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The Woman at the Well

The Woman at the Well

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Published by Doug Floyd
Drawing from the cultural nuances and text of the John 4 passage, I am attempting to paint an imaginative sketch of the woman life and her encounter with the Lord.
Drawing from the cultural nuances and text of the John 4 passage, I am attempting to paint an imaginative sketch of the woman life and her encounter with the Lord.

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Published by: Doug Floyd on May 13, 2007
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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01/01/2013

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The Woman at the Welldougfloyd – 5/2007Thirsty and hungry he sits, waiting, baking in the billowing heat. Eyes burningfrom the salty sweat that baptizes his forehead in the noonday sun. As he waits,he watches, drifting in and out of a thin consciousness.He watches as Abraham’s servant walks up to the well and asks a young lady for adrink. Soon they leave together, and a marriage between Izaak and Rachel beginsunfolding. There’s something about wells and love.Tamar comes every day when the blistering heat of the noonday sun is at its peak.This miserable heat is better company than the constant cackling of the villagewomen who curse her as she passes by. So she walks alone in the heat of the daywhile other rest in the shade. She doesn’t care. She doesn’t need them. Shedoesn’t need anybody. She comes to the well to find water, but who knows what elseshe might?Interrupting her musings, he looks up and asks, “Can you give me a drink?” “What? A Jew asks a woman of Samaria for a drink?” Tamar is well aware of thecultural and religious taboos this stranger has just violated. He talked to awoman. Some rabbis suggest that if a man talks to a woman for over twenty minutes,you must assume they’ve been intimate. Plus a Samaritan woman at that!Jews despised the Samaritans. She remembers as a child watching a Jewish familypass through her town. She waved. They scowled and turned away as though she weresome kind of wild animal.“What does he really want, she wonders mischievously.” “If you had recognized who is asking you for water, you would have asked him forliving water instead,” He says climbing to his feet.“Wow he must think he is really special!”Looking around for his things, she queries, “You don’t have a pot or anything toeven hold the water. This well is deep, so I am not sure how you even begin tooffer me living water. Do you have some well around here I don’t know about? Areyou somehow better then Jacob, our Father? He drank water from this well. His sonsdrank from this well. And now we enjoy the gift of his well.”“This well can satisfy your thirst for just a moment. And then you’re thirstyagain. The water I offer keeps satisfying. It springs up inside a man as streamsof living water flowing on and on and on.” Not sure if he’s flirting with her, she blurts out, “That sounds like my kind ofwater. If it’s as good as you say, I’m ready to drink.” “Then go get your husband, and come here.”“I don’t have a husband.”“That’s right. You’ve actually had five husbands and the one you’re with today isnot even your husband.”The game was over. His words cut to the heart.
 
Instantly, Tamar traveled back in her mind to a large family gathering. It was acool fall night and all her relatives had gathered in harvest celebration. Musicfell on her ears like rain from the sky. The world was a celebration.Intoxicated by this night of dancing and singing and eating, she fell into thearms of young man. Before she knew what she was doing, she had given away her onlypossession. In the middle of their escapade, they were caught, exposed in front ofthe entire village.She publicly shamed the family. Responding in the only way he knew, her fathercried out and grieved as though a child had died. The crisp fall air turned staleand a sick, pit-in-your-stomach gloom swallowed all festivity.Tamar died that night. She died to family and friends. She left her home and neversaw her family again. Learning to survive on her own, she did what a woman had todo. Men came and went. Each one with promises of a better life. Each one more vilethan the last.Worthless and used up, she grew hard to the world. Nothing or no one had comeclose to penetrating her fortress of indifference in years. A chance meeting witha strange Jew, and the fortress walls began to tremble. His words pierced her soullike javelins.Grappling to recuperate, she says, “You must be a prophet.”She wonders, “Could he be the prophet that Moses spoke of?” If so, maybe he canfinally affirm our worship.”Not only was Tamar a marginalized woman. She came from a marginalized people. Theywere outsiders. Cursed by the Israelites even though they held to the law andworshipped at the Holy Mt of Gerizim.She asks, “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that Jerusalem isthe place where people ought to worship."Looking directly into her eyes, Jesus proclaims, “Woman, listen to me and believe.The time is at hand to worship the Father in heaven directly. No more will it bethis mountain or that mountain. From now, the true children of God will worshipthe Father in spirit and truth. He is drawing all men to himself and the hour isat hand for the true worshippers of God to wake from their sleep.”Jarred by his direct response she replies, “If only the Prophet were here. Hewould tell everything we need to know.”“I who speak to you Am He.”His words echoed through every fiber of her body from her head down to her toes.Suddenly she realized she was running. Running madly into the village as thoughshe were racing for her life. She was crying.Crying for the first time in fifteen years. Her cold, hard, calloused heartsuddenly ached again. She could feel something. She was alive. Like the teenagerthat died so many years ago, she was alive again.Alive! Alive! She shouted, she cried, she laughed. Surely the people will think Iam insane but who cares because I’ve seen him, I’ve seen him, the One is here, Hetold me everything, everything about my life.

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