The Woman at the Well (based loosely on John 4: 1-30 and 39-42)
by Lynn Kinlan
|Woman at the Well https://www.lightstock.com|
Word got around that Jesus was baptizing even more disciples than his cousin John and the Pharisees were not amused; baptisms, a Messiah and some holy spirit? It was spreading, becoming contagious, a threat to public order. Not yet ready to be confronted by the authorities, Jesus left Judea with his disciples for Galilee. This meant traveling through Samaria which for generations had been a land of sworn enemies toward the Jews.
By mid-day, the disciples grew hungry so Jesus suggested that they go into town to buy food. They agreed to meet him later at the landmark of Leah, Rachael and Jacob’s Great Well. Arriving there hot and tired, Jesus waited for someone to come with a jar to draw water.
A middle-aged woman of Samaria, already making her second trip to the well that day, walked past Jesus and began to fill the first of six water jars. Jesus said, “Give me a drink.”
“Are you talking to me?”
“Yes, please. Share a jar of water with a traveler?”
“You are a Jewish man and I, a Samaritan woman and yet, you speak as if we are friends. It is not right that we should drink from the same jar or speak like this in public.” Seeing her words had no impact, she continued, “For a Jew in the wrong part of town, you are very sure of yourself.”
Jesus responded, “If only you could see me truly and not judge by looks or birth. As you come to know the Divine, you will be the one asking for a taste of living water, poured out for everyone.”
“Hmmpf.” The Samaritan moved a few paces closer. She pointed her finger at the stranger and challenged him. “You, a refugee far from home, come here to the Great Well of my ancestors without so much as a jar and demand what is not your share. Then, you curiously speak of “living water”. Just where do I find this living water of yours?”
“Everyone drinking from this well will get thirsty again, but those who drink of the water I give them will never be thirsty. Living water is the fountain within, springing upward to eternal life.”
“Okay then. Give me this water that takes away thirst. I yearn for a life with no need to trudge miles to the Great Well two or three times each day.”
“Go and find your husband, bring him back here.”
“I have no husband. But surely, your offer of a fountain of living water still stands?”
“I know that you have no husband. In fact, you are a single mother, dependent on the charity of others, not all of whom are kind about it. Feeding your children is a constant worry. ”
The woman pushed her hair back and regarded the traveler with unease. “I can see that you are a prophet and know much.”
“I know all too well that the hour is coming – indeed, it is already here – when all believers will come to recognize the Source of Light and Life and worship together in the Spirit.
Offering the only jar she had filled, the Samaritan said, “I have been taught that the Anointed One will come for us and be able to tell everything.”
“Believe in your heart what you see before you; I am the Anointed One.”
Just then, the returning disciples stopped munching on the food they’d purchased and stared, shocked at the sight of Jesus in private conversation with an unaccompanied woman. Seeing the group of men regarding her in horror, the woman filled her jars and left, leaving one behind.
Back in town, she hurried to tell told everyone she met, “Come to the Great Well and see someone who knows everything I’ve ever done. Come now! I think he could be Our Messiah! He speaks of the Sprit and a special source of living water given to all. Her testimony convinced them and many hurried to the Great Well, some hopeful, others already believing. They crowded around Jesus and begged him to stay awhile, so he spent two days of fellowship with the good people of Samaria. A few remembered to credit the woman at the well with bringing them to Jesus and none from that point forward begrudged her poor family the charity and kindness due to them.
Lynn Kinlan is a member of the Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community of the NYS Capital Region.