I stared at him. "I'm bored with you", I thought. "You're no different than the others, just another disappointment. Why am I wasting my time with you?"
I grabbed my pitcher and headed out and away, hoping beyond hope that today would be different, I could be different...I could find someone or something worth my time, a reason to keep looking forward, someone who wouldn't come and go, like all the others.
As I approached I saw a traveler...this is what I was secretly hoping for, a diversion...but it was obvious as I got closer, he was a Jew. My heart sank.
I'm used to people, men in particular, staring at me...sizing up what I can offer them. At first I thought this one was no different, Jew or not.
But then, He asked me for a drink.
"Well," I mused "you must be even more desperate for a diversion than me", but of course I didn't say that! Instead I asked the obvious, "How come you, a Jew, approach me...a woman, a Samaritan, to help you?"
His eyes unnerved me. What was I to make of him?
"If you knew just how much God wants to give you and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water."
Riddles...why was he talking in riddles?! What is living water? I am not one to miss an opportunity; how could I try this living water?
Did this man know something I didn't? We had some common ancestry but these Jews were always thinking themselves superior, purer, more entitled. I had just as much right to any water in these parts as he did. We've been drinking from these waters for generations.
He interrupted my thoughts, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again and again,"
Ha! How well I knew. If there was anything I knew it was thirst...endless, unrelenting thirst - literally creaking to be quenched.
"but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water I give quenches thirst forever, like a gushing internal fountain!"
"Hallelujah!" My mind raced...I'm tired. I'm hot. I'm thirsty! I'm sick of making this same trek day after day after day and still I must keep coming back. "I must have this water you're talking about!"
The man looked deeper still into my eyes (if that was even possible) "Go call your husband and then come back."
What?! I knew it! A catch, there was always a catch. Oh well,
"I have no husband" I blurted.
"So true! You've had five and now you are with a man you didn't bother to marry!"
Just my luck...A Jew AND a prophet!
What business had he in commenting on my life? I admit I'm a bit of a mess; but who is he to tell me? Jews, always judging! I wanted him to mind his own business...
"Live your life and worship God in your own way and I will in mine."
But He wouldn't let it be; He wouldn't let ME be!
So He explained to me that life with God is not a who's who game...we have a common Father who invites us all to so much more than duty and tradition. It was becoming clearer to me that we weren't really talking about water at all! We were talking about life...deep life, real life, gushing life!
This man, how did He know these things? How could He offer a woman like me such promises, as if I could just come to God as I was?
And then, something inside me recognized hope like this...of knowing God as one of His very own children, it sounded a lot like the hope of Messiah. This hope had always seemed so far off. I had figured life was life and I made of it what I could. The "someday" of Messiah had always seemed so far away,
I could wait to really try to understand...couldn't I?
"I am He"
He interrupted my thoughts, again!
"I am He"
Just then a group of men, apparently with him, approached. I could tell by their murmuring to each other they were wondering why He was talking to me...but amazingly none of them said a word to Him about it.
I felt dizzy...stumbling from my jars I ran in the heat and the dust, waving my arms and yelling to everyone I saw: "Come meet a man who knew everything about me! I think it's him...the Messiah! I can hardly believe it!!"
Knowing me...knowing there was plenty to know about me, the people were compelled to go after him. They were curious as I was, thirsty as I was. And in meeting Him, they saw for themselves the truth of God's Spirit in Him. And we all knew,
He was everything we ever hoped for and more than we ever wanted.