Book Club Discussion Points
Updated: Feb 7
Attention Book Club members! 'The Silk Merchant of Sychar' is ideal for a book club or study group. Scratch the surface of the woman at the well account and you will find a treasure trove of issues and questions. Be ready for some hot debate! Read the Bible verses to answer the questions.
1 Honour and Identity
Psalm 127:3-5; Proverbs 31:10-31; Gen. 16:1-2; Gen 30:1-24; 1 Sam. 1:1-10; Luke 1:25
Leah lives in a culture of honour and shame.
From where does Leah get her honour and identity? From where do we get our honour and identity?
Does Leah’s source of honour and worth change?
Would Leah have made the same choices in today’s culture?
2 The Wrong Mountain
Gen. 12:6-7; Josh. 8:33; Josh. 24:25; Deut. 11:29; Gen. 33:19; Gen. 35:4; Josh. 24:32
Samaritans follow only the first five books of the Bible – the Torah. Why did they believe that the holy mountain was Mt Gerizim?
Is. 2:2-3; Isa. 66:20; Dan. 9:16; Micah 4:1-2; Joel 3:17; Zech. 8:3; Psalm 2:6; Rev. 20:4
Why did the Jews believe the holy mountain was Jerusalem?
John 4:21. What did Jesus say about the mountain?
3 A Multi-religious Society
2 Kings 17:24-41
How many towns were brought into Samaria to re-settle? Did they bring their own gods?
How many husbands did Leah have? Discuss whether you think there is a link.
Why did Jews despise Samaritans?
Who or what did each of these characters worship: Leah’s mother, Mariamne, Marcellus, Gaius, Simon the Sorcerer?
Who or what do people worship today – in Israel and Samaria; in your nation?
John 4:21-24. What did Jesus say about worship?
4 Marriage Ceremony
1 Cor. 6:19-20; Matthew 25:1-13; John 14:2-3; Rev. 19:6-9
Discuss the steps in Leah’s marriage to Simeon.
What was their fathers’ betrothal agreement? What did Simeon do to prepare for his bride?
When did they have the ceremony? When did they have the celebration?
Discuss why Jesus used the analogy of himself and the church as a bridegroom and bride?
5 The Test for the Unfaithful Wife
What happens to a woman’s body at menopause? Read Numbers 5:27-28. What are the implications of these verses?
Numbers 5:14 & 30
Discuss how this test, if used correctly, might help a marriage?
6 The Sixth Hour
John 4:6; John 19:14; Matthew 27:45-46; Mark 15:25, 33-34.
(Use a translation that is closer to the original e.g. KJV, NKJ, ESV, NASV.)
Many theologians consider John’s gospel to be written in Roman time while the other three are written in Hebrew time. (Not all agree and there are proponents for each side.) It is generally agreed that John was the last gospel to be written, around AD 85-100 and from the Roman city of Ephesus.
Compare the time references in the accounts of Jesus trial and crucifixion.
What would be the tenth hour if John is written in Hebrew time? In Roman time? Which makes more sense to you?
Does the timing of the sixth hour have any influence on the message and purpose of the account?
7 Our Purpose or God’s?
Deut. 18:15-18; Acts 7:37
Compare Ex 3:14 to John 4:26 & 8:23-29
What was the Samaritans concept of the Messiah?
Why did Leah run to tell the whole town about the man she had met?
What impact did this have on the town?
What was Leah known for in Sychar?
What was her motivation to go to the well?
Many people describe the John 4 woman at the well as the first recorded evangelist for Jesus. What does this say about how God works in your life?
This is Jesus’ longest recorded conversation. Why do you think John recorded it? What have you learned or what has the Holy Spirit whispered to you as you read the novel and as you have done this study?