Story Eight

THE STRANGER AT THE WELL
WHILE Jesus was teaching in Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm and in the country places near it, John the Băṕ tĭst was still preaching and baptizing. But already the people 4 were leaving Jŏhn and going to hear Jesus. Some of the followers of John the Băṕ tĭst were not pleased as they saw that fewer people came to their master, and that the crowds were seeking Jesus. But Jŏhn said to them, "I told you that I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. Jesus is the Christ, the King. He must grow greater, while I must grow less, and I am glad that it is so.”
Soon after this Hĕŕ od Ăń tĭ-păs, the king of the province or land of Găĺ ĭ-lee, put John in prison. Hĕŕ od had taken for his wife a woman named Hē̇-ró dĭ-as, who had left her husband to live with Hĕŕ od, which was very wicked. Jŏhn sent word to Hĕŕ od that it was not right for him to have this woman as his wife. These words of Jŏhn made. Hē̇-ró dĭ-as very angry. She hated Jŏhn, and tried to kill him. Hĕŕ od himself did not hate Jŏhn so greatly, for he knew that Jŏhn had spoken the truth. But he was weak, and yielded to his wife Hē̇-ró dĭ-as. To please her he sent Jŏhn the Băp-tĭst to a lonely prison among the mountains east of the Dead Sea, for the land in that region, as well as Găĺ ĭ-lee, was under Hĕŕ od's rule. There in prison Hĕŕ od hoped to keep Jŏhn safe from the hate of his wife Hē̇-ró dĭ-as.
Soon after Jŏhn the Băṕ tĭst was thrown into prison, Jesus left the country near Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm, with his disciples, and went toward Găĺ ĭ-lee, the province in the north. Between Jū-dḗ ȧ, in the south and Găĺ ĭ-lee in the north lay the land of Sā̇-mā́ rĭ-ȧ, where the Sā̇-măŕ ĭ-tans̝ lived, who hated the Jews̝. They worshipped the Lord as the Jews̝ worshipped him, but they had their own temple and their own priests. And they had their own Bible, which was only the five books of Mṓ s̝es̝, for they would not read the other books of the Old Testament. The Jews̝ and the Sā̇-măŕ ĭ-tans̝ would scarcely ever speak to each other, so great was the hate between them.
When Jews̝ went from Găĺ ĭ-lee to Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm, or from Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm to Găĺ ĭ-lee, they would not pass through Sā̇-mā́ rĭ-ȧ, but went down the mountains to the river Jôrdan, and walked beside the river, in order to go around Sā̇-mā́ rĭ-ȧ. But Jesus, when he would go from Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm to Găĺ ĭ-lee, walked over the mountains, straight through Sā̇-mā́ rĭ-ȧ. One morning, while he was on his journey, he stopped to rest beside an old well at the foot of Mount Ḡĕŕ ĭ-zĭm, not far from the city of Shechem, but nearer to a little village that was called Sȳ́ chär. This well had been dug by Jā́cob, the great father or ancestor of the Ĭś̝ ra-el-ītes, many hundreds of years before. It was an old well then in the days of Jesus, and it is much older now, for the same well may be seen in that place still. Even now travelers may have a drink from Jā́ cob's well.
It was early in the morning, about sunrise, when Jesus was sitting by Jā́ cob's well. He was very tired, for he had walked a long journey; he was hungry, and his disciples had gone to the village near at hand to buy food. He was thirsty, too; and as he looked into the well he could see the water, a hundred feet below, but he had no rope with which to let down a cup or a jar and to draw up some water to drink.
Just at this moment a Sā̇-măŕ ĭ-tan woman came to the well, with her water-jar upon her head, and her rope in her hand. Jesus looked at her, and in one glance read her soul, and saw all her life. He knew that Jews̝ did not often speak to Sā̇-măŕ ĭ-tans̝, but he said to her, "Please to give me a drink.”
The woman saw from his looks and his dress that he was a Jew, and she said to him, "How is it that you, who are a Jew, ask drink of me, a Sā̇-măŕ ĭ-tan woman?”
Jesus answered her, "If you knew what God's free gift is, and if you knew who it is that says to you, Give me a drink,' you would ask him to give you living water, and he would give it to you.”
There was something in the words and the looks of Jesus which made the woman feel that he was not a common man. She said to him, "Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where can you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Rica), who drank from this well, and who gave it to us?”
"Whoever drinks of this water," said Jesus, "shall thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up unto everlasting life.”
"Sir," said the woman, "give me some of this water of yours, so that I will not thirst any more, nor come all the way to this well.”
Jesus looked at the woman, and said to her, "Go home, and bring your husband, and come here.”
"I have no husband," answered the woman.
"Yes," said Jesus, "you have spoken the truth. You have no husband. But you have had five husbands, and the man whom you now have is not your husband.”
The woman was filled with wonder as she heard this. She saw that there was a man who knew what a stranger could not know. She felt that God had spoken to him, and she said, "Sir, I see that you are a prophet of God. Tell me, whether our people or the Jews̝ are right. Our fathers have worshipped on this mountain. The Jews̝ say that Jē̇-rṳ́ sâ-lĕm is the place where men should go to worship. Now, which of these is the right place?”
"Woman, believe me," said Jesus, "there is coming a time when men shall worship God in other places besides on this mountain and in Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm. The time is near; it has even now come, when the true worshippers everywhere shall pray to God in spirit and in truth; for God himself is a Spirit.”
The woman said, "I know that the Anointed One is coming, the Christ. When he comes he will teach us all things.”
Jesus said to her, "I that speak to you now am he, the Christ!”
Just at this time the disciples of Jesus came back from the village. They wondered to see Jesus talking with this Sā̇ ‘măŕ ĭ-tan woman, but they said nothing.
The woman had come to draw water, but in her interest in this wonderful stranger she forgot her errand. Leaving her water jar, she ran back to her village, and said to the people, "Come, see a man who told me everything that I have done in all my life! Is not this man the Christ whom we are looking for?”
When the woman was gone away, the disciples urged Jesus to eat some of the food which they had brought. A little while before Jesus had been hungry, but now he had forgotten his own needs of food and drink. He said to them, "I have food to eat that you know nothing of, the food of the soul; and that food is to do the will of God, and to work for him. Do you say to me that there are four months before the harvest? I tell you to look on the fields, and see them white for the harvest. You shall reap, and shall have a rich reward, gathering fruit to everlasting life.”
Jesus meant that as this woman, bad though she may have been before, was now ready to hear his words; so they would find the hearts of men everywhere, like a field of ripe grain, ready to be won and to be saved.
Soon the woman came back to the well with many of her people. They asked Jesus to come to their town, and to stay there and teach them. He went with them, and stayed there two days, teaching the people, who were Sā̇-măŕ ĭ-tans̝. And many of the people in that place believed in Plus, and said, "We have heard for ourselves; now we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”
Lesson 8. Jesus at Jacob's Well.
(Tell Story 8 in Part Sixth.)
1. What was done with John the Baptist while Jesus was teaching at Jerusalem? He was put in prison.
2. Who put John the Baptist in prison? Herod, the wicked king.
3. To what part of the land did Jesus go after this? To Galilee
4. Where was Galilee? In the north of the land.
5. What part of the land did Jesus go through on his way to Galilee? Through Samaria.
6. What were the people called who lived in that country? Samaritans.
7. At what place in Samaria did Jesus rest on his journey? At Jacobs Well.
8. With whom did Jesus talk at Jacob's Well? With a Samaritan woman.
9. What did Jesus tell this woman that he could give her? Living water.
10. How did Jesus say that all should worship God? In spirit and In truth.