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Weekly Resources, Activities, Lessons and Crafts

May 17, 2020

Sunday of Samaritan Woman

Below, you’ll find a variety of discussion questions, activities, lessons, and crafts arranged by age group.

Start your study by reading the Gospel for Sunday’s Divine Liturgy: John 4:5–42

At that time, Jesus came to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there, and so Jesus, wearied as he was with his journey, sat down beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.

There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him and he would have given you living water." The woman said to him, "Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep; where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, and his sons, and his cattle?" Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw."

Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here." The woman answered him, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You are right in saying, 'I have no husband'; for you have had five husbands, and he whom you now have is not your husband; this you said truly." The woman said to him, "Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain; and you say that Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship." Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." The woman said to him, "I know that the Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ); when he comes, he will show us all things." Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am he."

Just then his disciples came. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but none said, "What do you wish?" or, "Why are you talking with her?" So the woman left her water jar, and went away into the city and said to the people, "Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?" They went out of the city and were coming to him.

Meanwhile the disciples besought him, saying "Rabbi, eat." But he said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know." So the disciples said to one another, "Has anyone brought him food?" Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, then comes the harvest'? I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see how the fields are already white for harvest. He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, 'One sows and another reaps.' I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor; others have labored, and you have entered into their labor."

Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman's testimony. "He told me all that I ever did." So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, "It is no longer because of your words that we believe, for we have heard ourselves, and we know that this is indeed Christ the Savior of the world."

Discussion Questions, Activities, Lessons, and Crafts

For the entire family

Tips for using music at home:

For children of all ages

Lesson and craft: “Sunday of the Samaritan Woman,” from Let Us Live Orthodoxy, Volume 3 by Fr. Dean and Pres. Georget Photos

Preschool

Bible story and coloring sheet: “A Woman Brings Others to Meet Jesus” pages 1–2 from Let Us Attend (Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese Department of Religious Education)

Elementary school

Bible story: “A Woman Brings Others to Meet Jesus” from Let Us Attend, page 3 for grade K–2 or page 4 for grades 3–5 (Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese Department of Religious Education)

Discussion questions for Gospel reading:

  • What was the name of the well? (Jacob’s Well)
  • What did Jesus ask the woman to do? (To give him a drink of water)
  • When Jesus said that a person will never thirst again if they drink from the water that he gives them, was he talking about actual water? (Not exactly: He was using water as a kind of symbol, a metaphor)

Activity:

  • Jesus is the Lord and Savior of all people. During His life on earth, He talked to and showed love to everyone, not just other men, not just other Jews, not just other adults, not just other healthy people.
  • Think of a person in your daily life who you don’t have much in common with. It could be an older relative, a worker at the grocery store, or a neighbor you don’t know well. Is it hard to talk to him or her? Do you think you could find a way to start a conversation this week? If that sounds like too much, maybe you can just smile and say hello!

Middle school

Discussion questions for Gospel reading:

  • What was the name of the well? (Jacob’s Well)
  • What did Jesus ask the woman to do? (To give him a drink of water)
  • Why was this surprising? (Because Jesus was a Jew and she was Samaritan, and their groups didn’t normally interact)
  • When Jesus said that a person will never thirst again if they drink from the water that he gives them, was he talking about actual water? (Not exactly: He was using water as a metaphor)
  • What would happen if they drink it? (They would have eternal life)
  • After encountering Christ, the woman shared the news and many Samaritans became believers. Do you share the things that Christ does for you? (various answers)

Action item for the week:

  • This week, whenever you are hungry or have a craving for something, practice saying a short prayer before eating. It’s easy to focus on our physical hunger and thirst, but remember this Gospel lesson and the importance of attending to our spiritual needs as well.

High school

Discussion questions for Gospel reading:

  • Why was it controversial for Jesus to ask the Samaritan woman for a drink? (Because Jesus was a Jew and she was Samaritan, and their groups didn’t normally interact)
  • What did Jesus say about the water that he can offer? ("...but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.")
  • What did he mean by this? (That he is offering eternal life to those who followed him)
  • Why did the disciples marvel that Jesus was speaking to her? (At that time, it was uncommon and frowned upon for a man to speak to a woman)
  • After this, why did many Samaritans become believers in Christ? (When the woman went into the city, she shared the news of what Jesus had spoken to her)
  • Do you share the things that God has done for you? Why or why not?

Journal topic:

  • Have you ever felt like you weren’t good enough? Jesus chooses an unlikely person to help the people in her city believe in Him, because as a man and a Jew it was considered inappropriate for him to interact with her.
  • The Samaritan woman, who we know as St. Photine, went on to spread the Gospel in many places and ultimately became a martyr for the Church. What does this passage tell you about how God chooses people to do his will, and who the Gospel is for?

Action item: Read and answer the questions from the “Breaking Barriers” section of the young adult Bible study (Chapter 5 of A Year of the Lord Liturgical Bible Studies, Volume 4: Easter to Pentecost, by Rev. Dr. Ted Stylianopoulos)

  • Strict stay-at-home orders are beginning to be relaxed now. Do you think the “new normal” will result in new prejudices and biases?
  • What is one prejudice or bias you have recognized in yourself? What can you do this week to work or continue working to overcome it?

Young adult

Bible study: Sunday of the Samaritan Woman: Gospel & Epistle

Video: Live the Word #33: “Who is the Gospel For?” 

  • In this episode, Steve discusses the story of the Samaritan Woman encountering Christ at the well of Jacob.
  • After watching the video, think about Steve’s three questions:
    • Do you take Jesus seriously when he promises to satisfy your thirst or are you still drinking from wells that run dry?
    • What kind of ideas do you have about how God is supposed to behave?
    • Do you have the patience and courage to sit with Christ?

Video Bible study & chat: “Sunday of the Samaritan Woman” from Y2AM’s 3 Men & a Bible 

  • Join Fr. Panagiotis Boznos, Nick Lionas, and Steve Christoforou for their new weekly video Bible study & chat.
  • And join the guys live on Zoom every Thursday at 4 pm Eastern here: y2am.org/3MenAndABible

Adult

Exploring the Iconography of the Paschal Season

Bible Study: John 4:5–42 

Introduction

At this time, Samaritans and Jews had broken off relations. Samaritans were from the Northern Kingdoms of Israel. Today, we think of Israel as comprising Judea and Samaria. Around 720 BC, the Northern Kingdom had fallen, defeated by the Assyrians. Following the return of Israel from the Babylonian captivity in the sixth century BC, the Samaritans disagreed with the rebuilding of Solomon’s Temple. The main source of theological disagreement between them was where to worship God. This is discussed in the Gospel story. Mt. Gerizim was the Samaritan holy place. Jerusalem and the Temple was the Judean holy place.

As a result, Jews and Samaritans had no dealings with one another. Recall from the parable of the Good Samaritan that the lawyer couldn’t even admit it was such a person who had proven to be the neighbor.

A Samaritan community still exists today, mainly around the city of Nablus in the West Bank. You can read about them in Gerard Russell’s 2014 book, Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms.

 Artistic Points

The well was a place where women would gather. Jesus meets the woman there. Tradition has named her Photine, “she who was illuminated.” The well in the icon is shaped like a cross. Baptisteries in the early Church (when they were outdoors) were often cross-shaped. For the icon to use this motif signals that the place where Jesus met Photine may have become a place for baptism, photismos, but also to help us make the connection to baptism generally.

In the background, we see that the well is outside the walls of the city. We know that the disciples will show up and see Jesus and the woman in conversation. This was shocking on many levels. Wells were places where young men and women would go to court, let alone talk. Jesus is breaking conventions yet again. By sending the disciples away to find food, He could not be stopped by them!

After the encounter, Photine becomes an evangelist in her village: many believed in Christ because of her testimony (John 4:39). Jesus stays with them for two days.

In the painting by Duccio, there are many additional details. In the woman’s left hand we see her bucket and the rope for dropping into the well. She carries the jug that she will fill on her head. We also see the disciples returning from the city where they had gone to buy food.

Discussion Questions

  • In John 3, Jesus met Nicodemus. In John 4, Jesus meets Photine. Compare the meetings, especially how Nicodemus and Photine reacted to meeting Jesus.
  • How do you explain Orthodox Christianity to a non-Orthodox Christian, or to non-Christians?
  • How do you work to break through social, racial/ethnic, or religious barriers? What aspects of the encounter between Jesus and Photine could be helpful to you?
  • What strategies for evangelization does your parish utilize?

Resources for next week:

Corresponding items that can be purchased on Orthodox Marketplace: