BIG IDEA: I CAN MAKE NEW FRIENDS
AIM: The aim of the ‘Should We Be Friends?’ Childrens Lesson on Samaritan Woman is to help the children see that it can be easy and fun to make new friends and to share the love of Jesus with others.
- Drink It Up! Have players compete to drink up their juice from a cup or jug with a giant straw or a straw made up of five straws. Make sure someone holds the containers so that the juice does not spill everywhere!
- Dive for Dollars. Alternatively you could put other objects in the water, rather than money.
- Running on Thirsty.
BIG VERSE: Be sure that no one pays back wrong for wrong. But always try to do what is good for each other and for all people. 1 Thessalonians 5:15.
Introduction Question: Who do you think was the first friend you ever made?
SET the Scene:
Read John 4. You may even want to ask the children to act out the story. You could find a simpler version to read from a Bible Storybook if you have one.
SPOT the Simple Meaning:
1) I CAN SPEAK
You could use the scene from Toy Story where Woody and Buzz meet for the first time. You could also use the clip from Monsters University where Mike and Sulley meet for the first time – although it may be better if you had the extended DVD clip (not available on Youtube at the time of writing).
Say: When Jesus meets the woman at the well it is for the first time. He has never met this woman before. It’s always interesting meeting new people. Do you like to meet new people? [Get feedback]. Jesus loved to meet people. He didn’t care who they were or where they were from; he would speak to them.
A Samaritan woman came to the well to get some water. Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” (This happened while Jesus’ followers were in town buying some food.)
The woman said, “I am surprised that you ask me for a drink. You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan.” (Jews are not friends with Samaritans.)
This woman must have been a little sad and lonely. Women would love to come to draw water from the well. They would chat away while they were pulling the water up. Yet this woman came to the well alone at a time when there would be nobody else around. She avoided people because she was looked down on and nobody liked her.
Jesus asks the woman at the well for a drink. He speaks to her. Wow! In those days men would not speak to women in such a way. Not only that, but a Jew would not speak to a Samaritan either – they really didn’t like Samaritans! Jesus shows us that we should try and talk to everyone we meet – even those that people look down on and hate. We can talk to people to make new friends. That can be scary, but don’t forget, we have the Holy Spirit living in us. The Holy Spirit is the third Person of God (God, Son – Jesus – and Holy Spirit) and he will help us to have the confidence to speak out and to say the things that God wants us to say!
2) I CAN CARE
You could use the short clip from the Good Dinosaur where Arlo is told how to kill the ‘critter’ but when it comes to actually killing the child Arlo looks at the boy with compassion (then fear!) He decides not to kill Spot because Spot looked defenseless. Unfortunately this clip is not available online anymore, so you will need access to the DVD.
Say: In our little clip Arlo felt compassion for the little kid, Spot. He saw that Spot couldn’t help himself and had nobody to save him. That’s when Arlo decided not to hurt him. He was still scared of Spot, but he helped him anyway.
Jesus cared about the woman at the well, and he cares about us too. He cares about all people. He wants us to care about other people too. Jesus cared so much about the woman that he told her all about the living water. Jesus is the living water. But, what does that mean?
Jesus said, “You don’t know what God gives. And you don’t know who asked you for a drink. If you knew, you would have asked me, and I would have given you living water.”
The woman said, “Sir, where will you get that living water? The well is very deep, and you have nothing to get water with. Are you greater than Jacob, our father? Jacob is the one who gave us this well. He drank from it himself. Also, his sons and flocks drank from this well.”
Jesus answered, “Every person who drinks this water will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks the water I give will never be thirsty again. The water I give will become a spring of water flowing inside him. It will give him eternal life.”
Just as we need water for our bodies to stay alive, we need Jesus for our heart and our spirit to stay alive forever. The bible shows us that without Jesus we are dead – we need Jesus to bring our spirit – the part of us which interacts with God – to come to life! Jesus is the One that gives us eternal life. So although water that we can drink physically with our tongue will run out, Jesus is the water that never runs out! His love for us will never run dry!
We can care about others just like Jesus cares for us and those that we meet. If we struggle, we can ask the Holy Spirit to help us to have love when we don’t feel it ourselves.
3) I CAN TREAT EVERYONE WELL
Play a fun game of Human Top Trumps. Have children in different teams (if in a small group put them into pairs to compete) try and find the person with some of the biggest, longest, craziest things. For example, have them find:
- the longest or shortest tongue/hair/eyelashes/arm/finger/toe/fingernail
- the most freckles
- the tallest/shortest
Say: Every single one of us is unique and different. That’s how God made us! The Samaritan woman was very different to Jesus. She didn’t live in a way that showed people who God was, but she lived for herself. She wasn’t very popular with people, yet Jesus had crowds that followed him to listen to what he had to say. Yet Jesus treated her well. He treated her better than anyone else would have ever treated her.
The woman said, “I know that the Messiah is coming.” (Messiah is the One called Christ.) “When the Messiah comes, he will explain everything to us.”
Then Jesus said, “He is talking to you now. I am he.”
Just then his followers came back from town. They were surprised because they saw Jesus talking with a woman. But none of them asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”
We can treat others well too. Perhaps there is a class bully that everyone hates, or someone that is being bullied that is left out of everyone’s games. You can make the difference by treating everyone well. No matter who they are. It’s not an easy thing to do, yet Jesus always treated people well.
Whoever we meet- and even those that we have never met – deserve to be treated well – with love and understanding. That doesn’t mean we have to agree with everyone or just tell them what they wanted to hear. Jesus spoke the truth to the Samaritan woman. Yet we can speak the truth in love and treat everyone well.
As a result of Jesus’ words and actions towards the Samaritan woman, she went and told everyone about Jesus!
Then the woman left her water jar and went back to town. She said to the people, “A man told me everything I have ever done. Come see him. Maybe he is the Christ!” So the people left the town and went to see Jesus.
Once the people had heard about Jesus, they wanted to see and speak to him themselves:
Many of the Samaritans in that town believed in Jesus. They believed because of what the woman said: “He told me everything I have ever done.” The Samaritans came to Jesus and begged him to stay with them. So he stayed there two days. Many more believed because of the things he said.
They said to the woman, “First we believed in Jesus because of what you told us. But now we believe because we heard him ourselves. We know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
This all happened because Jesus wasn’t afraid to speak to, and treat well, one woman who was very different to him. We can treat everyone well too.
SEARCH the Scriptures:
Take a look at some of the bible verses about friendship. Pair everyone up with a friend… maybe encourage them to make a new friend if you have a big enough group. Hand each group the reference of the bible verse. Encourage them to find the bible verse and to put the slip of paper in the bible when they have found it. To make it a competition you could see who can find them the fastest and check the position of their slips of paper at the end. Alternatively you may simply want to encourage them to read the verses.
For younger children you could stick the bible references on a piece of paper and ask the children to draw some friends as you read the verses together.
- Who is your best friend and how did you become friends?
- What makes a good friendship?
- How do you become a good friend?
- If you met someone for the first time how would you make friends with them?
- Do you think you are good at making new friends? Why/why not?
- Is it scary to make a new friend? Why/why not?
- How might you get better at making new friends?
- How might knowing Jesus help you become a better friend?
- What makes Jesus the best friend in the Universe?
- How can you share Jesus with your friends?
SENSE How You Feel:
- Make a craft well as you think about the place that Jesus and the Samaritan woman met. Rather than using a tin can you could simply use a piece of card in a hoop shape or a glass or round plastic object to glue the sticks to.
- Find some Samaritan woman coloring sheets via Google
- Create some of the water droplets crafts or the pencil holder craft from the Danielle’s Place website
- Act out the story using the Danielle’s Place ideas
- Ask the children if any of them would like to be friends with Jesus for the first time. Encourage them that this is the best decision that they can ever make in their lives as this is the decision to know the Living God! Explain that Jesus is the One that came to give us life and so that we might know God. Lead the children in a prayer for forgiveness and coming to know Jesus as their Savior.
- Ask the children to split up into twos or threes and to pray that God would help them to make new friendships and to be open to meeting new people.