Jesus Met a Samaritan Woman
After Jesus resisted temptation in the wilderness, He began His earthly ministry. As Jesus traveled throughout Judea, His personal encounters with ordinary people changed their lives in extraordinary ways. Jesus revealed that He was God the Son in human form, living among God’s people and bringing salvation to the world. Unit 21 of The Gospel Project for Kids examines five interactions Jesus had with others: Nicodemus, John the Baptist, a Samaritan woman, the Jews of Nazareth, and Zacchaeus.
In session 3, kids will hear the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman. When you teach the Bible story to kids, present the context to help kids see the bigger picture.
- At the time Jesus was on earth, the social food chain went like this: Jews don’t talk to Samaritans. The strife between the two groups stretched back hundreds of years, to the Babylonian exile.
- When the Babylonians attacked Judah, they moved a large group of God’s people away from their homes. But some of the people—the poorest, sickest, least able to work—were left behind in the region that became known as Samaria. The exile lasted 70 years. During that time, those left in Samaria began to mingle with their neighbors to the north. They intermarried and practiced foreign customs. While the Samaritans still believed in God, they adapted their beliefs.
- The Jews who returned home from Babylon to rebuild God’s temple in Jerusalem rejected this new way of life. They were dedicated to obeying and worshiping God, so they didn’t agree with the Samaritans’ practices. The Samaritans opposed the Jews’ efforts to reestablish their nation. In time, the Jews’ hate for the Samaritans grew—so much so that a Jew traveling from Judea to Galilee would take a longer route to travel around Samaria rather than through it.
- Jesus broke down barriers when He traveled to Galilee by way of Samaria. Even more surprising, Jesus stopped at a well around noon and asked a Samaritan woman for a drink. Jewish men did not speak to women in public.
- But Jesus was kind to her, and He offered her a gift: living water. Jesus wasn’t talking about water that she could physically drink; Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit who would satisfy her spiritual thirst. Jesus gives the Holy Spirit to those who come to Him by faith. The woman didn’t understand, but Jesus revealed His knowledge of her past. He even gave her a glimpse of the future. The Samaritan woman expected a Messiah to come and fix everything. Jesus said, “I am He.”
- Be sure to explain to kids that the living water Jesus offers is the Holy Spirit. (See John 7:37-39.) The Holy Spirit is a gift that God is eager to give us when we ask Him. Those who receive His grace will never be thirsty again.
- The woman left the well and told the people in her town what had happened. Many people believed in Jesus because of what the woman said. Jesus stayed in the town for two days, and many more people believed in Him. The people said, “We have heard for ourselves and know that this really is the Savior of the world.”
- Testimony is a powerful tool. Have you shared your testimony with kids? Consider sharing your own or inviting a guest to share his or her testimony with kids in an age-appropriate way. Explain the before, during, and after: what your life was like before you trusted in Jesus, how you came to faith, and how God is changing you to be more like Him.
Take time to pray for the kids you teach. God created each child in His image. He knows and loves them, and He wants them to know and love Him too. Pray that God will open their hearts to the truth of the gospel, draw the kids to Himself, and pour out the life-giving gift of the Holy Spirit.
How do your physical needs remind you of your spiritual needs? What needs do your kids have? How will you point them to Jesus? Leave a comment below.
Alyssa Jones has been a content editor for The Gospel Project for Kids since 2011. She lives with her husband, Nate, and their two kids in Nashville, TN. Alyssa volunteers with the kids’ ministry at Refuge Church, a church plant in Franklin, TN.