(Note for Group Leaders)To make things easier for you, we have combined the Leader and Participant Guides into one. Please remember that we have provided you with too much group content and that's on purpose! As the Group Leader, you are free to choose the elements that will help everyone to engage with the message, and leave the rest.
BEFORE YOU GATHER
Prepare for Your Group: (10-90 minutes)
- Familiarize yourself with this Group Discussion Guide
- If you missed it,CLICK HEREto watch the weekend sermon
- Read John 4:1-42
- Sit in prayerful silence with God for a while, and then ask the Holy Spirit if there is anything that he wants to do during your Group's time together.
Opening Prayer: (1-5 minutes)
In light of what God is saying through this week's message, here's some suggestions of how your Group can invite God into your time together.
The Woman at the Well had a powerful encounter with Jesus, who gives the gift of Living Water the Holy Spirit God's satisfaction for our deepest thirst. Open in prayer by askingGod to speak to your desires. Invite God to sit at the well of your life, and to bring both his grace and truth to you.
Quick Connection: (5 minutes)
Haveeveryone take 30 seconds each to share a phrase or a moment from this weekend's message that is still resonating with them. You also have the option to say "Pass."
Large Group Discussion: (30 minutes)
(Note for Group Leaders)There are more questions than youwill likely have time to get through. Choose the questions that resonate the most deeply with you and your Group.
This weekend's message came from John 4:1-42. If everyone has a Bible, let's go there together.
- In John 4:4, we read that Jesus "had to" go through Samaria. Like Samaria, where are the "bad parts" of town, or who are the people that we tend to avoid, because we think that they are dangerous, or dirty, or will wreck our reputation? When it comes to the people and places that need to experience the Life of God, are Jesus' followers meant to go around, or towards them?
- In her conversation with Jesus, the Samaritan Woman discovers that Jesus himself is the Deepest Well the Source of Living Water. When in your life has Jesus shown himself to be the satisfaction of your deepest longings and desires?
- In John 1:17, we read that "grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." How did the Woman at the Well experience both grace and truth in her encounter with Jesus? What does that tell you about what God intends to do with our guilt and shame?
- Jesus' followers may have a tendency to gravitate towards being a "Grace Christian" or a "Truth Christian," and as a result, their life is marked by one, and they neglect the other. But is this really an option for Jesus' followers?
- The Woman at the Well told everyone, "Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did!" and she says that like it's a good thing! If we embodied both grace and truth like Jesus how might people experience the Life of God when they are with us?
CLOSING PRAYER (5-15 minutes):
In light of what God is saying through this week's message, here's some suggestions of what your Group could talk about with God in prayer.
When it comes to experiencing the Life of God, the Christian writer C.S. Lewis used the phrase "Further Up and Further In." In light of who Jesus has revealed himself to be the Source of Living Water how are you askingJesus to draw you Further Up and Further In to his Life?
PRACTICING THE WAY OF JESUS
A disciple of Jesus is a learner, a student, an apprentice, a practitioner even if they are only a beginner. As disciples, we don't just profess certain views about what we believe, but as we grow in our understanding of what it means to live as citizens of God's Kingdom, we find ways to practice the way of Jesus in every aspect of our lives here on earth.
All month long, we are practicing the way of Jesus through Solitude & Silence. Here are some examples of how to implement this spiritual habit of Jesus into our everyday lives.
There are many places in the Gospels where we read that Jesus made a regular habit of getting away from the crowds even his disciples so that he could be with God the Father. In the story of the Samaritan Woman, Jesus first meets her when his disciples go into town to get food, and Jesus is alone. Jesus did some of his best work out of and sometimes during his times of solitude.
We imitate Jesus by finding ways to be alone and away from talk and noise. We rest, we observe, we "smell the roses", we dare we say it? we donothing. As we pull away from noise and distraction, we are making space for God to refresh our souls that so quickly become depleted. In solitude and silence, we begin to experience again the presence of God in our innermost being, speaking to and interacting with us. God will not compete for our attention, but he will draw near to us as we draw near to him.
Here's some ideas for practicing Solitude & Silence this week:
- Choose a day and a time when you will be alone with God 10 minutes? 30? 1 hour? (If you have childcare needs, make arrangements with a family member who can watch your kids while you take this time.)
- Go "off the grid" – put any electronic devices far away from yourself so that you've really made yourself unavailable to everyone else but God.
- If it will help you to relax your thoughts and be present, set an alarm to alert you that your designated time has come to an end.
- Find a quiet place where you can be alone with God a room in your house, a park bench, your car, etc.
- Bring a Bible, journal, and pen.
- Begin your time by praying the words from Psalm 46:10, "Be still, and know that I am God." Then pray, "Be still, and know that I Am." Reflect on this. Then, "Be still, and know." Reflect on this. Then, "Be still." Reflect on this. The last time when you pray it, all that's left is the word "Be."
- Take a moment to enjoy that both you and God are here, together, right now.
- In the time that remains, simply be with God. If you're led to talk, or write, or sing, or read, or reflect then do that. Whatever you are led to do, do that with the awareness that you are in God's presence.
- The first time you try this, you might love it, or it might be really uncomfortable. Remember that this is "practice," and that it might take a while to become second-nature. But remember that God will reveal himself to you if you seek after him with all of your heart (Jeremiah 29:12-14).