She was trying to avoid eyes that judged her, in crowds there were whispers, in the marketplace she was more accustomed to the back of heads than seeing friendly faces. When you’ve been hurt by so many failed relationships, sometimes you gain a reputation, making it easier to avoid others than to face their harshness.
As Jesus spoke to the woman at the well, he was insightfully aware of this. His easy engagement with her, pushing through her attempts to “change the subject” he focused on water, a new water…. Living water.
Her question, quoted in the picture I’ve included today, is a haunting one. My friend David Smith shared it with me and the words jumped off the photo to me. Lots of people in our world have heard about this living water, without any idea of how to get to it.
Their efforts to discover that thing that will quench the need deep within them, have only resulted in a broken pump. They know it is there, for we can’t desire something so intensely if it didn’t exist, but they can’t reach it.
Wanting acceptance and love, a place to belong, someone to trust all that you are with… it has eluded our friend speaking to Jesus. She has tried multiple times, partners who are nameless but numbered, and now has agreed to live with one not her husband just so she has a place to be. When her ears are teased with the notion of living water… she is intensely aware that she has no way to get to it.
Our “new song” that we’ve spent this year talking about… here it is described in a conversation about “living water”. Jesus sings the song of Good News about the acceptance of God for broken people who desire him. It isn’t about running to a mountain, or an altar, it is about a heart that worships God in spirit and truth. Broken spirits, contrite hearts, genuine movement to God through Jesus, these are the things to which God calls us.