Another dusty day in Samaria; women from the city of Sychar and the surrounding area were busy filling their water pots from the well. Jacob’s Well. In the land of Samaria. It was nearing the sixth hour, almost noonday, in the heat of the day. This was a bad time to be at the well, not only because of the oppressive heat, but also because of her.
“Better fill your vessels to the rim; it’s going to be hot today,” advised one of the women, as she sat down to rest her weary back.
Another of the women answered, “If it’s as it was yesterday, we have need to return here before darkness falls.”
A third woman joined in, “We can come here anytime of the day, except when the half-breed comes here to draw water.”
The second woman chimed in with bitterness in her voice, “I despise her! She is a pagan! No account pagan!”
The third woman answered, “You despise her because you fear her. Afraid that she might steal your husband as she did Nymythia’s”
“I despise her for a lot of reasons, not the least being that she’s a husband stealer. I want to avoid her presence. I want nothing to do with her.”
“And neither do I,” the second woman added.
Just then the woman who had first spoken interrupted their conversation. “Then you’d better hurry, for here the pagan comes---over there in the distance. We have only a few more minutes.”
The women finished filling the last of their water pots, then left hurriedly. They did not see the man walking alone toward the well. He came from the direction of Judea. There had been others with him, but they had departed toward Sychar, the small city a few miles east from the capitol city of Samaria.
The man sat down to rest at the well, tired and thirsty from his journey from the land of Judea. In a strange way he seemed serene, almost unaffected by the long walk he’d just made with his friends.
Just then the half-breed arrived at the well to draw water for the day. She was sur-prised to discover someone at the well, for usually she was alone there. She knew the other women hated her, but she didn’t care. They were just jealous of her! She looked at the visitor resting in the heat.
A man here at the well. How unusual. He has nothing with which to draw water. Wonder what he is doing here? Drawing water is women’s work. And he’s here in the middle of the day; he’s here with me! What shall I do?
The half-breed noticed his eyes, which seemed to look right through her! He looks so gracious and kind. Different from other men. There’s something about him, some kind of light, yes, that’s it! A light around him. Oh no, he is about to speak! What shall I do?
“Give Me a drink,” the extraordinary visitor said to her.
The half-breed looked around. No one else was present. Just the man and herself.
He’s a man, and men do not speak to women in public. What’s more, he is a Jew! Jews have nothing to do with Samaritans!
She didn’t know what to do, but she could not put off answering him. How can it be that he seems to know who I am?
“How is it that you ask me for a drink? You are a Jew, sir, and I am a Samaritan woman. Jews do not have dealings with us Samaritans.”
Evidently the man was unbothered by her being a Samaritan, for he was about to speak again. There was no trace of arrogance about him. What kind of man is this?
Then he answered her. “If you knew the gift God gives, and who is asking a drink of water from you, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”
The woman did not know what his words meant. How can he give me any water? He has no vessel with which to draw. I must inquire about this living water he speaks of.
“Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and this well is very deep. Where is the living water you speak of? Where can it be found? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this well? He and his sons drank of it themselves, and also their cattle.”
The man looked at her intensely, seeing her very soul. Then he gave an answer with a meaning she did not expect.
“All who drink water from this well will thirst again. But whoever drinks of the water that I will give shall never thirst again. For the water I give will become inside of the person a well of water springing up. Up to eternal life.”
“Sir, please give me this water, so that I will not thirst again. And so that I will not have to come all the way here to draw.”
He replied in an unusual and bewildering manner. He did not mention the water again. Instead he hit a nerve, as it were. “Go, call your husband and return here.”
He knows! He knows about me! But how can it be? What shall I answer? I can speak only the truth to this man. Somehow he knows me. His eyes are so penetrating, so all knowing. My lips can only speak truth to this great one.
“I have no husband, sir.” There. I said it. But he already knew!
“You answer truthfully. You have no husband, but you have had five husbands. And the one who lives with you now is not your husband. You have spoken the truth.” The man bore no hint of condemnation in his voice or manner.
This is more than a mere man! He knows too much. He must be a prophet. A Jewish prophet. How else would he know such things?
“Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshipped here in this mountain, the great Mount Gerizim; and you Jews say that Jerusalem is the place we ought to worship.”
He then looked at her with a gentleness she had never known from another human being. And He spoke to her as one concerned with her very soul.
“Believe me, woman. There is coming an hour when you will worship the Father neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem.”
The half-breed was spellbound. His words were magnificent. She sat down looking up at him as he continued to speak.
"You worship what you do not know. We Jews worship what we do know, for salvation comes from the Jews. But the hour is approaching, and is even now, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. Such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must do so in spirit and in truth.”
Such words I’ve never heard before! Please do not cease telling me such hidden things.
“I know, sir, that the Messiah, who is called Christ is coming. When He comes, He will declare all things to us so that we may understand.”
The man answered her calmly yet with undeniable authority: “I am He, the one speaking to you.”
Just then the men who were with Him earlier returned. They were astonished to find their Master speaking with a woman. What could He be thinking, speaking with a woman?
They glanced around eyeing each other. Almost opening their mouths in protest, they remained silent. As if on cue, the woman left her water pot and ran toward the city.
The woman hurried into the city of Sychar. I must tell everyone of this wonderful man! Seeing a group of men, she ran toward them, almost shouting, and at the same time trying to catch her breath.
“Come! Come see a man! He told me everything I have done! Is He not the Christ, the promised One!”
By now there was a gathering surrounding the woman. Could she be speaking the truth?
She had been at the well earlier. Is that where she saw him? At Jacob’s Well?
Those following the Man were by this time urging Him to take nourishment. It had been a long day and journey. They were all tired and hungry, each one calling out to Him: “Rabbi, eat! Here is food. Rabbi, eat!”
But He merely looked at them and softly replied, “I have food to eat that you do not even know about.”
Puzzled by His words, they turned to each other asking, “Did someone bring Him food to eat, while we were gone? Where is it?”
“My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me. I am sent to accomplish His work.”
His friends remained puzzled, wondering what He meant by these words. He knew they were in need of further explanation of the spiritual truth He was imparting to them.
“Do you not say that there are yet four months, and then comes the harvest? Behold, lift your eyes and look upon the fields. They are white for harvest even now.”
He pointed toward the gathering crowd from the city. Then He continued, “Even now he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life. Yes, he who sows, and he who reaps may rejoice together. Truly I tell you, that one sows and another reaps. I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored. There were others before you who labored, and you have now entered into their labor.”
Now many of the Samaritans from Sychar believed in Him, because the woman at the well that day testified of Him. She went about the city telling all who would stop and listen: “He told me all the things that I have done!”
Some of the people came to Jesus and asked Him and His disciples to stay in the city with them awhile longer. He must stay! He must! We must hear Him speak!
There were many who believed because of His word that He spoke to them. The woman was there among them, listening and pondering His words. The new believers came to the woman proclaiming their faith in Him: “It is no longer because of your words that we believe. We have now heard for ourselves, and we know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world!”
After two days had passed, Jesus and His disciples left and went forward into Galilee.
c. 2001 D~Ann Freeman, aka Deborah Donner
Bible "novelettes" are based on Scripture and never meant to replace it. Certain scenes and dialog are arranged for dramatic effect. Where applicable, the thoughts of the characters are in italics. The integrity of the Scriptures is maintained, and as always---the Bible is the final Word.
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