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Living Water

Where does your drinking water come from? It might come from pipes that come from a faraway lake or resevoir into your home. It might come from a natural spring of water. Or it might come from a well nearby. In many villages around the world, people walk to a village well to draw water with buckets and jars, and then carry the water home. This story is set at a village well. While Jesus and his followers travelled from town to town, teaching and healing, he talked to people everywhere. He taught using examples of everyday things that were familiar. Read this story, and notice that the story is about water, but it is really about something more than water.

Jesus and the disciples were travelling from Judea to Galilee and travelled through Samaria.

They came to a village. Jesus, tired from the journey, sat down by a well. It was about noon.

The disciples went into town to buy food while Jesus rested.

While Jesus was resting, a Samaritan woman came to draw water from the well. Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink please?"

The woman was surprised. In those days, the Jewish people did not associate with the Samaritan people. "You are Jewish and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" she asked.

Jesus said something that sounded puzzling: "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would ask me and I would give you living water."

"Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw water with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?"

Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. Whoever drinks the living water I give them will be satisfied and not thirsty. In fact, 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."

Jesus and the woman talked more, and the more they talked, the more she realized that Jesus was someone special. For many years, the Jewish people and the Samaritan people had worshiped God differently, but they believed in the same God. And they both believed that someday, someone special, a Messiah, would come from God to the world. Somehow, the Samaritan woman sensed that Jesus was this someone special. She ran back to town to tell everyone she knew.

When the disciples came back with the food, they were surprised to find that Jesus was now standing by the well with many of the people of the town, deep in conversation about God and about living water.

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony.

Discussion: This is a story with many layers of meaning. (1.) How did it feel to the woman that Jesus broke the tradition of "not associating with" people from Samaria? (2.) Jesus always taught that the best things in life are something more than food and water and clothing. How does faith give us the "best things in life"? (3.) Jesus asked the woman for regular water and said he could give "living water" that is "like a spring of water welling up." How would you describe the idea of "living water?"

Craft. Use clay or cardboard or other materials to make a model of a village well.

February 2014