I am the woman at the well.
I see someone I fear to approach; what would one like him have to do with one like me? But he speaks to me. I do not want to speak back. I am a sinner, I am an outsider; who am I that he should speak to me? When I do, I do not know what to say that will not condemn me. I am working. The man needs the water from the well, and my job, among many, is to get it for him; he will be waiting; he may be angry with me if I am late. Yet this man insists on engaging me in conversation. He wants water from me too; another man who wants something from me?
But as I talk to him it is not what I think. I cannot take in all his words. What is this water he has? How can he offer it to me when he wants something from me? What is it he really wants? He seems to be offering me something; he wants something from me, but it is something good for me. I don’t understand. Then he asks me what I had feared.
When he asks for my husband I have to tell him I have none; but he knows, he knows the truth. I have sought to parry the truth, to hide it. The man I am with is not my husband, though I have had many; this one is not one of them. I am a sinner. Now he knows that he will not give me that water. He is telling me that neither on the mountain nor in Jerusalem is the worship of God to be confined. We will worship him in the Spirit. I am moved, strangely moved, and I tell him I know the Messiah will come and will teach. He tells me it is him. I believe. I do not know why, but it all makes sense somehow; something within me wells up; is it that water of which he spoke?
Then the other Jews turn up. I can see in their eyes their distaste. They know what I am; they despise me. They wonder why the Rabbi is even talking to the likes of me. But I don’t care. I go back to the town telling them who I have met. I don’t notice I have left the water jar behind me; I don’t need that water, I have the living water inside me.
He comes into the town. I am amazed. He stays with us. To be near him is enough; I hunger and thirst now only for him. As he speaks and acts, I see that others too come to see what I see in him. They too see he is the Messiah. I wonder whether the Jews with him see this. I see that some of them do. That headstrong fisherman who seems to be their leader sees it, I can see it in his eyes and his actions; that young man who is so close to Him, he too, sees it; but I do not think that the man who holds the common purse sees it at all; I don’t like or trust him.
It was all long ago now, and I tell my grandchildren of him. We worshipped him before he was crucified; we worshipped him after the Resurrection. He is God. His Spirit is with me. That moment at the well changed my life; it changed the world. Though I was a sinner He loved me; that opened my heart to something which bubbles up in it even this day.