Our Lady at the Well

When Jesus was going from Jerusalem to Galilee He traveled through Samaria. While His disciples went into town to buy food for lunch Jesus rested at the well. He is sitting on the well when a lady approaches. It is the middle of the day and she is alone. Jesus asks for a drink and the conversation that follows is perhaps the most astonishing conversation recorded in the gospels.

In most sermons I have listened to the lady is usually introduced as a loser — five and a half husbands, no lady friends (women usually come to the well in groups), defensive…

I think not. The conversation she has with Jesus is a left-brain conversation. It might be the only left-brain conversation recorded in the gospels.

Jesus won't move off the well. (He is in her space.) She comes anyway.

Jesus asks for a drink — demolishing all social and cultural expectations, both Jewish and Samaritan.

The lady can't believe it. “You, a Jewish man, asking a woman — a Samaritan woman — for a drink!” (“What are you really after?”)

Jesus says, “I have Everlasting water.”

She says, “You don't even have a cup! Do you think you are greater than our father Jacob who gave us this water?”

Jesus says, “If you drink my water you will never be thirsty again.”

She says, “Sir, I would like to taste your water.”

Jesus says, “Call your husband.”

She says, “I don't have one.”

Jesus says, “You have had five husbands and the one you are with is not your husband. You have spoken truly.” (He did not demean her.)

She says, “You must be a prophet! I've always wanted to know — why do you Jews make such a big deal about going to Jerusalem to worship?”

Jesus says, “Location is irrelevant. A true worshiper will worship God in ‘Spirit and in Truth.’ God is a Spirit and is seeking those who worship Him in Spirit truly.”

She says, “I know the Messiah is coming. When He comes He will tell us all things.”

Jesus says, “I am He.”

This is a straightforward statement.

No allusion.

No hesitance.

Said to a non-Jew.

Said to a woman.

Said to a woman wanting answers. (Maybe that is why her husbands wouldn't tolerate her?)

She was not a loser. The townspeople respected her enough to follow her back to Jesus. (She was already sharing the Living Water.)

We don't know her name.

We don't know the rest of the story.

But one thing I do know. When the great throng has sung the last song for the day and begins to disperse, I will request my personal guide to introduce me to the lady that Jesus met at the well.

I want to hear the rest of her story.


Eden Eisner is retired and enjoys the family and countryside surrounding him.

Photo by Jayberrytech from Pexels.


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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11063
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I find it interesting that in his first meeting Jesus told her who he was and what his mission was in clear easy to understand language. No parables just straight talk. She responds by successfully evangelizing her whole town. Jesus took years to get the deciples to a similar place. He never really got there with the Jewish leaders. Why was that?

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apparently they had a lot of baggage stemming from a lifetime of adventist i mean jewish customs…it’s something to always think about whether our religion does for us what we think it’s doing…i think it’s clear that the whole church thing, with even the best of intentions, can end up becoming a type of trap…

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Many sermons, especially by men, seem to assume the woman was at fault for her failed marriages. But women were basically chattel at that time, with very few rights. Husbands could divorce them with little or no provocation or reason. I’m sure many in the community blamed her for failure of her marriages, as happens today. And the social isolation would be a consequence, just as it is today for many divorces. BTW, I’ve been married for over 40 years to a very patient and loving man, so I speak from observation, not experience.


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