Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
John 4: 13-14
The lingering fingers of a setting sun slipped along the cracked earth of Samaria. It was the sixth hour and a voiceless dusk nestled among the hills. Through the shadows of countless weeds, a woman scuffled down a dusty path carrying one tall clay jar. Her journey and the path ended at a deep well. She had lowered her jar to draw water when she noticed a man sitting nearby.
“Will you give me a drink?” he asked.
“You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?”
She knew what the life of a Samaritan warranted; she was not worthy even to serve this man. So why did he, out of all others, believe that she was?
The man replied, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
Living water? The gift of God? Did he speak empty words or had she misunderstood his meaning?
“Sir, you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”
She could not comprehend what he offered. The unworthy Samaritan had come to the well with only a need for water; a need she could understand in its entirety and fulfill as she wished.
Yet he answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
To never feel thirst? To never haul a heavy jar down the stone-riddled path again? Did she fathom what he offered?
“Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
But through her words, she revealed a heart that was conscious only of earthly thirst. The man could perceive this before she opened her lips to speak. He had known she would be blind to this need the moment she opened her eyes at birth. He saw her need to understand just how much she was in need before the earth itself was formed into existence. For he was not simply a man, but God in flesh. He was Jesus Christ, and he was the fulfillment of that need.
Through their conversation at the well, Jesus addressed the Samaritan woman’s need directly. He helped her glimpse this need by a reminder of her attempts to meet it through the adultery and many husbands that troubled her life. Yet he did not leave his creation; his child, with only a need, just as he refuses to allow us to merely long for freedom from our sinful nature. He gave her much more; he presented the only fulfillment to her thirst that had ever inhabited the earth…himself.
“I know that Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” The woman declared, still holding the empty jar in her arms.
So that some day she might look to the man, his earthly body tattered, torn, and hung on a cross, and recognize him as her Savior; so that some day, she would see the very same man who spoke with her at the well as her Christ and never thirst again, Jesus replied:
“I who speak to you am he.”
~Abbey María Drury