Inspired by John 4
The morning was particularly long. Her mind was tormenting her with familiar voices: You’re useless…You’d be better off if you were never born! After all, today she had forgotten to put the leaven in the bread. She hadn’t even realized she’d done this until she was cleaning up and the jar sat unopened. By then her fingers were stiff from kneading and her heart felt tired. “Wasted time, energy, and food. Just like your life,” she said. She felt beaten, tired, lonely, and sad.
“The bread will be hard as a rock,” she whispered out loud, and she found herself agreeing that she, too, had become hardened.
She sighed. And then went to fetch some water.
Exhausted, she picked up her water jugs and balanced them on the beam across her shoulders. Today the weight seemed to ride on her bones. She felt every excruciating step. The road was dry and dusty and the hot sun beat upon her face as she walked toward the sunlight.
Her mind wandered to the last time she went to get water in the coolness of the early morning with the other women from the town. She felt their judgmental stares, heard their whispers and giggles. No one would even speak to her. They scurried past her leaving her to taste the dust from the road. They were so smug. She wondered if any of them had suffered a beating at the hands of a man who proclaimed to love her. She wondered if they had ever felt death to be the only escape. She vowed to never walk with them again. The heat of the day was better than the heat of their glances.
Caught in her racing thoughts, she might have missed his words, but the gentleness with which he spoke seemed to cut into her mind.
“Give me a drink,” he said.
Surprised, she looked up. Clearly this man was a Jew…why would he want a drink from HER cup?!
“Why do you ask me, a woman from Samaria, for a drink?” She questioned him defiantly.
He spoke with a tenderness she had never known from any man. “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who I am, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”
The hairs on her arms and legs stood up! Something deep inside of her wanted to hear more from him.
“Sir, you have no cup. The well is deep…Where would you even get this living water?” She felt the sarcasm of her hardened heart melting into his presence. “Are you greater than our father Jacob who gave us this well and drank from it himself?”
“Ah, yes…but everyone who drinks of this water will surely thirst again. Whoever drinks of the water I give will never thirst again.”
His words washed over her, and a warmth began to fill her heart. “Sir, give me this water so I won’t ever thirst or have to come here to draw water again!”
“Go, call your husband and come here,” he said.
My husband? she thought. Surely this gentle man would turn away from her if he knew the truth. She felt the familiar pangs of rejection rising up. “I have no husband.”
“You are right! You don’t have a husband. In fact, you’ve had five husbands and the man you live with now is not your husband.”
A chill ran through her. How did he know this? Where was this man from?! She wanted to run and hide in shame, yet there was something in his eyes, something that kept her feet fixed to the soil.
“Sir, you must be a prophet…so tell me, you say that Jerusalem is the only place to worship while Samaritans say it is here at Mount Gerizim.”
“Believe me, the hour is coming when it won’t matter if you worship the Father here or in Jerusalem. But,” his voice was still soft yet filled with authority, “the hour is coming, and is already here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.”
Her heart skipped, as she thought of what she’d been taught. Traditions were engrained at an early age (and repeated a thousand times over again). “I know the Messiah is coming,” the Samaritan woman finally replied. “And when he comes, he will show us all things.”
Their eyes met. His were filled with compassion and love; hers with deep longing.
Then he said, “I am the Messiah!”
The well inside her broke as tears flowed from her eyes. In that moment, forgiveness, love, mercy, wisdom and hope washed over her. She felt the heaviness, shame, and rejection lift from her very soul. She could feel it…he had freed her! In his words, she heard him say, “I AM,” for she remembered the words of her forefathers: I am that I am – a name they knew belonged to God! She was changed!
Instinctively she knelt before him, bowing her head. Jesus lifted her chin and smiled the most beautiful smile. His eyes danced as if to say, “You are chosen, my daughter. Now go and spread the good news!”
Their hearts connected. Trembling, laughing even, she ran away so fast she forgot her water jug at the well. And she told everyone in the town who she had just met.
Cindy Dullum and her husband live in Blaine. She enjoys spending time with family, camping, writing, studying God’s Word, and being creative. She has a passion to see women grow in their faith and encourage each other.