Another day another trip to the well, such was my life. Water is one of the essentials for life, we need it to drink, cook,clean bathe-To Live.
This need for water caused me a daily trip to the well – the Well of Jacob that sat on the outskirts of my home city of Sychar, a city that had seen great promise and great struggle, beautiful worship and devastating war.
Being a woman, let alone a Samaritan Woman did not make for an easy life. The odds were stacked against me since the day of my birth; of course I did my part in making matters worse for myself – one bad decision at a time.
I went to the well each day at at my normal time, high noon. All of the other women – they went to the well in the early morning hours, it was quite the social hour. Me, I’m not much for idle chit chat, especially when I was often the topic of conversation or dare we say ‘gossip’.
There were few things in this world I had accomplished, avoiding was at the top of that short list. I did all I could to avoid the whispers, the side glances and the murmuring that I knew were directed at me.
I’d rather brave the hot, scorching sun then to have my ears burn with the words of the other women. You might, know how I felt if you have been on either side of that? Words can can be painful, wearing you down until there is nothing left.
As I arrived at the well to draw my water for the day, there was a man already there. He looked tired and worn, his sandals full of dust from traveling. I thought I looked bad coming out into the heat this time of day.
Then He spoke to me, directly to me. A simple question – “Can you give me a drink of water?”
Not that a man talking to me was anything new, this was the very reason I was an outcast – I was too good with men.
He was actually speaking directly to me and what shocked me was that he was clearly a Jew, speaking to me a Samaritan and a Women? This was just not done. Jews and Samaritans were once one, now the division between the two was deep.
Years before our tribes had split, from Judah. My people settling North of Judah in a land called Samaria. We were considered to be impure, our people married foreigners and began to worship their gods as well.
This caused Jews to hate us and they would have nothing to do with us, going so far as to re-route their travels far out of their way to avoid our land.
I could not believe that the Jew – would be looking at me – let alone speak to me.
He answered me by saying…”If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
I wondered if the heat had gotten to him? “Sir, you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
Did he not know how great a man that our Father Jacob was? He built this well, he and his sons– It is a deep well – a good well and is still running today – a mighty feat and this man did not even have a cup!
I must say, was very curious about this living water that he spoke of. Each day I came to this well empty, I filled up my jar, only to return again the next day, empty. Empty, the story of my life. It would be wonderful to not have to make this journey in the heat of the day ever again.
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
True! I was thinking to myself – I come to Jacob’s well and this well is a great well. I drink this water and still grow thirsty again and I need to return to the well day after day.
This Living Water must be something different. I decided right there and then, that I wanted this water that he spoke of I was tired, tired of it all.
“Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” I exclaimed. I was so excited even at the thought of it and then, He said these words, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
Clearly this man was some kind of prophet or rabbi – speaking to a a woman in public, breaking all the rules, in reality his question was valid, he should be speaking with my husband not me.
There was one BIG problem… “I have no husband”, I replied. What else could I say? Sometimes the less I say the better!
“You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
I could feel my heart beating faster in my chest and the blood rising to my neck, my face. Thee was my sin, slapping me in the face. The stopper was taken out of the jar, a dam had broken in my spirit and panic began to rise.
“Sir,” I can see that you are a prophet – That was for sure! How could this man know all about me – my life – my sin? I felt completely exposed.
What is a girl to do but change the subject…Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
I wasn’t sure I understood it all. It was time to end this conversation I thought, “I know that the Messiah, the Christ is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
And then he said these words that still ring in my ears and my heart to this day….
“I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
Things began to make more sense… His reason for being here was here to change all the rules!
• He told me all about my life, my sin
• He was offering me Living Water, that would wash away that sin
• Only the Messiah could do that
It would not matter where I worshiped
• No need to climb the mountain
• Go to a special place
• God’s throne of worship, my very human heart
Salvation did come from the Jews – He was standing right in front of me.
I was thrilled, beyond my wildest dreams. The old things, both right and wrong were passing away and a new thing was coming to pass – Jesus was the new thing.
No more fear, no more avoiding He was making things new, starting with me.
Jesus disciples soon returned and one thing I found strange, not one of them asked him why he was speaking with a Samaritan let alone a Woman, a sinful woman at that – a change had truly had come!
Once this Living Water began to flow within me, I could not stop the flood.
And flow out it did, remember me the woman who only went to the well at the noon hour to avoid contact with other women in the town. Me, the woman living with a man who wasn’t her husband. Me, the tramp, the outcast.
This living water, filled me so full, that I even left my water jar behind. I went back to the town and bravely proclaimed “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”
I couldn’t believe it, people not only listened to me, they believed what I said. Clearly they could see the change that had happened within me.
Many of my fellow Samaritans believed in Jesus because of my testimony that day, “He told me everything I ever did.”
They came and heard from Jesus himself, he stayed for over two days. The Messiah stayed with us, spoke with us, changed us. Because of his words many more became believers.
They said to me, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
I came to the well ALONE, THIRSTY, SINFUL, and EMPTY
I left LOVED, SATISIFIED, FORGIVEN and FOREVER FULL