Hello. It is Monday, June 20, 2022.
I want to talk about well water today.
The well on my property puts out 12.5 gallons a minute. The water is delicious too.
One of the pieces of property we looked at in 2019, had a 1-gallon-a-minute well. I wanted that property so badly; I was willing to ignore all sound advice and push for it. I am thankful it did not work out.
Many of the lots we looked at had no well. When we eventually found our little 4-acre wood, it was as if God said, “here you go. This is your home.” It had a well and large septic. It had a gravel driveway and a fenced shop with a little storage shed. It had electricity!
But before I knew any of that, I got out of the car and took in a deep breath. It smelled like home. I cannot explain it other than to say, it smelled like my childhood at my grandparents. It smelled like cousins and running barefoot on a hot summer day; eating frozen blueberries, plucked from the upright freezer in the pump house. It smelled of pine trees, and the crunch of pine needles under my feet was like a long-lost friend. There was Oak and Madrone and Sugar Pines, and it flooded me with warmth and happiness. I even asked out loud: “Is this it, Lord?”
Apparently, it was. And I am so grateful. I have many things that I love about this property. Deer, turkey, a variety of birds, squirrels, fox, and coyotes. I love the wind in the trees and the fresh, clean smell of the forest. It is very healing. And I love the well water. It is so cold and sweet and refreshing.
When people come to visit, I offer a glass of well water. “It’s really good” I will add.
There is something about a well. Now, the opposite can be true.
In late 1990, give or take a few months, our little family of six moved up Board Shanty Road. The setting was gorgeous. Woods and trails for the kids to explore. The house was a bit put together; several room additions built off an old Airstream RV. But I like different, and this was that.
Caring for 4 children, means lots of meals and dishes and laundry and showers. But the first thing I noticed was the taste. Our water began to taste funny. It smelled unpleasant as well. Then one day, I had no water.
I called the landlord and he soon arrived. He took my oldest son with him to assist him, and they took off, climbing the mountain to get to the cistern. This was a large, cement-block cistern that held approximately 2,500 gallons of water. There was not even 2 inches of water in the bottom. We had run it dry.
The weird taste? The bad smell? Oh, that…that was a dead possum and numerous dead snakes and dead lizards. Yes, we were drinking that filth. My toes curled when I found out.
Well, the landlord took the opportunity to clean the cistern and told me to go easy on the water for a couple of days to allow the level to build back up. Things got no better. My grandpa came over and climbed that hill to the natural spring. He took with him a 1-gallon jug. It took over 5 minutes to fill it. Suffice it to say, that property was never going to work for a family of 6 with just 12 gallons of water per hour. We lived there for one month.
In the bible, wells were used as markers on maps.
Wells were shared by various shepherdess and herdsmen.
There were quarrels over well water.
Promises were made to pass quickly through a land and not drink water from a well.
Women visited the wells daily to supply their family with water.
It seems a lot of history took place around these watering stations. Many lives were changed at a well.
Abraham’s servant met Rebekah, future wife of Isaac, at a well. Genesis 24:10-27
Jacob met Rachel at a well when she came to water her father’s sheep. Genesis 29:1-11
Moses met his wife Zipporah at a well. Exodus 2:15-17
The woman of Samaria met Jesus at a well. John 4:7-9
The woman at the well is a favorite of mine. Two lives will intersect at noon.
That morning, Jesus left Judea, headed for Galilee.
That morning a certain woman in Sychar arose and began her morning chores.
As each minute passed, fate was bringing them closer and closer to their meeting time. Fate or providence? I think we would call this meeting a “divine appointment.”
As Jesus and His men traveled toward Galilee, they came to a city in the province of Samaria; the city of Sychar. We are told it was near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph and Jacob’s well was there.
Jesus was tired from His journey and sat by the well.
The disciples had gone into the city to buy food.
This woman was headed to gather water.
John 4 tells us it is “about the sixth hour” which most scholars agree, would be around noon.
We know the story. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.”…Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.
Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”
Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”
Now, much of the time we stop right here. We stop with this woman asking Jesus for this special water. But there is so much more to this story. Jesus tells her things about herself, that no one, especially a stranger, should know. He engages with her in conversation regarding prayer and worship. At one point she said, “I know that Messiah is coming”…Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”
Jesus tells her, the Messiah you have been waiting for?…that’s me. And she believed. She believed and she acted.
I can see it now. This woman, filled with hope and joy, leaves her water jug, and runs. The Bible tells it this way:
“The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” Then they went out of the city and came to Him…
“And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. And many more believed because of His own word.
“Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.” John 4:1-42 NKJV
They believed because one woman decided to share her story.
They believe because one woman invited them to come and listen.
And because they accepted the invitation to come and listen, they were converted.
And because they were converted, they invited Jesus to stay two more days and that resulted in “many more believed because of His own word.”
Friends, one person can make all the difference. One person can ignite a flame that will become a conflagration. A fire so big and so consuming that it will pierce the darkest hearts and no amount of water can ever put it out.
Many of the people of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified.
Let’s be more like the woman at the well. We came because we were thirsty; we left changed and we changed the world around us.