“Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again—ever.” –John 4:13-14a, HCSB
I wonder what she was thinking as she walked that well-worn trail on her own. Every day that trek to the well must have been a reminder…Of dreams unfulfilled. Of a longing unmet. Of shame. It was a walk most women made together, a chore done as a social engagement. Except for the outcast, the scorned.
With every step toward that well she could hear the whispers in her restless soul. All she ever wanted was love, the lasting kind. But men…they’re not the faithful types. And because she cannot extinguish the thirst to be held, wanted, she is that woman.
A kept woman. A mistress.
A man’s voice meets her at the well, drawing her attention from her feet. “I am thirsty.”
She stares at him. He is a Jew. Jews don’t talk to Samaritans, especially Samaritan women. Unless… She gauges his inspection. His look is not the seductive kind. She would know, after all.
“Why do you speak to me?” she stammers. “I am a woman. A Samaritan woman.” And it’s so much worse than that.
He cracks a small grin, as if he knows a secret.
Oh, no. Does every man in Judea know about me as well?
His voice drifts with kindness over the well between them. “If you knew who spoke to you, you would ask me for living water.”
Does he think he’s a magician? She snorts. “How will you draw the water, sir? This well is very deep.”
“Ah,” his grin spreads full. “But you see, woman, everyone who drinks from this well will thirst again. I am talking about living water—whoever drinks of it will never thirst again. It will become a spring life within.”
No more drawing water? No more taking the lonely walk of shame throughout town? “Sir, give me this water so I will not have to come here again!”
That knowing look crept back in his eyes. “Go, call you husband, and come back.”
Her heart stalled. Husband? Did he know? “I—” She swallowed. “I’m not married.”
His gaze didn’t waver. “Indeed, not at the moment. But you have been, five times. But the man you are with now…”
Her face burns as she casts her look to the ground. How is this possible? How can this man know the ugly, intimate details of her life?
How can he know all this…and still speak to her?
“You are a prophet.” And not like any religious man I’ve ever met. What makes you so kind to a woman you clearly know is unworthy? “Tell me, how do I worship God?”
“The Father wants people who will worship in spirit and in truth.”
Truth? I know the truth about me—and apparently so do you. Does God know? Probably.
She chances a glance back at him again. His face is gentle, and yet, absolute. Truth. Can He be? “The Messiah is coming. He will tell us Truth.”
He smiled like a proud parent. “Woman,” his eyes dance, as if he’s about to share that secret, “I am He.”
She knew it. But He is here, talking to her? A woman of…filth. Tears gathered in her eyes. He talked to her, and offered her living water—the kind that would satisfy her forever. The kind that she’d been longing for her whole life.
Suddenly, the invitation became clear. Everything that she’d searched for in life He held in His kind hands. Love. Belonging. Forgiveness. All that she’d thirst for, quenched by his living water. Water that would satisfy. Water that would cleanse.
He would give it to her. All she must do is ask.