As I had predicted, his parents wouldn’t hear of our marriage. I was forced to return home where preparations began for my marriage to Jacob. Ethan and I found a way to see each other a couple more times in the coming months, but without the support of our families we knew we wouldn’t be able to make a life for ourselves. We had to resign ourselves to the fact we could never be married.
That decision only became harder when I found out that I was pregnant.
The day I told my parents was a day that will be burned in my memory for as long as I live. Such anger and such sadness emanated from everyone as I attempted to justify my actions. I knew there was no real justification, and there was no going back. I was going to have to live with the consequences our actions had caused.
I was forced to leave Aenon, Jacob would no longer have me, and I would never see my family – or Ethan – again. I made my way to Sychar where I found someone who would marry me despite my situation. I had to if I was going to survive. We had a decent marriage. Not one filled with love as I had always dreamed, but he took care of me and my son, whom I named Ethan after his father. We were married for ten years when he was killed in a farming accident. Now I was left with five children and no other family to support us. So I did what I had to to make a living for them. Very quickly I lost whatever measure of self-worth I had retained after my scandal, but it didn’t really matter. My future had been decided.
Then, fifteen years and four more husbands later, I wandered in a state of mere existence. I was an outcast the day I was born a Samaritan, and now I was doubly outcast as my past riddled with immorality was about all I had to claim as my own. I had reached the bottom. What was there left to live for? I was not married, and though I was in a relationship with a man, I knew he didn’t love me. No one could love what I had become. I longed to feel satisfied and happy again, but I lived in a constant state of resignation to the life my choices had made for me.
Oh, I would have never thought that my daily trip to the well would be the second turning point in my life, this time for good. As I walked I could feel people’s eyes on my back. No one really ever said anything, but I could see it in the way they looked at me. I was damaged property.
When I came to the well, I could see a Jewish man sitting on it. Immediately I placed walls up in my heart. If my own outcast people would treat me this way, how much more a Jewish man? I focused on my task at hand and tried to avoid eye contact. I had almost made it to the well when he spoke to me.
“Give me to drink.”
I glanced up, startled. Was he talking to me? I looked into his face and saw that he was indeed talking to me. Warily I replied, “How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.”
A spark of bitterness ignited in my heart as I spoke, for I knew the truth of my statement in the deepest part of me.
The man, however, did not seem offended. He answered simply, “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.”
Living water? I didnt know to which water he was referring. I replied logically, “Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?”
Was this man taunting me? I continued, “Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?”
But the man was not deterred. With such peace and authority in his voice he replied, “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
Something about this man drew me in. “Sir,” I said, “give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.”
He replied, “Go, call thy husband and come hither.”
At that my heart began to ice over again.
“I have no husband.” I stated simply.
“Thou hast well said, I have no husband” he said directly. “For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.”
My mouth fell open. Who was this man?
“Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.” I attempted. “Our fathers worshipped in this mountain: and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”
“Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.” He stated. “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
There it was. Yahweh was only for the Jews. But I had heard about a Messiah that would come and free His people.
I spoke, “I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.”
The look on this man’s face was something I will never forget. He spoke with such authority as he said the words, “I that speak unto thee am he.”
Somehow, I knew it to be true. Without another word I turned and ran back into the city. I told everyone who would listen, “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?”
Many came to Jesus that day, and we convinced Him to tarry for two more days.
Since that day I have never felt unwanted. The Messiah had come, and He had spoken to me. Perhaps in the eyes of man I am still a dog, but I know that I belong by the One who will never let me go. I am finally happy.
I am loved.
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