Let me tell you a story. A story about the things we usually miss. You see long ago, in this broken world, there was a country. It was a country ravished by wars. It passed between various conquerors until it wound up in the hands of one of the greatest kingdoms of all time. It wasn’t a real prize, but it came with the spoils of war. A broken world, and an unwanted country.
Now the people of this country weren’t well liked. Their neighbors walked on the other side of the street as they approached, or pulled children close in fear. The officials of the ruling kingdom saw them as nothing more than troublemakers and low lives. Those in power would avoid the whole country, adding on weeks of travel time, to avoid this nation and her people. A broken world, an unwanted country, and a hated people.
In this country was a city. Long ago it might have been a hub of trade. Then the wars happened. People found new ways to get where they were going. The city fell on hard times as the world abandoned it. A broken world, an unwanted country, a hated people, and a forgotten city,
Now one day, in the hot desert heat, a woman went to draw water at the well. It was the only well in town and was completely deserted at this time of day. Most people retrieved water for the families in the morning when it was cool. They came and drew water and talked. The woman knew they didn’t like her. She used to hear the conversation stop as she drew near. She used to see them turn away as she pulled up water. They had rejected her and so she stopped drawing the water with everyone else. Now she came when the only company was the scorching sun and the bugs. A broken world, an unwanted country, a hated people, a forgotten city, and a lonely girl.
Now on that day, in that broken world, a teacher and his students were traveling through that unwanted country amongst the hated people. He came upon that forgotten city, and telling his students to get food, he went to the well and met the lonely girl. The teacher spoke to her. The girl nearly dropped her bucket down the well. No one talked to her. No one looked at her. No one knew her. The teacher spoke again.
“Can I have some water?” He smiled kindly as he sat on the edge of the well.
“Why are you asking me?” She snapped at him before turning away and lowering her bucket down. The teacher watched for a moment or two.
“If you only knew who was asking you.” He chuckled to himself. “You’d ask me for a drink.” To this the girl only snorted.
“The well is deep down you don’t even have a cup.” She pulls up her bucket. “Who do you think you are to make a claim like that?” He watched her struggle with the rope a while before speaking again.
“Everyone who drinks this water comes back every day, still thirsty.” He pauses as if to allow her to object. “The water I offer is living water. When you drink it, you will never thirst again.” He didn’t say it like a traveling salesman, or like a madman, but like a teacher. For a second she almost believes him.
“I’d like some of that water.” She snarked at the teacher. Deep down she wanted it. She wanted to never ever have to come to the well. She wanted to avoid the judging eyes and the cruel voices. The teacher just smiled and leaned forward.
“Then bring your husband, I’m sure he would like some too.” The lonely girl locked eyes with the teacher. For an instant she wonders how much this stranger can see.
“I don’t have a husband.” She said as she broke her eyes away.
“You’re right.” The teacher spoke gently and still looked at her. “You’ve had five husbands. The man you live with right now definitely is not your husband.” There was no malice, no sneakiness, and no disgust in his voice. It was simply a fact. She clutched the bucket to her chest confused.
“You must be a prophet to know these things.” She looked at the teacher in fear. She had something she wanted to ask him about. “There’s this man…” She started before realizing she didn’t have to tell him about that. She didn’t have to tell him about the man everyone was waiting on. The man who was supposed to save them. The man who would throw off the oppressor’s chains. The man who would bring people back to God. The man who would save the world. He was a teacher. He knew all the stories. “Maybe he will be able to explain this to me.” She looked up and saw a look of glee in the teacher’s eyes. A look that asked “who else could offer you a drink like I have?” Her heart began to races she understood what he was saying.
“I am him.” She dropped the bucket and raced into town. Shouting “I found him! I found him!” She told people that she found a man who knew all about her, things about her life no one knew. The people paused. Did they really want all their darkest secrets known? Then the once lonely girl said, “and he didn’t hate me for it.”
So they went. They went to see the man who had seen the lonely girl. They went to see the man who remembered their city. They went to see the man who loved a hated people. They went to see the man who cared about their unwanted country. They went to see the man who could mend a broken world. They went to see Jesus.
Told by TKH Hamilton