what do you think?
Which of the following things do you think are necessary to be a witness for Jesus? (Check any that you think apply.)
A person who wants to witness for Jesus should:
have read the entire Bible
have finished high school
be born again
be able to lead a Bible study
go to church regularly
did you know?
The Samaritans were a group of people living to the north of the land of Judea in Jesus’ time. Samaritans believed they were the descendants of the northern tribes of Israel, who had remained in the land after most of their people were taken into captivity to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. Jews believed the Samaritans were descendants of Gentiles who had settled there after the Babylonian conquest. Whatever their origins, Samaritans worshipped the God of Israel but had many customs and traditions different from the Jews. They were viewed by most Jews as being an inferior class of people, and the Jews of Jesus’ time would have nothing to do with Samaritans, just as they would have nothing to do with Gentiles.
INTO THE STORY
“When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, ‘Will you give me a drink?’ . . . The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’ . . .
“Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.’
“ ‘Sir,’ the woman said, ‘you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?’ . . .
“Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’
“The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.’
“He told her, ‘Go, call your husband and come back.’
“‘I have no husband,’ she replied.
“Jesus said to her, ‘You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.’
“‘Sir,’ the woman said, ‘I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.’
“ ‘Woman,’ Jesus replied, ‘believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. . . . God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the spirit and in truth.’
“The woman said, ‘I know that Messiah’ (called Christ) ‘is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.’
“Then Jesus declared, ‘I, the one speaking to you—I am he.’ . . .
“Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?’ . . .
“Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I ever did.’ So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers. They said to the woman, ‘We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.’”
(John 4:7-42, NIV)
OUT OF THE STORY
Why was the woman initially surprised at Jesus asking for a drink? What did Jesus reveal about Himself by asking this?
What do you think Jesus meant by “living water”?
Why do you think Jesus referred to her having had five husbands?
What really convinced the woman that Jesus was the Messiah?
Why do you think the Samaritans came out to hear Jesus?
What role did the woman’s testimony play in converting the people of her village?
“For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” (Romans 10:12-15, NIV).
“As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, ‘Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.’ So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed” (Mark 5:18-20, NIV).
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15, NIV).
“Every true disciple is born into the kingdom of God as a missionary.”—Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 195.
“Who has the heart? With whom are our thoughts? Of whom do we love to converse? Who has our warmest affections and our best energies? If we are Christ’s, our thoughts are with Him, and our sweetest thoughts are of Him.” —Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 58.
Read John 4:1-42
Put yourself in the woman’s place. How do you think she reacted to Jesus at different points in the story? Why did she excitedly run to the people of her city and exclaim, “Come, see a man”? “This remnant announces the arrival of the judgment hour, proclaims salvation through Christ, and heralds the approach of His second advent” (Fundamental Belief 13, The Remnant and Its Mission) What does the remnant (us) and the Samaritan woman have in common?
Read Luke 5:29-32.
Review the Did You Know? section of the lesson. In Jesus’ day, a Jew who stopped to talk to a Samaritan was really reaching outside his comfort zone, doing something that others wouldn’t understand. The same could be said of the fact that Jesus was speaking to a woman—women were meant to keep silent in public discussion, stay at home, and not discuss things with men other than their husbands and immediate family. Why was Jesus so willing to break those kinds of cultural barriers? What does Luke 5:29-32 tell us about how people reacted to the way Jesus related to others? If Jesus were to live on earth today, what groups of people in your society do you think He would talk to and eat with? How would He use these friendships to witness to them?
Read John 4:28-30.
Notice how the Samaritan woman went straight from her encounter with Jesus to tell others about Him. But she didn’t just tell others; she invited them to come see Jesus for themselves. In our world today we don’t have the opportunity to invite our friends to come meet Jesus in person. Yet we do want to invite them to have a personal encounter of their own with Him. How do we do that?
- Praying with and for them
- Encouraging them to read the Bible
- Inviting them to worship at church or with our youth group
- Inviting them to help in acts of serving others
Read John 15:4, 5; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 5:22, 23
What happens as we experience a personal relationship with Jesus.
Find out, in Jeremiah 20:9, what else happens
As you get to know Jesus more and more every day, you will find an increased desire to witness about Him now instead of some time in the future. You will also be eager to share Jesus with everyone regardless of what they look like or sound like or what you may think of them initially.
Read John 4; John 9.
Compare the story of the Samaritan woman in John 4 to the stories of the blind man in John 9 and the demon-possessed man in Mark 5. We often think “witnessing” for Jesus is something complicated that requires a lot of training and experience. But being a witness simply means telling what you know from firsthand experience—what you’ve seen and heard, and what’s happened to you. Although we cannot see Jesus face to face, as the woman at the well did, we can come to know Him through reading His Word, prayer, and trusting in Him at every moment. Decide today to have a personal experience with Jesus.
Read John 3:16.
Jesus was never afraid to associate with people who didn’t fit in. Even when others questioned or criticized Him, He was willing to talk to anyone. It was through His love, acceptance, and openness that His message was able to be spread to all kinds of people. Read John 3:16 or repeat it from memory. Write down the first six words. Replace the word “world” with three individuals, or groups of people, who are considered “outsiders” in your community, church, or school. How do you relate to those people? How would you relate to them if you followed Jesus’ example? Read again the second part of the sentence in John 3:16:—“Whoever believes in Him shall not perish.” What will happen to those who believe? What is our role in helping people believe? How important is witnessing then?
Read John 4:28, 29.
The woman at the well went back to her village, told people about Jesus, and asked, “Could this be the Messiah?” Even though she didn’t know everything about her new faith in Jesus, she “witnessed” by telling what had happened to her and asking a question to get people curious. Then they came and learned about Jesus for themselves. Following the example of the woman at the well, what could you tell people about your own experience with Jesus?
What question could you ask that would get people interested in checking out Jesus for themselves?