Use this children’s Sunday School lesson about Jesus and the Samaritan woman to teach kids about loving people who are different from us and about worshipping God sincerely.
Needed: Bibles, a volunteer to play the Samaritan woman (you can read the Samaritan woman’s part if you want), an empty bucket for a prop, drawing paper and crayons or colored pencils
Intro Worship Exercise: From Your Heart
Lead kids in singing a familiar praise song or teach them a new one. Spend some time talking about the meaning of the words. Then, sing it again and ask kids to think about the words as they’re singing. Ask them to think if they truly believe and mean what they’re singing.
Explain that in the story today, Jesus tells us that God wants us to worship Him from our hearts and to mean what we say.
Ask students, Who is someone that people from your country don’t get along with very well? Is there anyone that your country or group fights against a lot?
Who are some people that Christians don’t get along with very well? Is there anyone that Christians argue with or have to fight with?
(Read John 4:4-42 or read the following script as a summary.)
Samaritan Woman: (carrying bucket) Hello, everyone! I am a woman from Samaria, and I want to tell you about the time I met Jesus. It was noon, and I was out getting some water from the well. I always went out to get water at noon because I knew it was too hot for any of the other women to come to get water at that time. You see, I didn’t want any of the other women to see me at the well because I knew they would make fun of me. I was kind of the bad girl in town.
Anyway, I went to get some water in my bucket from the well and this man, Jesus, was sitting there. He asked me if I would give him a drink from the well.
I could see that He was Jewish – an Israelite – and I, of course, was a Samaritan, so I was surprised when He talked to me. Jewish people and Samaritans don’t get along very well, and they never talk to each other unless they have to. So I said, “Why are you asking me to get you a drink? You’re not even supposed to talk to me.”
Then, He said that if I knew who He was and if I knew the gift that God wanted to give me, I would have asked Him to give me a drink. “Because,” He said, “people who drink the water from the well will always get thirsty again. But I can give people living water, the Holy Spirit, that will fill you up forever and give you eternal life in Heaven.”
So, I said, “Okay, then, give me some of that water!” I thought He was joking, so I was joking back with Him.
But then, He said, “Go get your husband and come back. Then, I’ll give you the living water.”
I felt bad then because I didn’t have a husband, and that’s what I told Jesus.
But He said, “You’re right. You don’t have a husband. You’ve been married five times, and now, you’re living with a man you’re not even married to.”
I didn’t know how Jesus knew that about me. I knew it was bad of me to have had so many husbands and to be living with someone before I was married, but I was just so amazed that Jesus could know that. I said, “Sir, you must be a prophet. Tell me: Where am I supposed to worship God? Can I worship God here in Samaria or do I have to go to the Temple in Jerusalem?”
He said, “It doesn’t matter where you worship God. But when you do worship Him, you have to worship Him in your spirit and in truth. You have to mean it in your heart when you worship God.”
Then I said, “I know that the Savior is coming some time. When He gets here, He will explain everything to us.”
Then, He said, “I am the Savior.”
I knew He was right. I could tell that He was the Savior, so I dropped my water bucket on the ground (drop bucket in amazement) and ran back into town. I didn’t care who saw me now, or whether they made fun of me for being bad or not. I just ran around the village, knocking on people’s doors and telling them that I had found the Savior.
All the people from my village came out to the well to meet Jesus then, and a lot of them believed in Him.
That was the day I met Jesus, and it was the best day of my life.
(Have students thank the woman.)
Jesus was Jewish, and the woman He met was a Samaritan. Jews and Samaritans usually don’t get along. They usually don’t like each other. They usually don’t even talk to one another. But did Jesus talk to the woman? (Yes.)
Jesus didn’t care if the woman was a Samaritan. Jesus loved everybody the same. That shows us that we should love everybody the same too. It doesn’t matter if someone is white or black or Mexican or Muslim or from another tribe or another country or anything. We should love everybody and treat everybody the same, just as Jesus did with the Samaritan woman.
How did Jesus know that the woman had been married five times? (Jesus knew everything about her.)
Do you think Jesus knows everything about you too? (Yes.)
Jesus knows everything. He knows everything we do, everything we think about, and everything we feel inside. Jesus knows everything.
Where does Jesus say is the best place to worship God – in Samaria or in the Temple in Jerusalem or somewhere else? (Anywhere.)
Jesus says that you can worship God anywhere as long as you mean it. You can pray to God or sing to God wherever you are. You could be in your room, outside, in church, anywhere, and God will hear you.
After the woman learned that Jesus was the Savior, what did she do? (She went and told everyone else in the town about Jesus.)
And that’s what we have to do too. We know who Jesus is. He’s the Savior, the one who saves us from our sins and died on the cross so that we can go to Heaven when we die and not to Hell. So, it’s our job to tell other people about Him so that they can believe in Jesus too.
So, let’s remember to love everyone the same, just as Jesus did, and let’s tell everyone about Him so that they can believe in Him too.
Game: Samaritan Seek and Find!
Choose one student to be the Samaritan. They close their eyes while the rest of the students hide. The Samaritan then tries to find each student. When they do, they shout, “I’ve found the Savior!” The last student to be found becomes the new Samaritan for the next round.
Craft: Loving the Other
Give students drawing supplies and ask them to draw a picture that shows them loving or doing something nice for someone from a different people group than them – a different ethnicity, country, or religion.
Lord, we thank You that You love all people. You don’t have favorites. You only want everyone to believe in You and be saved. Help us to love everyone as You do and to tell them about You. Amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, Jesus Starts His Work.