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.
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