The Jar

John 4:5-42  – The 3rd Sunday of Lent – for Sunday, March 23, 2014

“Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city…” (John 4:28)

6-SamaritanWomanAtTheWellShe usually waited at the well to meet them. It was easier, and safer.

Though none stayed long, she didn’t mind. None of the men, and it was usually men, wanted to spend much time with her. They only sought a quick version of her story, and a guess at where Jesus might be now. A few lingered to debate her, to prove she knew less than she did. She didn’t mind. Let the fools argue her credibility or memory or honesty. If they wanted to waste time and breath on her, rather than seeking the Nazarene, that wasn’t her problem.

From the coast, they came. From Jerusalem, they came. From faraway cities she’d only imagined like Damascus and nearby villages (though she’d never been to them) like Tirathana and Neapolis.

By now she could describe meeting Jesus in a handful of sentences.

Which wasn’t too different than telling about her last “husband,” except everything about Jesus was good. Not long after her last husband disappeared, instead of talking about how he stole her money, how he demanded she position meat on one side of the plate and vegetables on the other, or how he stunk like swine no matter how often he bathed, or the bruises after a beating that were hidden by her clothes, she could sum him up in one spare sentence: he slunk out one day to tend sheep, fell off a cliff and died . . .

(Which wasn’t true. But he’d screwed her and left her, like every man who only wanted to take and take and take. End of story.)

When sharing about Jesus, her first accounts weren’t brief. The villagers—even the old rabbi at the synagogue who’d spit on her more than once—had wanted the long version. They milked her for every detail, word, pause and gesture that she’d witnessed at the well with the Nazarene. What did he say? How did he say it? Did he talk about the miracle at Cana? Did he know your name before you told him? Continue reading →