Dinah drew the water bucket out of the ancient, stone-rimmed well. Water sloshed on her hands and she wiped them on cheeks flushed coral in the sun. Nearby, honeybees droned in honeysuckle vines and birds sang in the plane-tree grove, planted, some said, by Jacob himself. For centuries, Jacob’s Well had sustained Dinah’s people, as it had Jacob and his sons.
Dinah mulled over the words of the ancient blessing, which her people – the true descendants of Israel – attached to Jacob’s Well: To you, Joseph, whom I have favored over your brothers, I give this ridge of land taken by my own sword: God will be with you. Jacob died with the benediction still warm on his lips.
That was before the majority of the people were sent into exile, and Samaria, their parcel of land, plundered. Samaria was repopulated by non-Israelites, who intermarried with the remnant of Jacob’s descendants. Mongrel race: That is what the Jews called them.
Jacobs’s blessing had come to nothing but empty dreams of dawning favor and distant gain, passed down from father to son.
Dinah was not a son to whom the blessing would flow. She was a daughter who had shamed her family. She stopped expecting blessings long ago. Dinah knew that happiness for a woman in her society came from marriage and a home filled with children. Dinah had neither. Surely Jacob’s blessing had passed her by.
Dinah poured water in her jar. Precious water. Without it she would shrivel and die in the desert wind. Sunlight glinted on her wedding ring. Jacob’s water is more precious than this sham symbol of a marriage vow! She laughed at her cynical musings, then glanced around, relieved to be alone. Don’t be ridiculous! She upbraided herself. Alone? Even servant-women avoid the well at midday. Dinah hoped to avoid the women who ridiculed her.
Today was her wedding anniversary. It wasn’t a real marriage. This time she hadn’t received a contract, as she had with previous marriages. Dinah remembered her first wedding many years ago. Found to be barren, her husband divorced her. She returned to her father’s house a broken woman. Soon, she discovered no one wanted another man’s discarded wife: Not for marriage. Dinah’s heart died and she was glad of it: The hurt stopped. Thirty-five years and five unions brought Dinah to her fiftieth birthday. Her Jubilee.
“Would you please give me a drink of water?” A voice quietly asked.
Dinah looked up to see a Jew, from the looks of his clothes, watching her. Strange that he should speak to her. “Why do you ask me for water? You risk ridicule to associate with an unclean Samaritan woman,” she answered.
She saw kindness in his eyes as he spoke of the gifts God wanted to give her. She laughed at the notion: He must be a Samaritan to speak of God’s promises. What was that he called her? Daughter. Why would he call her that?
“You do not know who is asking you for a drink. If you did, you would ask me for the water that gives life,” he said.
What did he mean? Jacob’s Well had always been their source of life-giving water. “Sir, you can’t get water from this well. You don’t have a bucket to draw with, and the well is deep,” she said.
Why had she asked did he think he was greater than Jacob? He said nothing to deserve her caustic remark.
He seemed not to notice her comment, but said, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. The water I give is from the flowing fountain that gives eternal life.”
Dinah remembered the women who said cruel things to her and replied, “Sir, I would love to drink that water! I wouldn’t have to come to this well again!”
Jesus looked deeply into her wounded heart and said, “Go, Dinah, and bring your husband to me.”
She drew a sharp breath and dropped her eyes. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she whispered, “I do not have a husband. I have shamed myself and my family. May God forgive me”
Then, Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your sins are forgiven. Go home to your family and sin no more. You are made whole.”
. . .Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all it’s inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you. Leviticus 25:10 New King James Version.
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