Awaken: Week One Study Guide

Kicking off “Awaken,” a special three-week Church United study alongside 100+ churches in South Florida, this guide will examine the purpose of the believer: to reach their city with the gospel, one person at a time. Watch as Pastor Doug Rasku and Kelly Henke discuss these key themes and invite us into the conversation!

 

TALK IT OUT

Below, you’ll find some key discussion points to reflect on and questions to discuss in your small group, with your family, or in your circle of friends, as well as some action points for the week.

Memory Verse of the Week: John 4:39 (NIV) 

“Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony.”

Getting the Conversation Going: Have you ever had an appointment you couldn’t miss? Maybe it was a big job interview, a test, or an important doctor’s appointment. Whatever it was, I’m sure nothing was going to keep you from it! Today, we’re going to work through a story about an appointment on Jesus’ itinerary that changed the life of one woman, an entire town, and all of us! And through this story, we pray you’ll see and discuss how each of us is called to similar appointments in the places and spaces we find ourselves.

READ John 4:4–6

World history tells us Jesus did not have to go through Samaria. Scholar F.F. Bruce states, “Samaria lay between Judea in the south and Galilee in the north; anyone, therefore, who wished to go from Judea to Galilee ‘had to pass through Samaria’ unless he was prepared to make a detour through Transjordan, with its largely Gentile population.” But, due to the feelings Jews had regarding Samaritans, most Jews would have taken the long way to Galilee. Jesus; however, was not the typical Jew and, on this occasion, decided to take the direct route and arrived at the placed called Sychar because He had an appointment.

Discussion Question 1: Why do you think it says Jesus had to go through Samaria?

Discussion Question 2: What does Jesus’ example here teach us and how can we apply this idea into our relationships and the tasks we have to complete?

READ John 4:7–26

Barriers Broken: When Jesus arrived at the well, He encountered a Samaritan woman. Two notable things: Women usually came to draw water 1) in company and 2) at a cooler time of day. This woman came alone because either she didn’t want the company of others or they didn’t want hers. So, she chose a time when no one would be there. In the coming days, we’ll learn more about this woman’s story.

Tired and thirsty from His journey, Jesus asks her for a drink. While Jesus’ request seems fairly unassuming by today’s standards, and would have been normal from a Gentile traveler, it surprised the Samaritan woman because Jesus was a Jew. Most Jews would never have asked a Samaritan person for something, especially not a Samaritan woman. Why? It would make them ritually unclean. Thus, Jesus’ request truly astonished and shocked her. But this is the very reason Jesus had to go through Samaria, to meet this woman. 

Jesus was not concerned with cultural barriers, norms, or designations. He dined with sinners and tax collectors, met with Pharisees, healed the servants of Roman soldiers, touched lepers, and chose unschooled, ordinary people to be His disciples. And here, He offered the living water of salvation to a Samaritan woman who was an outcast amongst the people of her own city. Did you know this Samaritan woman is chronologically the first person in the Gospels Jesus outright declared Himself as Messiah to? This is a truly significant moment in the Gospel of John. Miracles and signs are one thing, but a Messianic proclamation is truly game changing. 

The ramifications of this kind of proclamation were enormous. Before this woman, Jesus declared Himself to be the One who would reveal all mysteries and restore all things. The Messiah had come to a non-Jewish town inhabited by the enemies of the Jews and proclaimed Himself Christ the Savior. Before the enemies of His people, Jesus demonstrated in no uncertain terms that He had truly come, as He told Nicodemus in John 3:16, to bring salvation, peace, redemption, restoration, and eternal life to all who believe in Him

May we remember this beautiful model of personal evangelism that Jesus has given us here. May we remember to build relationships with people, to look beyond worldly differences because Jesus shatters them all, to share truth in love, and to clearly present people with the gospel truth that leads to salvation. 

Discussion Question 3: What are some ways you can step across cultural lines and follow Jesus’ example of personal evangelism in your community?

READ John 4:27–42

Your Story Matters: In this passage, we see how the living water the Samaritan woman received from Jesus IMMEDIATELY became an overflowing well in her life. Suddenly, this woman who undoubtedly had a less than sparkling reputation in her community and who avoided her neighbors and townspeople out of shame and fear, found both the belonging she needed in Christ and the boldness to be His witness to the very people she had avoided. 

“Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, . . . They said . . . ‘Now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world’” (John 4:39, 42 NIV). If it wasn’t for this woman’s witness, her neighbors may not have come to know Jesus. 

Through this, we see an amazing truth that with Jesus our most profound hurt can become our most powerful story, our greatest pain can be used to bring about great victory, and our deepest shame can be redeemed and repurposed as a tool for His glory and the salvation of many! We see this with the Samaritan woman, we see it with the blind man who said, “One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see” (John 9:25 NIV), we see it with Paul, Joseph, Job, and Peter, and I’ve seen it in my own journey. 

Just like this woman, there’s incredible power when you share your God story with others; sharing what He’s done in your life. More than anything else, the evidence of a changed life speaks to the glory and grace of God’s power. And in the same way that this woman became the first missionary to the Samaritans, you can be a missionary in your community. You can boldly proclaim with your life and story, “Come and see!” 

Discussion Question 4: What does the woman’s story teach us about how Jesus works in our lives and how He uses our past?

Discussion Question 5: What are you going to do this week to be like this woman? Who can you share your testimony with?

This Week: Your story matters. God wants to use your life, your past and your story, to reach people with the gospel of Jesus! Today, write down what God’s done in your life! Write out your story/testimony, share it with someone, and then thank the Lord for all He’s done.

A LOOK AHEAD

In our next study, we’ll continue the “Awaken” series as we explore what God can do through us when we answer His call and arise and go by the power of the Holy Spirit!

Additional Resources

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.