Based on the story in John 4 …
You know me as the outcast with parched lips, parched soul.
I came thirsty that day, at high noon, with water jugs in hand.
Most women fetched water from the well in the morning, returning at dusk. Not me.
I went just once a day, at high noon when the wind would whip the sand into a gritty storm and the sun would lay hot against your back like a heavy sack. I took the well-worn trail to the well in the swelter of day. Because I wanted to be alone.
I mean, everyone in the village knew my reputation. They knew about my five failed marriages and the fact that I was “shacking up” again. I could hear their accusations when they ran ahead of me with their water jugs. They jabbed pointed fingers behind them, like knuckled arrows fixed on my sin.
So I came to Jacob’s well every day at noon – exchanging the heat of accusation for the sun’s scorch. An easy trade.
But that all changed when, one day, I found a man at my well. I was walking up the path, with a jug in my hand, and I could see him there. Panic rose up from my ankles, draining the color from my cheeks.
I expected to find no one here – certainly not a man. And not just any man, but a Jewish man – right here in Samaria. The Jewish people hate us – they really HATE us. They would travel miles out of their way to avoid us, the half-breeds.
But there he sat, tired and thirsty. I pursued my lips, diverted my eyes. I would fetch my water, and go. Fast.
His words splintered the silence. “Will you give me a drink?”
My mind spun. It was one simple request, but I knew the consequences of conversation. My mind screamed: RUN! My feet disobeyed orders. And so did my mouth. I spoke.
“You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan. How can you ask me for a drink?”
He said if I had any sense at all about who God really is, that I would be asking him for water. It sounded like crazy-talk to me.
So I said, “Sir, you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get water?”
And he said words I will never forget. Never.
He stood up, brushing dust from his lap. He pointed to the well and said, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.” He said the water He gives will become like a spring of living water welling up to eternal life.
I wanted that kind of magic water. I lifted my fingers to touch my cracked lips. To never thirst? To never have to come to this well again, in the scorch of day?
He interrupted my thoughts. “Go call your husband and come back.”
But you see, I didn’t have a husband, and I told him so. The man looked me straight in the eye and said: “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands. And the man you’re living with now isn’t even your husband.”
My knees went weak. Even the Jews knew my sin? I wanted to crawl under the nearest rock. But I couldn’t move. I tried to change the subject, lobbing a few theological questions at him and then one final, bold assertion: “I know the Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
But before I could leave, he threw a bombshell that rocked my world. He told me I didn’t have to wait any longer for the long-expected Messiah. He told me I didn’t have to look any further.
“I who speak to you am he.”
This time, I couldn’t form any retorts or questions. No words. Just … no words.
I dropped my water jug on the path and ran back to the village. All the way, I felt shame fall, like I was shedding my skin. Then I – the outcast with noonday sweat beading down her back – shouted through the streets: “Come see a man who knew all about the things I ever did, a man who knows me inside and out.”
And they listened to me. To me!
They went to see him – Jesus Christ, Savior of the World.
I wasn’t looking for Jesus that day. He was the farthest thing from my mind. But apparently He had come looking for me – sinful, broken me. He knew everything I’d ever done and spoke into my soul: “Come as you are, but I promise to never leave you that way.”
I went for water from a well. I found Living Water instead.
Submitted as part of Michelle DeRusha’s series “Hear it on Sunday” series. We heard the story from the pulpit yesterday. Today, I submit my first-person interpretation, which I have presented as a dramatic monologue.