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Dan Augsburger
MASK-UERADING

Small Group Lesson

Connect-Around-the-Circle [by sharing with rest of group]

Share your name and something about an embarrassing moment in your life? How has your life changed as a result?

Connect-Above-the-Circle [with God through prayer]


Unpack the Data
Think it through

•    How great a motivator is "avoiding shame and embarrassment?"
•    How do we come to fear embarrassment, and what are some of the things we fear being embarrassed about?
•    Why can experiencing embarrassment at a key moment in our lives be so hurtful and have a long-term impact?  Are people imprinted for life?
•    To what degree, and in what ways, can embarrassment, or fear of embarrassment, impact one's spiritual life?  Is there such a thing as spiritual embarrassment?
•    What are some of the ways a person can overcome such a past?

Read John 4: 5 - 18

1.  Why was the woman coming to the well during the hot part of the day?
2.  How did she try to avoid embarrassment in her conversation with Jesus?
3.  In reaching out to her, why do you think Jesus first sought her assistance? 
4.  Why did His request "reprogram" the tapes that might have been running though her mind, in terms of...
•    The way she felt looked down upon by others.
•    The way men used her.
•    How she felt about herself, and her probable pessimism for a better future considering the downward spiral of her life.
5.  What was the "living water" Jesus was offering her, and in what ways could that "water" completely satisfy her, in terms of her...
•    Need for a new self concept. (John 3: 16)
•    Need for a better reputation. (Micah 7: 18,19; 2Cor 5: 17)
•    Her weakness for the next man who showed her some attention. (Hosea 114: 4,5; Ezek 36: 26)
•    Her vulnerability in a society where women were dependent on men, and easily discarded. (Isa 43: 1-4; Matt 6: 25-34)
•    Need for new life. (Jer 17: 7,8)
6. Why was her request for water in verse 15 only a short-term fix?  What immediate "embarrassment" problem would have been solved?
7.  Why did Jesus respond by asking her to get her husband?
8.  Did Jesus miss a golden opportunity to tell her that she was a sinner?

Read John 4: 28 - 30; 39 - 42

1.  What changed her life? (Romans 8: 1-3; Matt 11: 28)
2.  Why was her testimony so powerful?
3.  Why could she offer such a powerful testimony in spite of no training?

Apply the Data
1.  We are surrounded by hurting people of all genders who wear masks.
•    What does the story suggest they are yearning for?
•    What does the story suggest are helpful ways of relating to them?
•    As a group map out ways you could positively impact such a person in a life-changing, kingdom-gaining, way?
•    Why is the gospel a complete answer to their need? 
•    To what degree do you agree—have you experienced—that  the gospel is a complete answer to your needs? 

2.  In what ways can you identify with the woman?  Where are you seeking water?  What message is Jesus giving you through this story?

3.  List two acquaintances who appear to have similar yearnings to the woman.
_____________________________     _____________________________
 4.  How might the following help you offer them "living water" this week?
a.  Give them permission to share their story with you, and affirm them.
b.  Suggest a book or Internet  resource. (i.e. www.gospelcom.net/rbc/ds/q0503)
c.   Invite them to join a small group with you.

[get networking info—phone/e-mail/prayer requests—if desired] 

Written by Dan Augsburger 1/26/02

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