She approached the well warily, because there sat a stranger—a Jew, judging by appearance. She was astonished when the man asked her for a drink of water, because the Jews’ religious customs forbade them any interaction with the Samaritans, whom they considered “unclean.”
“You’re a Jew and I’m a Samaritan!” she exclaimed. “Why do you ask me for a drink?”
“If you knew who I was,” the stranger replied, “you would be the one asking for water.”
Susannah was mystified. How could this man get water out of the well? He had nothing to pull it out with.
The stranger answered with words that she would later repeat until they were imprinted upon her memory—words that millions after her would draw hope from.
“Everyone who drinks water from this well will get thirsty again. But anyone who drinks the water I give will never be thirsty again. The water I give comes from the fountain of eternal life.”
“Go on then, give me a drink of that water. Then I won’t ever get thirsty or need to come here anymore!”
“Go and bring your husband,” the stranger told her.
She hesitated, then lowered her eyes. “I don’t have a husband,” she conceded.
“That much is the truth. You have been married five times, but the man you are living with now isn’t your husband.”
Susannah was astonished. “You’re a prophet, I see,” she began. “You might be able to settle a certain dispute then. My people have always worshiped on Mount Gerizim, but you Jews say that Jerusalem is the only place to worship.” The fact that a Jewish ruler had destroyed the Samaritans’ temple on their holy mountain 200 years earlier went unspoken, but clearly it was on her mind.
“Believe me,” the stranger replied, “the time is coming when you won’t worship the Father either on this mountain or in Jerusalem. God is a Spirit, and those who worship God must worship Him in spirit and truth.”
She marveled at this answer. God—a Spirit who she could worship anywhere? Her race, religion, gender, age, background—could none of that matter? She felt warmed by the idea of God’s love being inclusive of all people, even herself.
There was something else she wanted to ask. “I know that the Messiah will come—the one called Christ—and explain everything to us.”
The stranger gazed into her eyes, and her heart beat faster. “I am that one!”
Her eyes widened and her thoughts raced. “I must tell my friends and family! Wait here for me!”
Susannah rushed back to Sychar, her still-empty urn forgotten.
The midday heat had passed, and people were milling around the market square. She excitedly told all those she could about the man she had met and their conversation. “He must be the Christ!” she exclaimed. “He had never seen me before, yet he knew everything about me.”
Soon Susannah returned to the well at the head of a small crowd. The stranger was still there, now accompanied by several men, and from them she learned that the stranger’s name was Jesus.
He did not stay a stranger, because the people were captivated by what He told them. Some of them invited Him and His companions to stay with them, so Jesus spent two days in Sychar, explaining the Holy Scriptures.
Some days later, Susannah made her way back through town with a full water pot. Her load was heavy, but her steps were light. She still needed to fetch water daily, but her inner emptiness was gone.
One of the townsmen who noticed her walking by said, “You tried to convince us that this man Jesus was the promised Messiah. Well, now we believe—no longer just because of what you told us, but because we have heard Him ourselves and are certain that He is the Savior!”
Susannah smiled as she went on her way. She was not the only one who had found the living water!
John 7:38 (NIV) He who believes in Me, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.
Revelation 22:17 (NIV) Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
John 6:51 (ESV) I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”