• Ancient Paths

The Woman at the Well

by Don Narkevic

A plain Jane without name or title but known to most as sinner, adulteress, yet, Jesus went out of his way to meet her, a Samaritan, an immoral outcast, worse, a woman, not a member of the typical throng who dogged Jesus for a miracle, a bit of fish, a slice of heaven; this non-Jew couldn’t distinguish Jesus from a mangey shepherd, let alone seek him out.

Put away five times, now sleeping with some guy, she sought water at noonday when the gossipers had gone, except she meets this Jesus fellow, not at his best, grumpy, dirty, tired, thirsty, but for some reason he wastes his time talking to her, "Give me to drink." her reply, "No bucket, no water." Jesus replies with a promise of "living water."

The woman knew of dead water, the dead water of relationships, the dead water of ostracism, the dead water of sins, sins of hers this prophet now exposed like pointing out birds perched on the limb of a Judas tree.

As she moves closer to him, close enough to smell the dust and sweat, he told her, "You will not thirst again." "I know," she said. "The Messiah is coming." Then he confessed, "I am he." The woman heard many things, lies from scheming men, insults from neighbors, but never God-talk from one so unlike God. After the woman left for town, Jesus filled her prodigal jar to the brim and waited for the droughty crowd the woman would bring, all in need of a strong drink.