This Christian poem is based on the Bible Story of The Woman at the Well. It is the first in ‘The Women of the Bible’ series. Beverley Joy. I wrote it while I was a Prison Chaplain in the Women’s Prison. I would recite a poem for the women during the chapel services. John 4:7-30, 39-45
She signed as she picked up her water jar
And left her bustling town behind
The midday sun beat down on her
Sweat fell as droplets on her hand.
A group of men passed her by
She did not expect a nod or a ‘Hi’
She overheard their conversation
They talked of God, Oh, religious men.
She looked up toward her destination
And saw a man sitting at the well
Weary, no doubt, from his long journey
A foreigner resting as he passed by.
In silence, she approached to draw water
In a sideways glance, she noticed his clothing
Not just a stranger but an enemy
Of racial tension and cultural law.
“Give me a drink” gently came the words
She looked at his friendly eyes
Confused she questioned him
“Why ask me? Our races don’t speak.”
“You don’t know the gift
God has come to give.”
He said to her in a caring voice.
“If you knew who I am
You would ask me for a drink
The water I give will quench forever
Your endless craving and thirst.”
“Sir, where will you get this special ‘water’?
The well is deep so how will you draw?”
She paused in thought, then said proudly
“Are you greater than our ancestor?”
“He built this well many years ago
He drank from it, and generations more
Have quenched their thirst
From this sacred well.”
He did not defend or disrespect
But continued to talk about his ‘water’
He had a gift he wanted to give
And to feed her curiosity.
“Everyone who drinks water from this well
Must always come back for more
But anyone who drinks my water
Forever, their thirst will be quenched.
“The water I give will flow through you
Not just a trickle, or light spring rain
No. A roaring river full and strong.
“Does he know of a river nearby?” She thought
“In a secret location, unknown to me?”
“Give me this water that I may drink
To save me walking in the midday heat.”
“Go home,” He said, “and return with your husband.”
She paused and thought before she spoke
“But, I don’t have a husband, Sir.”
“You’re right” he replied. “You’ve had five.”
Suddenly, her life is laid out and exposed
Married since 14. Divorced by the men
A common practice and easy to get
Two was accepted but five was shunned.
Her best years lived with rejection
A social outcast on all levels
Her ethnicity, divorce and loose morals
Her craving for faithful love never met.
Her community knew of her troubled life
The women would gather at the well
In the cooling breeze of early evening
But she came alone in the midday sun.
“Who is this man? This stranger? She thought
Had someone told him about me?
Or is he a messenger of God
Like those in the Old Testament?”
She proudly replied, “This place is holy.”
“Our forefathers worshipped God right here
Your people believe that your city is
The only place to worship and pray.”
“You don’t understand”, he replied
“For your knowledge of God is limited
My people understand for they have been taught
But, they have kept it all to themselves.”
“The time is coming and is now, here
When it won’t be about the location
For God, the Creator of all mankind
Must be worshipped in spirit and truth.”
She continued to chat with the teacher
Forgetting about protocol
“I believe one day Christ, the Messiah,
Will come to explain it all.”
“That day has come.” He gently spoke
“I am the one that you’ve been waiting for
Stop looking, my dear. Stop waiting for him
God’s gift is me, Jesus Christ.”
She starred in silence, stunned by his words
She stood in reverence before Him
The Christ, the Messiah, God’s Chosen One
The Saviour of the world.
What did it matter how thirsty she felt
What did it matter how shameful her past
All that mattered was this very moment
That had changed her life forever.
Here He sat in dusty clothes
Drinking from her earthen cup
He deserved a goblet made of gold
Royal robes and a throne.
Her craving for love and faithfulness
The longing deep in her heart
Human love could not satisfy
But God’s love had quenched her thirst.
Excitement filled her mind
She left her water jar
And ran back to her town
To tell others to come to meet Him.
She ran past the same group of men
As she did on her way to the well
They mumbled “What’s going on out here?
Why has Jesus been speaking with her?”
But they dared not ask Jesus that question
For He often talked to people like her
People that society abused and rejected
Criminals, prostitutes, the poor and unwell.
Breathless she announces in the city square
“I’ve met a man who told me my past
He told me he’s the Christ, the anointed one
Could this be the Saviour of the world?”
Some people believed her
Many went to see him
They begged him to stay
With them a few days.
Most people wanted Jesus to heal them
But they wanted Him to teach them
To explain God’s Salvation plan
For the broken world they lived in.
He stayed and taught them patiently
They accepted the gift that he gave
His love to quench their thirsty souls
And open their eyes to the Truth.
Jesus waits to meet with you
Come, rest in the shade of his love
Drink deeply of His gift of Truth
You’ll find it in His Word.
Read His stories in your Bible
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
Listen to Him, get to know Him
Because, in Jesus, you can trust.
Beverley Joy © 2017 of Simply Story Poetry
Read or listen to my poems of Women of the Bible: It Takes Two To Tango The Adulterous Woman of John 8:1-11, She Gave From Her Heart The Woman and the Two Coins Luke 21:1-4, Sweet Temptation Eve Genesis 3, Feast or Famine Ruth and I Am Ruth, ‘Thirst Quenching’ The Woman at the Well, Mary – The Christmas Story Part 2 Four Unusual Women, Part 4 Mary, The Christmas Story Part 5 Mary and Elizabeth, The Busyness Excuse Mary and Martha, Her Touch of Simple Faith The women with the bleeding issue,
You can listen to all my poems on several podcast platforms here
John 4:7-30, 39-45
The Zondervan NASB Study Bible 1999 Zondervan Michigan USA
The Gospel According to John An Introduction and Commentary R.V.G. Tasker. 1960 Tyndale Press
Matthew Henry’s Commentary of the Whole Bible 1960. Marshall, Morgan & Scott London
All the Women of the Bible.1967. Herbert Lockyer Zondervan
Backgrounds of Early Christianity Second Edition E. Ferguson. 1993. W.B. Eerdmans Publishing USA