The unedited draft
Dust swirls around her feet as she slowly makes her way to the old well nestled at the foot of the mountain. It is the sixth hour and the desert sun blazes hot and heavy in the cloudless sky.
Sweat drips between her shoulders as she hoists the heavy clay pot onto her head. This is a task for a younger woman but she is childless and has no female relative to help.
It would have been cooler coming to Jacob’s well earlier but she wants to avoid the wagging tongues of the townspeople. This is the time of day when all but the very young seek shade and rest.
He is tired and thirsty. His followers have been sent on to buy food so he is alone at this well on the outskirts of Samaria.
He waits as the woman approaches. Her eyes are downcast and her face ravaged by the rays of the Mediterranean sun.
The woman of Samaria draws near and is startled when a voice calls out demanding a drink. Her eyes quickly note that this is a Jew. How well she knows her lowly status in his eyes. Why would this man be asking her, a shunned Samaritan, for a drink?
How well she knows her sinful state and here is a pious Jew asking her to serve him. Astonishment gives an edge to her voice as she retorts, “How is that you, a Jew, asks a drink of me?”
He begins to speak to her about living water. Water that is so pure that one drink would quench her thirst forever.
Hope begins to rise within. If she could drink of this water, even just once, then she would not have to walk in open shame to this well again.
The Jew asks her to call her husband to come as well to this well. The pain of her shame pierces her soul as she blurts out the sinful truth, “I don’t have a husband.”
She, who had been discarded by many men, lives in open sin with another. Disappointment is like dry sand in her thirsty soul. Averting her face she makes herself ready to leave the well.
The final draft
The shame erased
Jesus reaches out his hands to gently turn her face to his. Just one touch and the woman understood the spiritual refreshment that is hers for the taking.
With this man from Galilee there is no reason to hide her shame. The living water washes away the guilty stain as she drinks thirstily from the cup he holds within his hands.
The woman redeemed
Leaving her water pot at his feet she nimbly runs down the dusty road to the village. Drowsy townsfolk stumble from the shade as her voice calls them to come.
Rubbing the grit from their eyes they scarcely recognize the woman who stands straight and tall before them.
The watcher revealed
“Come see a man who knows all about the things that I have done,” she cries out to them. “He offered me living water to drink and he took away my shame.
With eyes no longer downcast the woman faces the gathering crowd and asks, “Could this be the Messiah?”
The water of life
The disciples return to the well and offer food to Jesus. He tells them that he has already eaten.
In bafflement they look around but see no traces of food. Jesus explains that he is nourished by doing the will of God.
Turning he looks at these men who struggle to understand. He speaks to them of a harvest that is ripe and ready to be gathered in. The ones who are thirsting for living water that gives eternal life.
A new chapter
The woman leaves her water pot, her livelihood, at the well. She has decided to follow this man she calls Messiah.
A crowd gathers around as she tells them about the man who waits at the well. Her words compel them to follow her as she leads them to the One who offers living water to all who ask.
Dust swirls around her feet as she leads them to the old well nestled at the foot of the mountain….
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