SYNOPSIS OF THE SERMON
Throughout history Christians and non-Christians alike have been debating over the proper interpretation of the Bible. Even today, there is no one alive who simply reads the Bible straight on and without a lens. Because of this, people and even nations have used the Bible to advance their own agendas. In Acts 7, however, Stephen’s speech teaches us that all scriptures are meant to point to Christ. When we interpret the Bible through the “lens of Christ” and obey its words we become a biblical and irresistible church; a church in which the text of the Bible is lived out by God’s people.
GETTING THE CONVERSATION STARTED
These questions can be used as ice-breakers in the beginning OR interwoven between the questions below to draw the group into the discussion.
1. Have you ever watched a movie with a group of people that was such a “mind-bender” that you couldn’t agree on the meaning of the movie? Describe the experience. Why do you think there were multiple ways of interpreting the same movie?
2. Have you ever had a difficult discussion with someone who interprets the Bible differently than you do? What was the experience like? What did you learn from the discussion? How do you generally approach discussions like these?
3. What would you say is your main goal or objective when reading Scripture? Explain and discuss. As you hear people discuss the Bible, what are some other objectives that people might have when reading Scripture?
INTERACTING WITH THE SERMON
1. In 5 minutes or less. Briefly give a synopsis of this week’s sermon. What insight, principle, or observation from this weekend’s message did you find to be most helpful, eye-opening, or troubling? Explain.
2. Read John 4:4-26:
4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. 7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans. ) 10 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.” 11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?” 13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but those who drink 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.” 15 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.” 16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” 17 “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 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.” 19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” 25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you–I am he.”
• When Christ asks for a drink of water, how does the Samaritan woman respond? What is the basis for her answer? (v. 9) How might our culture hinder us from ministering to others Biblically? Discuss and share.
• What is the difference between the well water that the woman speaks of and the living water that Christ is talking about (vv. 11-14)? What are some examples of ways that we seek well water, rather than living water? How might our understanding of the Bible be impacted if we are seeking well water, rather than Christ? Can you think of examples of this? Discuss.
• What appears to be the basis for Christ’s response to the woman? (vv. 10, 15-18) While the Samaritan woman is concerned with cultural custom, what is Christ’s main focus? What can we learn from Christ’s example? Discuss.
• Rather than engaging in the disagreement between Samaritans and Jews regarding the place of worship, what is Christ’s response? (vv. 20-24) What do you think it means to worship God in spirit and in truth? In what ways can we more effectively worship God in spirit and in truth?
• Christ links the worship of the Father to who he is, rather than a place. (vv. 21-24) Can you think of ways that people reduce God and worship to specific places or things?
• The Samaritan woman is the first person to whom Christ clearly reveals himself as the Messiah. (vv.25-26) What do you think is the significance of this action at that particular point and time, in that culture? How might that influence our approach to sharing Christ with others? Share and discuss.
3. Take some time and ask God to open up opportunities for your small group to share Christ with others. Discuss where these opportunities might exist. At home, at work, in your family, in your community? Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you individually and as a group.