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The Well

The Well

A Novel

  • reading group guide
Could he be the One we’ve been waiting for?

For the women of the Samaritan village of Sychar, the well is a place of blessing—the place where they gather to draw their water and share their lives—but not for Mara. Shunned for the many sins of her mother, Nava, Mara struggles against the constant threats of starvation or exile.

Mara and Nava’s lives are forever changed with the arrival of two men: Shem, a mysterious young man from Caesarea, and Jesus, a Jewish teacher. Nava is transformed by Jesus, but his teachings come too late and she is stoned by the unforgiving villagers. Desperate to save her dying mother, Mara and Shem embark on a journey to seek Jesus’ help—a journey that brings unexpected love and unimaginable heartbreak.
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  • Howard Books | 
  • 304 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451688856 | 
  • June 2013
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Well includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Stephanie Landsem. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Introduction

In the small Samaritan village of Sychar, the well is the place where women gather to draw their water and share their lives with one another—but not for Mara’s family. Shunned for the many sins of her mother, Nava, Mara struggles to keep her family alive in the face of starvation and the threat of exile. Then their lives are forever changed with the arrival of two men: Shem, a wealthy young man from Caesarea with an air of mystery; and Jesus, a Jewish teacher who transforms Nava’s broken spirit with his talk of forgiveness. When Nava is stoned for her mistakes, Mara embarks with Shem on a journey to seek Jesus’ help—a journey that brings unexpected love and unimaginable heartbreak.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. Nava’s family is both shunned and sustained by their community. Discuss how charity is often a double-edged sword in the novel.

2. In the novel, marriage and friendships play an important part, especially for women. How has this changed see more

More Books from this Author

About the Author

Stephanie Landsem
Photograph by J Dunn Photography

Stephanie Landsem

Stephanie Landsem writes historical fiction because she loves adventure in far-off times and places. In real life, she’s explored ancient ruins, medieval castles, and majestic cathedrals around the world. Stephanie is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband, four children, and three fat cats. When she’s not writing, she’s feeding the ravenous horde, avoiding housework, and dreaming about her next adventure—whether it be in person or on the page.

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