by M. Jolaine Szymkowiak

Living Water
The Woman at the Well, a retelling of the story
M. Jolaine Szymkowiak
John 4:1-42

One day quite some time ago, I lived in a small village in a cottage distant from the others. This particular day I left the coolness of my home at noonday to go to the well outside the village for water. You see the villagers don't particularly like me. I started to say they don't know me, nor have they ever tried to know me; however, the opposite may be truer. They do know me. This is a small village, and my past, not all of my own choosing, has alienated the women against me. The men just leer. I pick this time to go to the well so I will not hear the hurtful things they say about me.

The well is no short distance from my little home. In order not to have to pass by their homes and hear the hurtful words of the women, I take a path not much used. It is longer but . . . The sun is hot, even the breeze from the hill country is hot. As it flows across the lush fields in the valley with the shadow of Mt. Ebal on one side and Mt. Gerizem rising on the other, it is a beautiful sight. We Samaritans worship God at the holy site at the top of Mt. Gerizem. The temple has long been destroyed but the "holy site" remains. Having this place to worship and because of racial tension, we do not go to Jerusalem to worship in the temple there.

Ah, there is the well, Jacob's Well. Jacob, the ancestor of both Jew and Samaritan, built this well. The water is still as clear, cool and pure as it was then. As I come around a curve in the path and just over the knoll, there sits a man, a Jew, beside the well looking out over the vastness to the Mounts of Ebal and Gerizem and the fields between. Now what do I do? Do I stop and wait for him to leave? Do I go back to my home with empty water jars, just to have to come out here later when the others will be here?

All of sudden he sees me and he beckons to me. He asks me to draw him a drink of water! Such boldness ...

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