Tears stung Dinah’s eyes as she followed the familiar path worn by countless women’s feet. Her own mother thought she was an embarrassment. When she had said it, Dinah had sniggered.
“You’re one to speak. You and your wife-bashing husband I have to call father.”
But now the word lodged a lump in her throat.
Five men in nine years. Dinah had vowed she wouldn’t make the same mistake her mother had made. Her husband would cherish her and treat her as she deserved. He would fill up the emptiness of her life.
Yet not one of them had. Well, never for long. Jacob had tried, she thought with a twinge of regret. But he was too old, too staid in his thinking. Now, when Zeke smiled at her she felt the connection and heat. He was exciting and made her laugh. Sure, she had seen him lose his temper once or twice, but never with her. Zeke was the one.
Heavens! There was a man at the well. Dinah cursed. Nobody came to the well in the mid-day heat—that’s why she came. As she drew closer she saw that the man was a Jew. On all the dead prophets’ bones! Weren’t Jews meant to avoid Samaria like the plague? She almost turned back, but the thought of coming later with all the other women pushed her on. If he was like the other Jews she had come across, he would ignore her anyway.
She avoided looking at him as she lowered the water jar into the well.
“Will you give me a drink?”
He was talking to her. The shock of it almost made her drop the rope. She turned to look at him. He wasn’t much older than Zeke, although not as handsome. Except for those eyes—Dinah had never looked into eyes so alive with laughter.
“I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” Surely he knew his own stupid ceremonial laws?
“If you only knew the lavish grace of God and who I am, you would ask me for a drink, and I would give you living water.”
What was he on about? Yet as she handed him a bowl of water and pointed out that he didn’t even have a jar, he merely smiled.
“This well water will never quench your thirst.” He took a long sip. “But anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst again. The water I give will be a spring from inside, gushing fountains of endless life.”
It sounded too good to be true but if he had this magic water, she wanted some of it.
“Sir, give me this water so I won’t get thirsty and keep having to come draw water.”
Something sad came into his eyes as he said: “Go call your husband and come back.”
Strange, but she suddenly couldn’t meet his gaze.
“I don’t have a husband.”
“True. You’ve had five husbands and the man you’re living with now isn’t even your husband.”
The water jar clattered from Dinah’s hands as she looked up again. How did he know that? But the answer lay in those eyes. Not only were they full of laughter, they were also full of knowing.
She had never felt so exposed. A stranger had just looked into the deepest, darkest part of her heart. Quickly she changed the subject: was Mt. Gerizim or Jerusalem the place to worship? She didn’t really care—and hardly heard his answer—but she couldn’t stand those intense eyes probing her soul.
He was saying something about true worshipers who would worship God in spirit and truth, but she was still reeling from shock and didn’t take it in.
When he stopped speaking, Dinah mumbled: “The Messiah will come one day and explain it to us.”
“I am he.”
How could his eyes convey so very much? In them Dinah had seen laughter and wisdom; now she saw something even more beautiful: -acceptance and love, entreating her to believe.
Her. The embarrassment. The outcast.
Zeke’s eyes were filled with lust but never such love, and in that moment she knew that—like the others—he couldn’t fill her empty heart. But this man could, of that she had absolutely no doubt. His living water would fill her to over-flowing. She turned and ran, already feeling the water’s joy welling up inside her.
She had to tell the others. This water was too good not to share.
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