I came in the sixth hour, certain, I hoped, to meet with no one there or on the way. I walked alone, weary of the company of men and desperate to avoid the cruel, accusing stares of women. I was thirsty.
Along the path to Jacob's well I waded in my past, but only so deep as not to drown in its cold and empty darkness. So many promises the world had offered to me and I believed them. Yet every time I lifted its cup to my mouth its sweetness turned bitter and left my spirit dry and wanting.
My wandering mind quickly caught up with me as I noticed someone resting near the well. To my dismay I discerned that he was not from Sychar nor was he a Samaritan but a Jew. Trepidation gripped my heart but insistent thirst persuaded me to draw from the well - wary not to look into the face of this intruder.
As I lowered my water jar I felt his eyes upon me. I knew eyes. Promising, lusting, incriminating, loathing eyes. I'd come to recognize the intent and speculation behind the eyes that frequently fell on me, but as curiosity compelled me to turn my face toward him I could not imagine the motive behind the unearthly eyes of this Jew.
A strange familiarity about him drew me though I had never seen this one before. His stare unnerved me and yet as our eyes met there quickened deep inside of me emotions I thought had long since succomed to hopes denied. There was nothing particularly attractive about this foreigner yet his peaceable countenance engaged my attention. And the fact that he had not departed in disgust upon my arrival filled me with an unusual expectation.
As water seeped into my jar the Jew smiled slightly and asked me for a drink. I was aware that we were alone and yet I searched for another that he might be speaking to. As if he understood my dilemma, his smile widened and he nodded deliberately.
Through choking shame I asked him why he would speak to me and as he reached for the drink I offered with shaking hands he touched me. My heart leaped and raced with reason yet I could not move as he held the ladle aloft and spoke of living water. He said that if I knew the gift of God and who he was that I would have asked him for water. He told me that I would never again thirst if I drank it. I was not yet convinced but intrigued and bade him give me some. His gazed invaded my soul like salve an open wound as he handed me the ladle. "Go call your husband and come back", he said, and when I told him I wasn't married he whispered that he knew.
And he did know. He knew me and everything about me. I first thought him to be a prophet, yet, as he continued to speak such truths and with undeniable authority I finally, fearfully realized that I stood in the very presence of my Messiah. He explained everything and filled me to overflowing with joy and awe.
I left my jar behind and ran back to town telling the people about the man with living water.
He stayed with us there in Samaria for two days and many of my people believed on him. I learned to worship in truth as I sat at his feet and as I lifted his cup to my lips the bitterness of the past dissolved into beautiful promises. I was satisfied.
I'll not return to Jacob's well once more in the sixth hour, but when the world is here, for the Messiah has become in me a well of water springing up to eternal life from which the parched can drink and never thirst again.
Very perceptive piece of a story we all know so well yet you narrated it in such a moving manner it felt like I was reading the story of the Samaritan woman for the first time. Brilliant writing, just one thing I am not sure how this bit "but when the world is here" in the last paragraph fits in? Otherwise, brilliant, brilliant and again brilliant!
Nicely done, Donna! I love this line: "I waded in my past..." and this one: "I felt his eyes upon me. I knew eyes. Promising, lusting, criminating loathing eyes" (..although I think it should be 'incriminating'?). You've certainly got into her skin - and I lived the situation with you. ~ Violet