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Stolen Identification
by Marita Thelander 
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Meet Sami A.K.A. The Woman at the Well

It is going to be another hot day. The temperature was rising and already perspiration was dripping from her brow as she went about her morning routine. Most women would start their morning by going and fetching water from the community well. Not only was it not too hot in the earlier hour, but the water was cool and refreshing as well.

Sometimes the women would visit, chit-chat, and even gossip while enjoying a long cool drink of water. It was a refreshing, relaxing way to start the day.

Not Sami. You see, Sami wasn't like the other women. Sami was the one the other women gossiped about while they drank their cool water, refreshing their parched tongues as they flapped about in idol gossip. If they didn't have anything new to "share”, they would just rehash the old.

As Sami licked her dry lips, she poked her head out the door to see if everyone was back from the well yet. Children were playing in the streets. It seemed as if the morning had passed by as everyone hurried to finish their chores before the afternoon heat made things unbearable.

Sami quickly gathered her water pot and headed out. The anticipation of water made her throat stick together as she tried to swallow. Although the water would already be warm as she drew it from the well, she knew it would feel good in her mouth. She was so dried up from lack of water that she struggled to even blink as she stepped into the bright sunlight. With her head down, and quick steps, Sami headed towards the well.

This wasn't the life Sami had chosen. Somewhere along the way it was chosen for her. Her identity had been stolen long ago. After all, she was just a woman. Traditions and circumstances beyond her control dictated who she would become. It was, so she thought, her destiny.

Sami adjusted her water pots as she dared to look up and see how far she was from the well. Her steps stopped abruptly as she saw a man standing at the well. At first she was angry that she would have to encounter anyone, let alone a man. With determination she stepped forward to complete the task at hand.

If Sami could handle anyone, it was men. She learned how to handle men long ago. At least that's what she thought. In reality it was men that "handled" her. This was different. One man, a stranger, passing through, never to be seen again, and ignorant to who she was. She could handle it.

As Sami approached the well, she saw that this man was a Jew. Great! Not only is he a man, he is a Jew. She began to feel the sting of former judgmental comments. What will THIS man bring to her collection of wounds hidden in her heart? Avoiding eye contact, Sami bolstered all her courage to step up to the well and let her water pots down to receive the much needed moisture.

Then the unthinkable happened. This Man engaged her in conversation. He actually asked for a drink of water! Sami couldn't hide the sarcasm in her comment back. She bluntly asked him why a Jew would bother a Samaritan for a drink of water. Forget the fact that she was a woman. Being a Samaritan should have stopped him from asking. But a Samaritan woman, he really does have some nerve.

What this man said to her next had a strange impact on her. It was as if with every word he said a bit of her past seemed to melt away. Sami could feel this sensation that felt like water trickling down her bone dry body starting from the top of her head and slowly reaching her toes. Just thinking about it made her toes wiggle inside her dusty sandals.

This man was different then all the men she had known. He didn't really want anything from her. As a matter of fact, he wanted to give to her. His words seemed confusing if taken literally, but there was a sense of something unusual in his words. Never before had any man spoke to her in a way that made her feel a physical sensation.

The more she talked to him the more she felt like she was being washed. Not on the outside as one would bathe in the river, but something was springing up within her and cleansing her from the inside out.

Now, months later, she still visits the well alone in the heat of the day. Not to avoid people, but to remember the day her identity was given back to her. The day that a Jewish Man laid aside the traditions set by man and dared to speak to her, a Samaritan Woman. The day that she was cleansed from the inside out with something He called Living Water.

As she licked her lips anticipating the first drink of water for the day, she knew she physically would still be thirsty. But on that day, she drank of the spiritual water and her dried up, bitter, wounded insides were healed, never to thirst again.

JOHN 4:10, 13 &14 "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."
"People soon become thirsty again after drinking this water. But the water I give them takes away thirst altogether. It becomes a perpetual spring within them, giving them eternal life."

Read more articles by Marita Thelander  or search for other articles by topic below.

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