It had been designated woman’s work for centuries. Every morning and every evening females had to draw water at the well outside their city. But the chore was not without its perks. Girlfriends could hook up and chat as they walked along, each steadying an empty water jar on her shoulder or hip. They would join others clustered at the well and add to the chatter.
Basically, the well in ancient times was a glorified visitor center. Travelers, worn to weariness, could expect more than answers to itinerary questions. The well provided a place of respite with refreshing water for themselves and their camels. As the strangers mingled with others gathered at the well, they would both relay and receive news from near and far. Sometimes the news brought a life-changing event for a local female.
Take Rebekah, for instance. One evening while she was making her usual trip to the well, a rich man’s elderly servant from faraway was earnestly praying to Yahweh:
And let it so be that the girl to whom I say, I pray you, let down your jar that I may drink, and she replies, Drink, and I will give your camels drink also—let her be the one whom You have selected and appointed and indicated for Your servant Isaac [to be a wife to him]; and by it I shall know that You have shown kindness and faithfulness to my master (Genesis 24:14 AMPC).
The following day, Rebekah, with her family’s blessing, swayed atop a camel as Eliezer’s caravan took her to marry a man she had never seen–Isaac, son of Abraham.
Decades afterwards, Rebekah’s son Jacob, fleeing from his twin brother’s murderous rage, stopped at a well. There he met young Rachel, his future wife:
When Jacob saw Rachel daughter of Laban, his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his uncle, Jacob went near and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth and watered the flock of his uncle Laban. Then Jacob kissed Rachel and he wept aloud (Genesis 29:10-11 AMPC).
Zipporah was also a shepherdess at a well. So were her six sisters. Moses, the runaway Egyptian prince, defended all of them against hostile shepherds at that desert well, but it was Zipporah he married.
We meet another woman in the Bible at a well, but we do not know her name. We know, though, she is not a shepherdess with a flock to water. Nor is she a female who comes morning and evening for the household’s water supply.
She comes at high noon, for she is her city’s ostracized slut. Married five times and presently cohabiting, she doesn’t venture near the “good girls.” So during the hottest part of the day, she walks the half mile to and from the water source.
Approaching the well, she sees a lone man–of another race–sitting there as if waiting for her. Breaking all cultural rules, the foreigner asks her for a drink. His request plays into a mind game about everlasting water.
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again. But no one who drinks the water I give will ever be thirsty again. The water I give is like a flowing fountain that gives eternal life” (John 4:13-14 CEV).
As their dialogue advances, the woman realizes this stranger in Samaria is the Messiah and that the water He offers is spiritual, forever quenching her thirst for God.
God created us with a thirst for Him. Only He can satisfy it.
Wait and listen, everyone who is thirsty! Come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Yes, come, buy [priceless, spiritual] wine and milk without money and without price [simply for the self-surrender that accepts the blessing] (Isaiah 55:1 AMPC).