. Some children might create beautiful pictures and be able to explain what they mean, others may not. Nevertheless, both responses (and any in between) are valid; the purpose of this activity is not to create a beautiful picture but to give the children time and space to meet with God, listen to him and process what he is saying.
If any of the children would like to, give them space to tell you (and the group if they wish) about what they have drawn.
You will need: cups of water
Give everyone a cup of water. If your well is still up, then ‘draw’ water for everyone to drink. Explain that Jesus called the water he gives to people ‘living water’. This means it refreshes our spirit and keeps our spiritual life healthy. Ask: “Do you need Jesus’ living water?” and allow some time for the children to speak with God quietly. Then ask: “Who do you know who needs to hear about Jesus?” and give the children more time to pray. Finish by drinking your water all together.
For the rest of this month’s sessions go to youthandchildrens.work/together.
Supporting documentsClick link to download and view these files
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