Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Water Man

Based on John 4:1-28

It is nearly noon.

Hair sticks to my neck and temples in ringlets. The dampness of my sweat has made my skirt heavy and I walk slowly. Little rivers run down my spine and behind my knees as the heat punishes me. I see it laughing as I look at the little waves of hotness hovering above the path—distorting my view of the well—Jacob’s well.

The water pot on my head gives some relief as it blocks the direct rays of the sun, but its weight makes the pounding behind my ears nearly unbearable.

I am weary.

I am thirsty.

I am so thirsty.

As I shuffle along, feet gray from the dust, I notice something, someone, sitting there—at our well—at Jacob’s well…a foreigner—a man.

“Will you give me a drink?”

Is he really asking me? I am a woman—a Samaritan? I think he is a Jew. Why does he speak? Jews abhor Samaritans. Men do not approach women in this way—and never Samaritan women. Suddenly I stiffen in fear and look behind me hoping the others are not far off. I see no one. Tentatively, I speak…

“You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?”


As I say this, I look into his eyes.

He is a peaceful man.

He will not hurt me.

“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.”

Emboldened by his gentleness—his acceptance—I speak again…

“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 flocks and herds?”

He doesn’t answer my questions, but continues telling me about this water—His water. Living water.


I am so thirsty.


“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.”

Just think; no more thirst; an eternal spring in me! This cannot be!

“Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

Is he crazy—this water man at Jacob’s well?

I start to leave, my pot unfilled. The water man’s words make me feel strange.

And then he says it:

“Go, call your husband and come back.”

“I have no husband,”  I reply.

He has no idea what kind of woman I am. Dirty. Damaged.



So thirsty.


I want to get away. I turn again, but he catches me gently.

He touches me.

A Samaritan.

He puts his hand to my face, my cheek in his palm. My tears fall, making stripes on his dirt-covered skin and he tells me,

“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.”

His words, so soft I can barely hear them, do not condemn.

They search.

They see.

They know. How do they know? Who is this man who sees what I have done? Who tells me everything I ever did?


My mind is racing.

My mouth is dry. I cannot swallow.

I am so thirsty.


His hand lowers slowly. He is a prophet…speaking of our Father—Jacob’s Father—YAHWEH.

I am confused, but I no longer want to leave. I want to hear his voice. Does he know of God’s promised one? The salt of my tears releases my tongue:

“I know that Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

His eyes bore into my damaged spirit. He comes closer. Quietly, he speaks again.

“I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

Suddenly, the wind stirs the sand. Clouds thunder affirmation. Water rains down from Heaven. It drenches my clothes, my face. It fills my water pot, my soul.

He is here! My Savior!

And He loves me! He loves me!


I thirst no more.

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