When we gather as a group, these are some ways we ensure the best group discussion:
We make the circle safe by staying honest and transparent - leave the masks at the door.
We keep it inside the circle. Each person’s story is theirs alone to share.
We look to the Bible for wisdom and truth, and work together to let it shape how we see the world.
We don’t try to fix each other in front of each other or give unsolicited advice. We lovingly save hard conversations for private moments.
We respect each others’ time by starting and ending when we say we will.
We believe that in Jesus Christ, there is hope for everyone.
The whole Bible is full of illustrations - pictures of the Kingdom of God that help us live in a new way and become the people that God created us to be.
Tiana Spencer brought us to an important moment in Jesus’ ministry - the very first time he tells anyone the truth about who he is. He offers a heartbroken, outcast woman living water that will never run dry.
Remember, the questions are not a checklist to be completed, or in the perfect order! They’re simply guardrails to help you have a natural discussion about what we learned on Sunday.
CONNECT WITH EACH OTHER
We got to experience baptisms together during service this weekend; if you’ve been baptized, what did that experience mean to you? If you haven’t, what do you think of it and how it may or may not fit into you story?
When have you found yourself rooting for the bad guy like Tiana joked about - who is your favorite rebel? What makes that rebel inspiring?
CONNECT WITH THE MESSAGE
Jesus sees a Samaritan woman (Read John 4:1-9 together)
Jews didn’t associate with Samaritans - they were considered impure and unclean, and they always kept their distance. But when Jesus engaged with this Samaritan woman, it wasn’t just rebellion - it was restoration. He sees her for who she is, even though she couldn’t yet see herself the same way.
The Samaritan woman is stuck on the labels that she’s been given by everyone else around her. - she’s convinced that’s all she can be. What labels from others have you believed to be true about yourself?
The Samaritan woman was stuck on all the reasons why she shouldn’t be able to move toward the gracious invitation of God. How can you relate to her? What has kept you from accepting the grace of God in the past?
Known (Read John 4:10-19 together)
Even though Jesus is trying to solve her eternal need, she’s fixated on her earthly need. She was clearly a woman of heartbreak, but she wasn’t acting like it. But Jesus doesn’t let her - he goes right to the source of the pain.
We all do this in different ways - we focus on the mundane things, the exciting things, the things that help us avoid the pain that’s killing us inside. What kind of things distract us from what’s going inside us, or simply make it feel impossible to actually deal with it?
What about you personally? What things in your life distract you from the pain that you haven’t dealt with or the issue that you are avoiding?
Jesus skips right past the water conversation, because he knows that the woman doesn’t need water - she needs healing. And He loves her too much to let her stay there.
God doesn’t surface our mess to shame us - he does it to heal us. What kind of mess, pain, or struggle keeps surfacing for you? How have you engaged with it when it has come back to the surface?
God knows the brokenness that hinders us, but also the wholeness that awaits us: what do you think healing would look like in the areas of your own life that are broken?
Self-awareness is brutal, but it’s a necessary part of healing. Being aware of your brokenness is painful, but denying it is deadly. Feeling leads to healing when done in the right way.
Whether in your own life or someone else’s around you, how have you seen denial of brokenness become deadly?
Tiana talked about a season in her life where she leaned into the painful parts of her story that had started to surface, even asking trusted friends about the sin and brokenness they could see in her. Has confession, the act of admitting and owning your sin and brokenness, been a healing experience for you before?
Not many of us love confession… what keeps you from it on a regular basis?
There’s a pretty famous confession recorded in the Bible in Psalm 51. King David, a man who had been blessed by God beyond belief and who is considered one of the giants of our faith, had just killed his friend to cover up the fact that he had an affair with her and gotten her pregnant. After all that, he was confronted by a prophet and adviser, and he was convicted to his core. In that moment, he wrote Psalm 51. Read it together and talk about what we can learn from confession from David’s experience.
Saved (Read John 4:25-30 and 39-42 together)
After their conversation, the Samaritan woman left considering, but not yet convinced. But Jesus didn’t move on - instead he waited for her to bring her other “considering” Samaritan friends so they could sit with him, ask him questions, and explore their doubts.
In what areas of life or faith are you still considering - where do you have doubts, or just questions that are still unanswered?
The Samaritans leaned into their doubts - they went TO Jesus and watched him prove himself to them. Throughout your life, what have you done with your doubts about God?
How can you take steps toward those doubts, questions, or even struggles this week? How can you engage God in prayer differently, engage the Bible differently, or engage with trusted friends differently?
Jesus was incredibly compelling! He up-ended the religious system of his time and showed the world what God is like by the way he lived, taught, died… then lived again! Read Matthew as one big story and get a better perspective of just what Jesus was like and how he taught!