Welcome to our final week of Wicked Women of the Bible! Hasn’t this been a fascinating study? I’ve loved getting to know each wicked woman better and hearing from the Holy Spirit what we can learn from each of them. Which story was the most illuminating to you? Which was your favorite?
This week we are studying my personal favorite — The Woman of Samaria! We’ve studied some truly evil, horrible women throughout this study (Jezebel, Herodias, and The Medium of Endor) but Ann and I wanted to end and leave you on a high note with the beautiful, redemptive story of a woman transformed by Christ! It’s the perfect, final study to lead us into the Christmas season!
Imagine carrying around the shame, guilt, resentment and loneliness of being known as that woman in your hometown, the one every other woman kept her husband and sons away from, the one whom a long line of men have bragged about, the one who is a pariah.
Until she encountered Jesus…
Have you ever noticed this tiny word in John 4:4? Had.
Jesus had to go through Samaria.
Granted Jesus was on the road from Judea to Galilee which plunked Samaria right in His path, but because of their great prejudice and hatred of the Samaritans, the Jews of Jesus’ day took pains to avoid it. They went around, not through. Yet, Jesus had to go through Samaria. Why? Maybe it was because He had a divine appointment in the city His people avoided with a woman her people avoided.
But, Jesus looked at her. He pursued conversation with her which was the peak of social taboos. He loved her despite her life that had ostracized her from people. And, WOW, was she blown away!
This broken woman couldn’t wait to race to those very people who hated her and cast her out of community and tell them that the Messiah they had been waiting so long for was in their very own village and He is a God who sees and loves! She became a missionary to her own! An evangelist! Her – the outcast! How beautiful is that?
This week for your personal or group study:
- Read Chapter 17 of Wicked Women of the Bible on the Woman of Samaria (pages 161-169)
- Read her story in John 4:1-42.
- Enjoy watching the video for Week 6 — provided above.
- What does Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman teach us about how to approach a stranger whose values and culture might be vastly different than our own?
- This story speaks of water and harvest, of food and drink. At the beginning of the story, Jesus is hungry and thirsty. At the end He seems satisfied. Likewise, the woman has gone to the well because she needs water. But she returns to her village without her water jar. What do these interwoven themes of hunger, thirst, and harvest tell us about ourselves, about Jesus?
- Some commentators suggest that the woman at the well may not have been as immoral as some have painted her. Perhaps she did not divorce previous husbands but they divorced her. Some of her husbands may have died. In such circumstances it wouldn’t be surprising were she reduced to a life of poverty, forced to live with a man she wasn’t married to simply as a way to survive. No matter what your take on the story, it would seem that she was both poor and marginalized. Yet Jesus took her seriously, engaged in a theological conversation with her, and then disclosed His identity as Messiah. He reached out to her with love and compassion, treating her with dignity. How has Christ reached out to you in the midst of your own hardships?
- It is one thing to suffer hardship not of your own making and another to suffer the consequences of your own sinful choices. How have you experienced God’s love despite your struggles with sin and imperfection?
- Take a moment to pray through the story by imagining yourself as the woman at the well. As Jesus speaks to you, what are you thinking? How do you respond?
If you have just stumbled upon this study and want to register and start today, we invite you to sign up here and get your free downloads and weekly study questions. You can start over from the very beginning!
Have you ever felt like your life is too messy, too full of sin, too broken for the Lord to use you in the lives of those around you? What can you take away from the story of the Woman of Samaria, the one that Jesus chose to evangelize her people? Share your comments below!
From all of us at FaithGateway and Faith.Full, thank you for participating in this study, and special thanks to Ann Spangler for sharing with us her time and wealth of knowledge through the book and video series. If you’re still catching up with the weekly videos, we hope you will take the month of December to watch them at your own pace. And stay tuned… we’ll be announcing later this week our FREE Online Bible Study for the New Year, kicking off January 10th! It’s going to be great and we hope to see all of you come back in January!
Finally, if you are looking for a year-long study of all the women of the Bible, Ann has updated her classic, Women of the Bible, and has turned it into a year-long study and devotional. Check out our deals below!
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