The Samaritan Woman at the Well

Lesson Set

Workshops to be used:

  • Games - Putting together puzzles without having complete information
  • Computer: Mouse Pad - Life of Christ & KidPix
  • Science - The importance of water
  • Art:  Class project of large diorama

Scripture Reference:

John 4:1-30, 39-42

Memory Verse:  John 4:25-26: "The woman said to him, 'I know that Messiah is coming (who is called Christ). When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.' Jesus said to her, 'I am he, the one who is speaking to you.'” (NRSV)

Concepts:
The Spirit of God is not contained in boundaries. Sinners are not left out of God’s love and concern. Jesus reveals his identity—as Messiah ushering in the kingdom of God—to someone on the margins of society. The movement outward from the Jewish community to the world is begun early in Jesus’ ministry.




Games Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:

In this workshop, the learners will attempt to assemble a puzzle without looking at the picture or at the front of the pieces themselves. Then they will attempt to assemble it by looking at only the front of the pieces. Finally, they will attempt to assemble it by having all the information in the form of the picture the puzzle should take. They will compare this to the Samaritan woman’s revelation that Jesus was the Messiah after receiving more and more information about him during their conversation.


Supplies List:

  • Several jigsaw puzzles removed from the boxes (note: it is important that the children not see the picture of the puzzle they will work); the puzzle boxes
  • The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories
  • a timer or watch to time the contest
  • pencils


Teacher preparation:

  • Read the Bible passages.
  • Read over the background material included with your teacher packet.
  • Study the lesson plan to become familiar with the procedure.
  • Gather the materials.


Presentation


Opening - Welcome and introductions:

Greet the children and introduce yourself.

Open with a prayer.

Dig - Main Content and Reflection:

  1. Divide the group into at least two teams (if there are enough students; if not, let the entire class work as a group.) Give each team a jigsaw puzzle. Turn the pieces face down and see which team can assemble the most pieces within a given time limit. (1 or 2 minutes is enough for older children. Younger children may need more time.) At the end of the time limit talk about the difficulty of doing this without 1) seeing the pieces, and 2) knowing what the picture is like.
  2. Let the groups turn their pieces face up and try again. Set another time limit. At the end of the time discuss the difficulty of this again—was it easier with more information?
  3. Finally, let them see the puzzle box, so they know what their pictures look like. Set a final time limit, and ask them to assemble as much of the puzzle as they can this time.
  4. After announcing a winner, discuss how difficult it is to do some things with just a little bit of information. But after you collect enough facts, the answer/solution seems very clear. As we study today’s story of the woman at the well, observe how she collects bits of information about Jesus and eventually sees who he really is.
  5. To set the stage for the story, explain to the children that the Jews of that day did not talk to Samaritans and men did not usually speak to women in public unless they were related or unless they were accompanied by members of their families. It was also unusual for a woman to go to the well by herself and in the middle of the day because of the heat.
  6. Hand out the Bibles and have them find the story. Read the story, pausing and discussing each bit of information that the woman discovers about Jesus. Jesus does not condemn the woman because of her life. She then becomes the first one to tell the Samaritans about Jesus and the new life she has found in Christ. Read the memory verse together. Ask the children what they think this verse shows about the woman’s discovery.
  7. Use the following questions for discussion until you run out of time:
    • The Samaritans were descendants of Jews who had intermarried with foreign nations centuries before, and conflict between the Jews and the Samaritans is mentioned in a number of places throughout the Bible. Jesus could have bypassed Samaria, as many other Jews would have. Why do you think he didn’t? Accept any answer but point out that this single visit would have long-lasting impact, both on this community where he stayed, and on his disciples.
    • What excuses might Jesus have used to keep from talking to this woman? Accept any answer but some that might be included are: Men did not talk to women; he knew the woman had a bad reputation; it was hot and he was tired; his disciples would not understand; etc.
    • Who might be people that we look down on today or are outcast in our society that would be like the Samaritan woman? Accept any answer. Some might include certain ethnic groups, visibly disabled people, and old people.
    • Jesus did not make excuses as he began talking with the woman. What can we learn from the way he started talking? Accept any answers. Some might include: It is easier to talk to people if we have something in common. Jesus was thirsty and asked for a drink then told her he could quench her spiritual thirst.
    • How would you feel if someone started telling you about personal things in your life that you thought were well hidden? Would it make a difference whether or not you thought the person was accusing you of something?
    • We have seen that the woman discovered things about Jesus little by little. Did she leave it up to others to discover who Jesus was in the same way? What can we learn from her response? She was quick to share the truth she had discovered.
    • Our theme for this year is “Quest for Identity”. How do you think the woman identified herself before she met Jesus? As a Samaritan woman who was not well thought of. How did she identify herself after she met Jesus? As a follower of Jesus.


Closing:

Say: “Like the woman at the well, all people are thirsty. What are some things you could say in the following situations to help get the person thinking about Jesus?

  • A friend has had a loved one die. What would he or she be thirsty for? What could you say to that person?
  • A new kid in school seems really lonely. What would he or she be thirsty for? What could you say to that person?
  • A person who thinks he or she is the best at a certain task (like a sport)? What would he or she be thirsty for? What could you say to that person?
  • A person who thinks he or she can do nothing right? What would he or she be thirsty for? What could you say to that person?


Closing prayer:
Close with the following prayer, or use one of your own:
God, help us to be able to share the news with others that you can make a difference in their lives. Help us always to show others your love. Amen

Journal Time:
Help the shepherd pass out the journals. Ask the children to write about one of the situations in the closure above and tell what they might do or say.

Dismissal:
Have the children help you tidy up the workshop space. Dismiss them with instructions about where they are to go. If you complete the lesson with quite a bit of time left, you may allow the children to visit the Ewing McGee Children’s Library, being quiet so as not to disturb classes still in session.


References:
“The Whole People of God” Biblical Background for March 7, 1999, pages 23-26.
Campbell, Stan; Griffin, Evan; Duckworth, John; Thompson, Rick; and Townsend, John. QuickStudies: Ready-To –Use Bibles Studies for Youth Groups, Luke and John. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook Publishing Co., 1992. p. 116-118.




Computer Workshop


Summary of Lesson Activities:

In this workshop, the learners will listen to the story using the “Life of Christ” computer program. They will then use KidPix to compose articles about the story suitable for a newspaper, or compose a diary entry for the Samaritan woman.


Supplies List:

  • The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories;
  • NRSV Bible;
  • the Life of Christ computer program, loaded on each computer, the Life of Christ cd in each CD-ROM drive;
  • KidPix3 program loaded on each computer;
  • paper for the printers;
  • blank newsprint to use for the newspaper;
  • tape or glue;
  • markers;
  • pencils.


Teacher preparation:

  • Read the Bible passages.
  • The story will be heard from the Life of Christ program in this workshop.
  • Have the Bibles available for reference during the writing activity if needed.
  • Read over the background material included in your teacher packet as you review the lesson plan. Be sure the computers are booted up prior to class and the printers are turned on. Also, make sure the earphones are attached and the volume controls are set at appropriate levels.


Presentation


Opening - Welcome and introductions:

Greet the children and introduce yourself. Remember that you are interacting with a different group of students each week—some may not know you. Wear your nametag and make sure that the children are wearing theirs.

Open with a prayer.

Dig - Main Content and Reflection:


1. Begin in the blue room. Depending on the age of the children in the current class, you might want to preview the story for today by giving them some background information about the rift between the Jews and the Samaritans. For this, feel free to use the first two paragraphs in the Biblical Background you received with your lesson plan. (The Beginner class probably won’t need this much background. The Junior class will appreciate the extra information. You might play it by ear with the Primary class.)

2. Tell the children that today they will hear a version of the story told via the computer program, Life of Christ. Following that exercise, they will use the word processing program KidPix to either

  • write stories that would be suitable for a newspaper, or
  • write a diary entry of the Samaritan woman (this option is available to the Beginner class.)


3. Move into the computer room. Assign class members to computers. If there are more than four class members, assign or let them choose partners. If partners are used, they can either listen to the story together (at a relatively low volume) or take turns listening to the story separately with the earphones. Even if they listen separately, they can do the quiz at the end together. The instructions for using the program are placed at each computer station. Tell them to get started with the Life of Christ portion of the lesson, and to stop to wait for further instructions when they are finished with that part.


4. When each person or group is finished with this part, have them turn to you and talk about the story. Encourage a brief, open discussion about the story and the following questions:

  • Does anything about this story surprise you? What?
  • Why would the disciples or the woman be surprised that Jesus would talk to her?
  • How might today’s story happen in today’s world? Who might be like the Samaritan woman? Like Jesus? Where might they meet and what might they say to each other?
  • As asked at the end of the story, do you sometimes reject people who are loved by God? What might be a better way of interacting with people who are rejected by others?
  • What do you think Jesus meant by “living water?” How can you be living water to others and how might that affect them?


5. For Primary and Junior classes: (for Beginner instructions, go to step 7)
Tell the class that they are going to write some articles or do some illustrations about the story that would be seen in a newspaper. They will print them and place them on newsprint as though it was a newspaper. In order to get a variety of articles, let each station choose a topic from the following list (let only one station do each type of article/illustration):

  • A biography of the Samaritan woman;
  • Facts of the event;
  • A picture of the event, a caption or captions;
  • A comic strip of the event;
  • An editorial piece telling of the effects the event had on the Samaritans and the Jews.


6. Turn the class back to the computers and let them enter the KidPix program. They are to do their article or illustration using this program. When complete, tell them to print their article. Take the articles to the blue room and, as a class, arrange them on the newsprint to look like a newspaper, The Samaritan Times. Have someone use a marker to make a title for the newspaper at the top. (Skip to the Closure to finish the class.)


7. For the Beginner class:
Tell the class that they are going to write a diary entry from the Samaritan woman’s diary that describes her meeting with Jesus at the well. Tell them to imagine they were that woman and had the conversation with Jesus that she had. Let them turn back to the computers and enter the KidPix program. Assist them in writing this diary entry using the text tool and let them illustrate the entry as they desire. (You can type what they dictate if they cannot type well.) When complete, have them print their entry to take home.

Closing:

Let each member of the class read or review their article, illustration, or diary entry. If the class did the newspaper, appoint someone to take the paper upstairs and put it on the table in the narthex for the rest of the congregation to see.

Closing prayer:
Close with the following prayer, or use one of your own:
Loving God, you are the living water for which we thirst. Thank you for the life you offer to us in Jesus that put us forever in your presence. Amen.

Journal Time:
Help the shepherd pass out the journals. Ask the children to answer the following question:
Who or what is living water for you?

Dismissal:
Have the children help you tidy up the workshop space. Dismiss them with instructions about where they are to go. If you complete the lesson with quite a bit of time left, you may allow the children to visit the Ewing McGee Children’s Library, being quiet so as not to disturb classes still in session.


References:

  • “The Whole People of God” Biblical Background for March 7, 1999; “Lenten Conversations...about Thirsting,” March 7, 1999.

 


Instructions for hearing the story of the Samaritan woman at the well in Life of Christ

  1. Double-click on the icon for Life of Christ.
  2. After the introduction, click on “New Exploration.” Enter your name and click “Start Exploration.”
  3. Click on the crate that says “King’s Oranges.” This brings up a Lesson Index.
  4. Click on Lessons 11-15—“Introducing the Son of God!”
  5. Click on lesson 14. Listen to the story. Pay special attention to the first screen—it is our memory verse for this month. When the story completes, think about the questions posed at the end of the story.
  6. Take the quiz (click Yes). You have to click on the circle corresponding to your choice of answer; you’ll get an immediate response of right or wrong. If you are wrong, it shows you the correct answer. Click on the forward arrow in the bottom right corner to go to the next question. After the 6 questions, you may either listen to the lesson again and try to get 5 or more correct answers, or you may exit.
  7. To exit, click on “Return to Lesson Index”, then on “Back” twice.
  8. Move the mouse to the lower left corner of the screen and click “Exit.” Then click “Quit.”


Instructions for KidPix:

  1. Double click on the KidPix icon. Use the text tool to write and any of the illustration tools to draw.
  2. Print using the printer icon, and exit using the door icon.



Science Workshop


Summary of Lesson Activities:

In this workshop, the learners will discover how water is used in stories in the Bible, what real thirst might feel like, and what some of the non-physical things are for which people thirst.


Supplies List:

  • The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories;
  • cd or tape of water sounds;
  • cd or tape player,
  • pitcher of water,
  • bowl,
  • cups,
  • crackers,
  • Bible reference books,
  • Bibles,
  • note cards,
  • pens,
  • pencils.


Teacher preparation:

  • Read the Bible passages.
  • The story will be read from The Children’s Bible this month.
  • Read over the background material included in your teacher packet as you review the lesson plan. Because it is essential to life, water has always been an important symbol. In Christianity, water is most often used as a symbol of baptism. We use water in baptism to mark us as children of God.


Presentation


Opening - Welcome and introductions:

Greet the children and introduce yourself. Remember that you are interacting with a different group of students each week—some may not know you. Wear your nametag and make sure that the children are wearing theirs.

Open with a prayer.

Dig - Main Content and Reflection:

1. Read the story from The Children’s Bible, page 325 (story # 285.) Find the story in a NRSV Bible and read the memory verse to the children. Let them repeat it after you, phrase by phrase.

2. Discuss the gift of water. (Begin playing cd or tape of water sounds). Discuss how important water is to life. We couldn’t live long without it. In fact, life couldn’t exist at all without water. Every living thing is made up mostly of water, from the tiniest animal or plant you can only see through a microscope, to the largest animals and plants like whales and trees. Over half of your body is made up of water!

3. As you listen to the water cd, ask about and discuss the different water sounds.

4. Check the Bible for references to water: Ask each student to get a Bible. Show them the concordance in the Bible, or provide reference books for them to use. Ask them to look all the ways water is mentioned in the Bible. Tell them to choose one of them and go to the place where water is used. Write the Bible verse and reference on an index card. When everyone is done, ask each student to share what they found.
Examples:

  • Genesis 1:2: “ . . . the spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”
  • Genesis 1:6: “ . . . ‘Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.”
  • Proverbs 25:21: “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.”
  • Exodus 17:3: “But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, ‘Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?’” (Continues on about water from a rock.)
  • Matthew 3:11: “I baptize you with water for repentance.”
  • Revelation 22:17: “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”


5. It’s no wonder that water is mentioned in the Bible a lot. In fact, it’s mentioned in the first chapter and in the last chapter of the Bible. God is said to be like water, because God is in us and around us and gives us life and sustains our life. Collect all the note cards and post them on the wall in the room.

6. Thirst visualization activity: Let’s try to understand the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman about “living water.” Have children stand up and stretch, then spread out and sit down. Read the following slowly, pausing between phrases and sentences.

  • Sit back and close your eyes.
  • Imagine that you are in the desert. Feel the hot sun beating down on you.
  • You search desperately for a tree, anything, to shade you from the cruel heat.
  • There is nothing but sand. You’ve been walking for many hours.
  • You have some food. (Hand out a couple of crackers to each person to eat.) Pause to let everyone eat their crackers.
  • But you have nothing to drink.
  • The sun seems to be getting hotter. The sand is getting into your shoes and your clothes and worst of all, your mouth.
  • You think of cold streams of clear, fresh water, of raindrops falling gently.
  • What would make you feel good right now? (Let them answer, still with eyes closed.)
  • Bring the water out and pour it into the cups while they keep their eyes closed.
  • Ask: Anyone for some water? Then open your eyes and have a drink. (Hand the water cups around.)


7. Questions and discussion:

  • How did it feel to drink after only imagining to be thirsty?
  • What do you think it would feel like to be so thirsty?
  • How can you be thirsty in a different way that isn’t physical? (For example, thirsty for friendship when you’re a lonely person)
  • Jesus knew people thirsted for non-physical things. What do you think Jesus meant by “living water?”
  • How could someone being a friend be like “living” water to a lonely person?
  • What sorts of things did the Samaritan woman thirst for?
  • How was Jesus “living” water for her?
  • Where in your life do you see people who are in need of this kind of living water?
  • What do you think Jesus would do?
  • How can you be living water for others?
  • How can others be living water for you?

 

Closing:

To remind us of God’s living water and this little talk we have had today, let’s place this bowl of water right here. Place the bowl in the middle of the table and pour some water from the pitcher into it. Invite the group to put their fingers into the water and make the sign of the cross on each other’s foreheads. Then close with the following prayer:
Living water you’ve promised us, God, and you give it to us each time we learn more about Jesus, and each time we act like Jesus toward others. Thank you for filling us with your love. Amen.

Journal Time:
Help the shepherd pass out the journals. Ask the children to answer the following question:
How can you be living water for others?

Dismissal:
Have the children help you tidy up the workshop space. Dismiss them with instructions about where they are to go. If you complete the lesson with quite a bit of time left, you may allow the children to visit the Ewing McGee Children’s Library, being quiet so as not to disturb classes still in session.


References:

  • Stoner, Marcia Joslin. Symbols of Faith. Abingdon Press, Nashville, TN. C. 2001.
  • “The Whole People of God” Biblical Background for March 7, 1999; “Lenten Conversations...about Thirsting,” March 7, 1999.



Art Workshop


Summary of Lesson Activities:

In this workshop, the learners will put together a diorama of the scene of the story as a class project.


Supplies:

  • Pictures of paintings of the woman at the well;
  • material for clothing;
  • pins;
  • markers, crayons;
  • construction paper;
  • a large box for each class;
  • scissors,
  • fabric glue,
  • pencils;
  • small dolls or Barbie-size dolls;
  • sand;
  • The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories.


Teacher preparation:

  • Read the Bible passages.
  • Read over the background material included with your teacher packet.
  • Study the lesson plan to become familiar with the procedure.


Presentation


Opening - Welcome and introductions:

Greet the children and introduce yourself. Remember that you are interacting with a different group of students each week—some may not know you. Wear your nametag and make sure that the children are wearing theirs.

Open with a prayer.

Dig - Main Content and Reflection:


1. Talk about some facts about the story for today:

  • The woman we will read about in the story was a Samaritan. The Samaritans were people born out of intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews when the Jews were captured by the Assyrians. The Samaritans worshiped the same God the Jewish people did, but when Jews returned to Judea following the exile, they would not let the Samaritans help build the temple; so they built their own. Thus began a controversy between the Samaritans and the Jews over the correct place to worship God.
  • Men did not talk to women in public unless they were family.
  • One more odd thing happens in the story. This woman was drawing water at the hottest time of the day. Usually women went to the well when the sun was not so hot. There they spent time visiting with other women who were there. As we read the story think about what you learn about the woman and what she learns about Jesus.


2. Have the children read the story on page 325 of the Children’s Bible.

3. Tell them we will discuss the story as they work on their class project for today, as they will need time to work.

4. Show the children the way different artists portrayed the woman at the well scene. Look at what all the pictures have in common: a woman, Jesus, and a well. Other things about the pictures are different. Point out, or let the children point out, some of the differences.

5. Their job as a class (or if the class is large divide it in to smaller groups) is to design and build a diorama depicting this scene. Explain that they will need to:

  • make a background for their box and any other visual interest they would like . . . a well, trees, sand, etc.
  • dress the characters and place them in the box. They will choose material for clothes and pin or glue them on the dolls.
  • give their diorama a title. Someone can write the title on the box with a marker when it is completed.


6. Give them a few minutes to plan their diorama and decide who will do what.

7. As they work, talk about what we learned about the woman:

  • The evidently wanted to avoid other women; she was a Samaritan and was surprised Jesus would talk to her, etc.
  • What did Jesus ask of the woman? For water.
  • Did he really want water or to talk to the woman? He wanted to tell her about God.
  • How did the woman feel when she left the well? She felt like a better person. Jesus did not see her like other people. He actually talked to her. She wanted to tell others about Jesus.
  • Was she the type of woman people would have expected the Messiah to talk to? What does this show us about for whom God’s “living water” is meant? It is meant for everyone.
  • How can we be “living water” to others? Accepting them for who they are, being friends with them even if they are not the popular kid in school or the neighborhood, including them, etc.


Closing:

Have the students show their diorama. Read the memory verse together and tell what this and the story mean to them.

Closing prayer:
Close with the following prayer, or use one of your own:
God, thank you for giving us Jesus to teach us how to live as Christians and how to treat other people. Help me always to remember that your love for me is no greater than your love for anyone else on earth. Amen.

Journal Time:
Help the shepherd pass out the journals. Ask the children to finish the following statement: This story shows me that . . .

Dismissal:
Have the children help you tidy up the workshop space. Dismiss them with instructions about where they are to go. If you complete the lesson with quite a bit of time left, you may allow the children to visit the Ewing McGee Children’s Library, being quiet so as not to disturb classes still in session.


References:

  • “The Whole People of God” Biblical Background for March 7, 1999, pages 23-26.



A lesson set from Brenthaven Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Brentwood, TN. USA

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