Woman at the Well
A Scripture Drama from John 4
[Jesus enters and sits on a stool draped with a dark cloth (to look like a rock) near the well.]
Narrator: He came to a town in Samaria named Sychar,
which was not far from the field
that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob's well was there,
and Jesus, tired out by the trip,
sat down by the well.
[Woman begins to enter and will sit on well seat.]
It was about noon
and his disciples had gone into town to buy food.
A Samaritan woman came
to draw some water.
Jesus: [to woman]
Give me a drink of water.
Woman: You are a Jew,
and I am a Samaritan—
how can you ask me for a drink?
Jesus: If you only knew what God gives,
and who it is
that is asking you for a drink,
you would ask him
and he would give you living water.
Woman: Sir, you don't have a bucket
and the well is deep.
Where would you get living water?
Our ancestor Jacob gave us this well; he, his sons,
and his flocks all drank from it.
You don't claim to be greater than Jacob,
Jesus: Whoever drinks this water
will get thirsty again;
[draws water already in well bucket and pours into water jug]
but those who drink the water that I will give
will never be thirsty again.
The water that I will give
will become in them a spring
which will provide them with living water,
and give them eternal life.
Woman: Sir, give me this water!
Then I will never be thirsty again,
nor will I have to come here
and draw water.
Jesus: Go call your husband,
and come back here.
Woman: I don't have a husband.
Jesus: You are right when you say
you don't have a husband.
You have been married to five men,
and the man you live with now
is not really your husband.
You have told me the truth.
Woman: I see you are a prophet, sir.
My Samaritan ancestors worshiped God
on this mountain,
but you Jews say that Jerusalem
is the place where we should worship God.
Jesus: Believe me, woman,
the time will come when people
will not worship the Father
either on this mountain or in Jerusalem.
You Samaritans do not really know whom you
we Jews know whom we worship,
because salvation comes from the Jews.
But the time is coming,
and is already here,
when the real worshipers will worship
the Father in spirit and truth.
These are the worshipers the Father
wants to worship him.
God is Spirit,
and those who worship him
must worship in spirit and in truth.
Woman: I know that the Messiah,
called Christ, will come.
When he comes
he will tell us everything.
Jesus : I am he,
I who am talking with you.
Narrator: [small group of 5-6 come in and gather near Jesus]
At that moment
Jesus' disciples returned;
and they were greatly surprised
to find him talking with a woman.
But none of them said to her,
"What do you want?" or asked him,
"Why are you talking with her?"
Then the woman left her water jar,
went back to town, and said to the people there,
Woman: [leaving stage]
Come and see the man
who told me everything I have ever done.
Could he be the Messiah?
[woman meets a group representing people of Samaria
and all gather on stage opposite disciples]
Narrator: So they left the town and went to Jesus.
In the meantime the disciples were begging Jesus:
Disciples: Teacher, have something to eat!
Jesus: I have food to eat
that you know nothing about.
[Disciples mumble amongst themselves.]
My food is to obey the will of him who sent me
and finish the work he gave me to do. You have a
"Four more months and then the harvest.
" I tell you,
take a good look at the fields;
the crops are now ripe
and ready to be harvested!
The reaper is being paid
and gathers the crop for eternal life;
so that the planter and the reaper will be glad
The saying is true,
and another reaps."
I have sent you to reap a harvest in a field
where you did not work;
others worked there,
and you profit from their work.
Narrator: Many of the Samaritans in that town
believed in Jesus because the woman had said,
"He told me everything I have ever done."
So when the Samaritans came to him
they begged him to stay with them;
and Jesus stayed there two days.
Many more believed because of his message,
and they told the woman,
"We believe now,
not because of what you said,
but because we ourselves
have heard him,
and we know that he is really
the Savior of the world."
PREPARING A SCRIPTURE DRAMA
Almost any story in Scripture can be transformed quite easily into a drama. The following notes, prepared by members of Christ Community Church during their work with John 4, may help you prepare a Scripture drama for your own congregation.
—Begin by reading through the Scripture passage and deleting all of the "he said" / "she said" phrases and identifying the different speakers throughout the piece.
—Some shifts in narration may be helpful in creating a smooth flow. For example, the well story in John 4 begins with narration, followed by one sentence from Jesus, followed by more narration, followed by the woman's first speech.
For a more even flow, we included the second line of narration with the first, permitting a nice smooth dialogue between Jesus and the woman.
—To make the language more inclusive, we changed "men" (v. 21) to "people," made the pronouns in verses 13-14 plural instead of singular, and spoke of a planter and a "reaper" instead of a "man who plants" and "man who reaps" (vv. 36-37).
—We reviewed the script, adding directional cues for the actors.
—Finally, we typed out the passage in script form, using an indentation style to highlight the sentence phrases for the speakers and making it easier to read/follow.
Complete and elaborate costumes are not necessary. Visually hint at biblical times by using cloth pieces (square or rectangular) to drape over shoulders or head, or to wrap around waist. Use a variety of colors for visual appeal.
With a few simple supplies that you are likely to have around and a willingness to work with an emerging design, your congregation can easily create visual aids for worship celebrations and dramatizations. Group efforts in this kind of project can be a great community-building experience, particularly for a youth group.
We used the following materials in building props for the well story:>
wire (to wire pieces of chicken wire together)
scrap wood (e.g., 2' x4')
old sheets or paint drop cloths
wallpaper paste/wheat paste
bucket for mixing paste
spray paint (several colors)
black paint in can with brush
small cardboard boxes to shape wire over
empty plastic bucket that you don't need back - (5 gal. nice)
plywood for base to build well on (e.g., 5' x 5')
basin to hold well water
jug for woman
long log for lever
log with a "V" branch for lever stand
1" x 1/2" -woodstrips to brace lever stand
To create the props we followed these steps (you can adapt this construction process to make many other props. Use your imagination!):
- Mark bucket and basin layout on plywood. Secure blocks of wood around those markings and nail from underside. Blocks will prevent bucket and basin from moving.
- Secure log with the "V" branch (for lever stand) from underside. Then brace at angles with wood strips cut to appropriate length.
- Cut and randomly shape chicken wire over bucket, around the basin from plywood to edge of basin, covering the lever supports if you can. Staple to bucket seat and plywood base. You do not need to secure the chicken wire to the well basin—just bend around the edge. (Shape should not move when someone sits down on it.)
- Mix paste and dip strips of old sheets, using hands to remove excess paste. Cover and drape over chicken wire, leaving wrinkles and unusual shapes. Allow to dry for several days.
- Spray paint with one color chosen for rock (a shade of tan, brown, slate, gray.) Then from 12-15 inches away spray a highlight color such as a deep green-gray and possibly one other color lightly in various spots.
- With a fairly dry brush, tip lightly loaded with black paint, quickly and lightly skim the "rock" surface to highlight only the raised surfaces and edges of the rocks. This is the easiest way to get a shading effect.
- Carve or drill a hole for the rope in the lever log and rest in crotch of stand. Attach water- drawing bucket to end of rope. To lift bucket from well, lift lever, pull up rope, then lower lever again, and bucket will hang—grasp with hand and pour!
The script, based on the Good News Version of the Bible, was prepared by Pam de Boom, youth director for Christ Community Reformed Church, Clifton Park, New York.