Like our land, our souls can wither in the midst of a drought. Our hearts become hard and brittle. Our hope burns up, scorched in the fires that life in this broken world can bring. Our voices, once lovely and pure and full of the goodness of God become dry and scratched from the burning of bitterness as we search for meaning, as we long for purpose, as we thirst for wholeness. We pray for water.
A man sits beside the well. He is alone. He has no bucket, no pitcher, no means of drawing any water. The woman is cautious. There is no one to hear her call. There is no one who would come if she did.
The man studies her. "Will you give me a drink?" His eyes hold no malice.
The woman stops. Her pulse quickens. She does not yet trust him. Yet she needs to draw from the well. She does what life has taught her to do. She takes the defensive.
The man does not leave. Nor does he come closer. He stays waiting by the well. "If you knew who I was, it would be you asking me for a drink. And I would give you water to quench your thirsting soul."
The woman studies the man. The sun is hot, but her skin is cool. She is afraid. "Who are you?"
The man smiles. It lights his face. Hope emanates from him. "It does not matter. I know you. I know your soul is parched. This water you draw comes and goes. But I have a water for your soul that will last forever. Come out of the desert."
The woman is overwhelmed. Something breaks within her. A trickle of water begins to flow. She looks back at the town from which she came. Would they believe? Could there be a river of life in this desert place? She lays her bucket on the ground. "Please stay. I'm coming back."
And Jesus said, "....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 4:14