Living waters. She was an unlikely hero. A woman in an age where women fell somewhere below the farmyard goats on the social ladder. Here was a woman who came from a despised rival community. And a woman who was even despised in her own community because she had diverged from the required social conventions.
She was so disdained that she couldn’t even bring herself to get water at the local well. No doubt it was a gathering place for gossip. Everyone had to have water, every day. But when she came to draw from the well, perhaps all the talking ceased. Perhaps all eyes followed her. What were they saying in their hearts? “Five husbands. Who does she think she is? And the one she has now isn’t even her husband. She’d better stay away from mine.”
So she stayed away from the well in the town center. Instead she trudged 45 minutes out to the well at the crossroads. And just in case, she went in the middle of the day, when it was hot and no local townspeople would be out there.
But she was so thirsty, and the man at the well knew it was for more than well water. She needed living water. She needed something that wouldn’t dry up. She always thought she had found it when a new guy came into her life. “Yeah, this is the one. Now I’ll know I’m worth something.” But then it would dry up and she’d be looking again. So thirsty.
But for once, her brazen willingness to talk to any man, anywhere, paid off. She shouldn’t even have been there alone, much less talking to a man in public. But here she was, and this stranger read her like a well worn, beloved book.
She was so parched for real affection, yet she turned it away every time. But the stranger knew what she really needed. Conscious worth. The stuff that doesn’t ever dry up. He invited her to ask for it. She did and he gave it to her. Or rather, he drew it out of her. He helped her recognize that it had always been there. But he unblocked the fountains. He dried up all the history of badness. He wiped it away. He found that pure stream of innocence, unpolluted. Unpolluted in her Father’s eyes. It changed her life.
How did he do it? His radical forgiveness wiped away everything she had thought of herself: unloveable, ugly, worthless, never measuring up.
Maybe we all have something like this woman inside that needs radical redeeming. That Christ is still here. It’s at a well inside you. Don’t be afraid to respond when it asks you for a drink. It will repay you for your attention with a lifelong source of quiet, conscious, free flowing self-worth.