Commentators on the story of the woman at the well often point out that the unnamed Samaritan woman came there during the heat of the day to avoid the scorn of her neighbors.
This may well be true, but what is missed sometimes is that the well is also a place of courtship in the ancient world. For instance, Abraham's servant finds Isaac's wife Rebekah at a well!
So, Jesus is sitting at a well and along comes a woman, looking to fill her water jar, but also looking for a man who can finally make her whole, who can finally heal her brokenness. She has had five husbands, all of whom have failed in some way to meet her deep longing. And now she is living with a man who is not her husband and who doesn't seem to be doing any better.
And here sits Jesus, finally the one who can give her Living Water. Finally, the one who can make her whole. And he does so by matter of factly stating her brokenness without judgment or condemnation. He doesn't look away from her hurt, nor does he look only at her hurt, her sins, as if that were all there was about her. He looks at her.
Having finally been seen by another human being for the first time, the woman finally sees herself. We know nothing else about her really, just that she came to believe in Jesus, that she finally came to herself, that she was finally loved into being.
Go sit by a well this week. Where do you sit waiting to be loved? Where in your heart do you need someone to just see you, all of you, and not look away, love you despite it all. Dear people, go sit by the well this week. I hope your won't be surprised to find Jesus sitting there already.
Image: He, Qi. Jesus and the Samaritan Woman, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=46094 [retrieved March 20, 2017]. Original source: heqigallery.com.