Many years ago my heart was aching over the damage in heart. I read the story of the Woman at the Well and it so touched my heart that I had to write must it must have been like to be her, what broken parts of my own life might think or feel.
My Moment at the Well by Elizabeth Traub
I have always known in my heart that what I have done, and continue to do is wrong. I have so little value of myself. I can look into a broken piece of glass and realize that the reflection I see is also broken. Broken with little hope of any repair. Yet in my own heart and in my soul I can not make change. Any hope for me has long since dried up. There are no miracles waiting for me. There are no miracles for a Samaritan woman who has chosen the company of many men.
This morning is like many. Although I have bathed, there will be no cleansing for what I have done. I am a woman, who is known for performing services in the darkness of night. I know my position, and although it is not what I had hoped for, in my life, it is who I am.. My position in this community affects every element of who I am. Even on this hazy morning I must alter the timing of my chores, as not to be met with the ridicule of the other Samaritan women. They know not the pain in my heart which has brought on my social position. They only know that I have distracted many of their own husbands.
This morning I go to the well of Jacob. I go during this hour, with hopes of meeting no one. Even in early daylight, the darkness in my heart can not withstand any light. Each day I have set out always in the sixth hour and I meet no one. Only today there is someone. My heart begins to beat at a faster pace. Only in my own sin and darkness, I fear this person will know me and I will be called upon for dialogue.
It is a man. He has the look of a Jew, although my eyes are lowered as not to make any kind of contact with him. He sits at the well’s edge; making it very difficult to avoid him. As I approach the well, I can see by his face, his clothes, and his color that he is a Jew. And yet he makes no movement away from the well. Can’t he see that I have come to draw water from the well. I have been taught that Jews and Samaritans have no dealings. And yet this man, this Jew only watches as I approach.
As I begin to dip my bucket the Jew speaks. “Give me a drink.” I am fearful by the calmness in this man’s voice. It is like no other man’s voice. Does he not know who I am? Does he not know my position in this community? “How is it that you, being a Jew, ask me for a drink, since I am a Samaritan woman?” I wanted to say, since I am the local Samaritan harlot. Yet the soft look from his eyes does not indicate he can see the darkness in my heart. This man answers me. “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” I can’t help but look in all directions from the well. Who is this man who speaks of living water? This well has been producing clean water since our father Jacob, yet something seems different about the water he speaks of.
“Sir you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get living water?” This man, this Jew looks down into the well. And then he looks into my eyes, into my heart, and into my soul. No man has ever done this before. And he speaks, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again: but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” Eternal Life. What does this mean? I lack understanding, yet my heart is feeling something. What is this Jew offering me? What am I feeling? I have only known darkness, heaviness, and yet this man is offering me something I have not known. The well can quench the thirst in my mouth, but what well can quench the thirst in my heart and in my soul?
I want so much to have what He has offered. Yet I am not worthy of asking for anything. And asking a man, whom I have been forbidden to speak with. He has spoken to me with such honor and respect. He must not know who I am. “Sir, give me this water so I will not be thirsty.” He speaks again. “Go, call your husband and come here.” How do I answer? For, in feeling for the first time honor and respect, he has now asked me to bring a husband. I have had many. And who I am with is not my husband. If I collect my bucket now, and leave, I can leave knowing for a moment in my life I felt a sense of worth. He can not know who I am. And yet I trust Him. I can see in His eyes, that this man is different. I can see in his lack of wanting to touch me. There is this glimpse of something so unfamiliar to me, unfamiliar to a local prostitute. Can I trust what my heart is feeling? I have had no other sense of hope or even trust.
“Sir, I have no husband” I have lowered my head, knowing at this very moment I must tell him who he speaks to, and advise him to move on before he is seen with me. Before the words roll from my tongue, he speaks. “You have well said, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.” Who can this man be, a prophet? A prophet who knows this much of me and still sits at the edge of the well? The Messiah? The one who my father’s have spoken of? Could this man be him?
“Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet” What emptiness I have had has been filled. What darkness I have lived in can be changed. Who is this man, who has come at this early hour for rest? This man who can look on my life without shame is Him. “Samaritan woman, I who speak to you, is the Messiah. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for such people the Father seeks to be his worshipers.” Have I just met the spirit? Have I just been delivered the truth? If spirit and truth can sit beside me, at this well, and look on my heart and soul without shame and disgrace, then I have truly met my Savior.
Only moments before coming to this well I only new darkness. I knew of nothing or no one who could cleanse such darkness from my heart and soul. And in one moment and one meeting I have been cleansed by this man they call Jesus . In a very precious moment the depth of my well has been filled.
Dear Messiah, I slipped away, leaving my watering pot. It was a watering pot that has been filled with the water from the wells of this world. My heart has been an empty and broken pot. You have come along and repaired the brokenness within me and filled me with an Eternal Spring of Living water. I go to the town, in the light of day. Fearing no more, what the townspeople may think of me. I know that you are real in my heart. I will draw my strength from you. I will no longer walk the path to the wells of this world.
Thank you Messiah, for not fearing the darkness in my life. Thank you Messiah, for knowing that I was worthy of your time. Worthy to be given new life. My story does not end here. It is only the beginning.