Seraphira: Woman at the Well

My name is Seraphira. I have the worst record for marriage in all of Samaria. Even as a young girl, I was headstrong. My fierce independence grew stronger as a youth when I was told by some young Jews that Samaritans were inferior because they had intermarried with Gentiles. Men are attracted to me because I am pretty, but when they later discover my independent spirit, they hand me a divorce letter. I suppose I am fortunate to have had no children by any of my five husbands. After my fifth divorce, I finally decided to live with a man without the benefit of marriage. Since we aren't married, at least Gershom can't divorce me. Besides he seems to love me.

My home is in Sychar, a Samaritan town thirty miles north of Jerusalem. Most of the women here walk to Jacob's well in the cool of the morning to draw water. I go alone in the heat of midday to avoid the clusters of chatting women. Rather than speaking, they look askance at me because of my reputation. On this late winter day, I began my walk to Jacob's well to fill my pottery jar with water. I had just drawn my jar from the well and set it on the rock wall surrounding the well when a man spoke to me saying, "Give me a drink."

When I turned to face Him, I saw that He was a tall, broad-shouldered man with a handsome face framed with a neatly trimmed, black beard. Noting His Galilean accent, I questioned Him, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan and a woman?"

"If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked Him instead, and He would have given you living water."

When I pointed out to Him that He had no rope or jar to draw the living water, His response was, "Everyone who drinks from this well will thirst again, but whoever drinks my water will thirst no more. The water I give shall become in you a well of water springing up into eternal life."

So I decided to brave it and asked Him to give me some of His water to quench my thirst so I wouldn't have to make so many long walks to the well. But instead of giving me some of His water, He told me to go get my husband and bring him here. When I explained that I had no husband, he said, "Yes, true, but you have been married five times and the man you are living with is not your husband."

Feeling uncomfortable that He knew of my sin and concluding that He must be a prophet, I quickly changed the subject by asking the age old question, "Why do Samaritans worship on this mountain and the Jews in Jerusalem?" But instead of siding with either the Jews or Samaritans, He explained that God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth whether or not they are on the mountain or in Jerusalem.

Since I didn't completely grasp what He was saying, I said, "I know that the Messiah is coming some day, and He will fully explain these things to me."

Then He said to me, "I who speak to you am the Messiah."

Just then a group of men approached from the town calling out His name, "Jesus!" None asked why He was talking to a Samaritan woman, but I could tell they were perplexed that He would do such a thing.

As for me, I didn't care what they thought. I had just met the Messiah! Quickly I turned to hurry back to the town leaving my waterpot behind. When I finally arrived in the town, I went straight to the gate where the men would gather and boldly adjured them, "Come, see a man who told me all the things that I ever did! Can this be the Messiah?"

Much to my surprise, they listened to me and left the town to see this man of whom I spoke. I decided to stay in the town and tell anyone who would listen. As a result, many in Sychar believed on Him. Those who went out to meet Jesus apparently liked whatever He said because they pleaded with Him to stay with them for a couple of days which He did. Those who heard Him speak told me that they no longer believed just because of what I said, but more so because of what He, Jesus, said.

For days after He left, I could not put Jesus out of my mind. He was the first man I had ever met who didn't put me down. Even when He brought up my lifestyle, I felt that He cared about me. From this day forward, I shall love all the people in Sychar in the same way that Jesus loved me.

Based on John 4:3-42.

Copyright 1997 by John C. Westervelt

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