My life was imperfect according to the law…
Another Lenten companion writes today’s reflection:
My life was imperfect according to the law, and worse, shameful to the expectations of the fine people in this town of my ancestors. Let’s just say I had a checkered past. Most recognized me and my “unconventional ways.” Truth be told, I was scorned.
The good women in our town went to Jacob’s well for water in early morning or in the cool of evening. But it was my daily routine to gather water from the well at noon (mostly to avoid their pointed gossip about my life). It was blazing hot then, but it was the time I preferred.
A few weeks ago, I arrived at the well, and a man was there, a Jew, a problem. He was visibly tired, and me, a Samaritan woman now would have to bake in the sun waiting for him to leave before I could draw my water. Not what I had planned that day, testing my patience!
Believe it or not, this Jewish man asked me for water to drink. I thought, “What is wrong with him? Does he not know it is uncustomary for a Jew to speak with a Samaritan, much less a woman, and worse, a Samaritan woman of my reputation?” As if this were not crazy enough, he offered me some “living water, that when taken in, there would be no more thirst.”
When I asked for some of that water (Yet, he didn’t even have a bucket!), he told me to get my husband. “Ha!,” I said, “Stranger, I have no husband.” He exclaimed, “You are right, you have no husband.” And then he spoke plainly of my five husbands, my sins against the law, my regular indiscretions. It was then that I knew he must be a prophet, to know all this of me, yet a stranger. He began to speak of the hour in which God would seek His people. Shaking and sweating in the sun, I said, “I remember from the holy teachings that there is to be a Messiah coming, and that when He comes, He will tell us everything.” I nearly dropped my water jar when he said, “I who speak to you am He.”
Then a bunch of his friends arrived, staring at this unexpected, inappropriate gathering. So, I left my jar, hurried back to town, and explained to the townspeople what had happened. He KNEW me fully, told me of all I ever did in my failings, and still he offered me a fountain of living water for eternal life, a path to worship in Spirit and truth.
Stunned, the townsmen hurried out to meet Him and begged Him to stay awhile. For two days He was in Samaria, and through His spoken word many more came to believe in Him, that He is the Savior of the world.
You know, they arrested Him and crucified Him. Some say he rose from the dead. It seems possible to me because we had heard Him and came to see Him as the Messiah. I will always remember Him and proclaim Him, for He recognized me, a sinner, and yet saved me, the least among us, with the water of new life.