The Woman at the Well (John 4:5-42)
A great illustration from Visio Lectio for this passage, from Rev. Sarah West, from the Auckland Diocese
Download w/ background
Water Pouring Story
Give each child a cup and pour some into 1, 2 or 3 cups, evenly spaced out - all sit in a circle. Read the story, they must listen and everytime you mention Jesus, they have to pour the water into the cup to their left. When you say Woman, they must pour their water to the right.
Jesus and his disciples had been walking for days in the hot sun. They were on their way to Galilee. Jesus and his disciples were hot, tired, and very thirsty. Finally Jesus and his disciples came to Jacob's Well just outside the village of Sychar. While Jesus sat down next to the well to rest, his disciples went into the village to buy some food.
Soon a Samaritan woman came to get some water from the well and Jesus asked her for a drink. She was very surprised that Jesushad asked her for a drink. The woman was a Samaritan and Jews did not speak to Samaritans. Most Jews hated Samaritans. They treated the Samaritans as if they were dirty and not as good as themselves. But Jesus had spoken to her.
The Samaritan woman asked Jesus why he had spoken to her? Jesus told her that if she knew who he really was, that she would be asking him for much more important things than water. She didn't understand what Jesus was talking about. He said, “I can give you living water that gives eternal life”
Jesus began to tell the woman things about her that not many people knew. Jesus told her about how she had been married five times. The Samaritan woman asked him if he was a prophet. She had many questions for Jesus and Jesus patiently answered them. Jesus told her that it does not matter where a person worships or what they call themselves, Jew or Samaritan. It only matters how they worship. Jesus told her that her worship must be spiritual and real. Jesus made this woman feel special and important. He didn't put her down for being a Samaritan and not understanding everything. He didn't look down on her for the mistakes she had made in her past.
The woman told him that she knew the Messiah was coming and that when he came he would explain everything. Then Jesus told her, "I am the Messiah." She knew that it must be true. She immediately left to tell everyone back in her village that the Messiah had come and his name was Jesus.
If time, do the story, water pouring again!
Talk about how Jesus spoke to a woman - very unusual, a Samaritan - very unusual. Jesus knew all about her but didn’t judge her. It is the first time in the gospel when he tells people who aren’t Jews that God’s love and forgiveness are for them too. God knows exactly what we are like, stuff maybe no-one else knows but he still loves us. He wants us to let Him be in charge of our lives, let Him be the reason we do things, Him be our guide or inspiration to living a better life, not judging others but trying to love them!
You might want to use the water drop prayers after your talk.
Scenes from the Story
The 'Jesus Without Language' website, found here, has templates to print and instructions for making a "stage" with three scenes from the story of Jesus & the woman at the well.
Children can make one each, or make a giant one and use it to retell the story to your group.
"All you need to make this craft is a pair of scissors, glue, and two pages of the printout. Do not allow your printer to stretch the template. There are 3 pages to the PDF, the third page has the characters in black and white for those saving ink or with groups who love colouring."
We begin the long Lenten gospel readings from John, full of glorious stories (but challenging to tired legs during a Sunday service if we're expected to stand all through them!) Jesus meets the woman at the well this week. Gillian, Jenny and Alec join Michael to talk about not-so-fallen women, the goodness of our Good News, and the contrasts between wells and fences. How might we dig the first and knock down the second?
Cracking Open Sunday's Sermon
Bishop Peter Carrell, from the Diocese of Christchurch, opens up the lectionary readings for this week on his blog. Here is his post for Lent 3 in 2014.
Water Drop Prayers
Print out the water drop template on blue paper, or leave to colour in.
You can use these water drops in many different ways, but perhaps as a prayer activity:
OR float your prayers in a bucket of water
Water Drop Races
Make a "race track" out of wax paper for players to blow drops of water from the well at one end, to Jesus at the other end, using a straw. There are (optional) stand-up Jesus and well props in the attached PDF.
Instructions and video at this link
Water Squirt Association
Have the group stand in a circle, choose someone to be in the middle and give them the water squirter. Start off with a theme, like animal. Give a child in the circle a soft toy, they must say an animal and then pass it on. If after 5 seconds they can’t think of an animal, they get squirted by the person in the middle and then swap places... Change the theme - colour, furniture, piece of clothing etc.
Waterplay for Preschoolers
You will need:
Cups, buckets, play toys, water (optional: waterproof mats or aprons)
Set up some water play stations or buckets for preschoolers to play with. You might like to do this outside, or have some waterproof matting underfoot!
Have some props and things for the children to play with, including a set of cups. Encourage them to play today's story, scooping up a teapot or cups of water, and saying "Please could you get me a cup of water?"
No matter who we are, we can be kind to one another.
Olivia Lane's song, Woman at the well, from the Chosen series.