This week we begin a new series using the Ignatian method of Bible study. Before you begin the study, we strongly recommend that you read the page describing this method in depth. It is a method that will require either a longer time than usual, or doing the readings over a period of several days. You will get the most from this method if you journal your thoughts, reflections and questions. The guidelines on the page offer further instruction.
Sit in a comfortable position with your Bible and journal near. Quiet yourself before God by focusing on these opening verses from Psalm 42: As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. Pray for guidance as you study the scripture for this week.
JOHN 4:1-42 STUDY
In this method of Bible study, you will be asked to read through the scripture several times. The first time through is to familiarize yourself with the story.
READ John 4:1-42 slowly. As you read, imagine the events in your mind’s eye as they play out.
In your journal, record your first impressions. Note any questions that arise.
Now that you are familiar with the events of the story, you will be asked to consider a different point of view for each consecutive reading. Visualize the events from the perspective of the person named. Take your time. Enter into the mindset of the person. Sense the emotions and feelings as if you were that person.
READ the passage from the perspective of the Samaritan woman. Imagine her feelings as she converses with Jesus. Record your thoughts and questions.
READthe passage through the eyes of Jesus. Imagine how he sees the Samaritan woman. Write your reflections.
READ these verses as one of the disciples. What are you thinking about Jesus? About the woman? Consider the questions that arise. What emotions are you struggling with? How does this change your thinking?
READ the story from the point of view of one of the villagers. Record in you journal the thoughts and questions you might have. What is your reaction to Jesus? To the woman?
“There may be no greater gift than a place to belong. While it may seem that you’re selling out to admit you need people, the irony is that you’ll never really know yourself until you’re in a healthy community. We only truly come to know ourselves in the context of others. The more isolated and disconnected we are, the more shattered and distorted our self-identity.” (McManus Soul Cravings).
What role did community play in this story? How did your understanding of belonging in community change as the story played out?
JOURNAL any new insights you have received. Thank God for his guidance.