And Scarlet cried,
The Woman at the Well
Prayer of Illumination
Jeremiah 7:21ff Father, your words were found and I ate them. They became a joy and the delight of my heart. Now I am called by your name, O Yahweh Sabaoth, Commander of Hosts. Psalms 85:11ff Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven. Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps.
5 So he goes to a city of the Shomronites called Shekhem[iv], close to the place that Yahqov gave to his son Yosef[v]. 6 And Yahcov’s fountain[vi] was there. So Yahshua, having become tired from the trip, sat at the fountain then – about the sixth hour.
7 A woman of Shomron comes to draw water. Yahshua says to her, Give me some to drink; 8 for his students had gone away into the city that they might buy rations[vii]. 9 So the Shomronite woman says to him, How is it that you being a Yahudahite, asks of me, a Shomronite woman, to drink? (For Yahudaites do not get together with Shomronites.)
10 Yahshua answered and said to her, If you knew the gift of the Almighty and who is telling you, Give me something to drink, you would have asked him, and he would have given you a living water. 11 She says to him, Master, you have no bucket and the well[viii] is deep. Where do you have the living water? 12 You are not greater than our father Yahqov who gave us the well and drank of it himself … and his sons … and his beasts[ix]!
13 Yahshua answered and said to her, Everyone drinking this water will get thirsty[x] again. 14 But whoever drinks the water I will give him – it will become in him a water fountain springing up to ageless life[xi].
15 The woman says to him, Master, give me this water so that I will not be thirsty nor have to come through here to draw. 16 He says to her, Go call that man of yours and come back here. 17 The woman answered and said, A man I have not. Yahshua says to her, It is good that you said, A man I have not. For you have had 18 five men, and now the one you have is not your man! This you have spoken truly!
19 The woman says to him, Master, I sense you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshipped in this mountain, but you say that in Yerushalayim is the place where it is required to worship. 21 Yahshua says to her, Believe me, woman, that an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Yerushalayim will you all worship the Father. 22 You all worship what you know not. We worship what we know so that the salvation[xii] is from the Yahudaïm.
23 However, the hour comes and now is when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks this kind worshiping[xiii] him.
Literal translation: John 4:1-23 So
when the Master knew that the Pharisees heard that Yahshua makes and dunks more
students than John (though Yahshua himself dunked not, but his students
dunked), he left
So he goes to a city of the Samaritans
called Sychar, close to the place that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. And
Jacob’s fountain was there. So Yahshua,
having become tired from the trip, sat at the fountain then – about the sixth
hour. A woman of
Yahshua answered and said to her, If you knew the gift of the Almighty and who is telling you, Give me something to drink, you would have asked him, and he would have given you a living water. She says to him, Master, you have no bucket and the well is deep. Where do you have the living water? You are not greater than our father Jacob who gave us the well and drank of it himself … and his sons … and his beasts!
Yahshua answered and said to her, Everyone drinking this water will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks the water I will give him – it will become in him a water fountain springing up to ageless life.
The woman says to him, Master, give me this water so that I will not be thirsty nor have to come through here to draw. He says to her, Go call that man of yours and come back here. The woman answered and said, A man I have not. Yahshua says to her, It is good that you said, A man I have not. For you have had five men, and now the one you have is not your man! This you have spoken truly!
The woman says to him, Master, I sense you
are a prophet. Our ancestors worshipped
in this mountain, but you say that in
You all worship what you know not. We worship what we know so that The Salvation is from the Jews. However, the hour comes and now is when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks this kind worshipping him.
Wellspring of Wisdom, hear our cry.
The way ahead is harsh and dry.
We need a source to satisfy
Our thirst for sanctifying waters,
Wisdom for your faithful sons and daughters.
Dawn of a New Day put to flight
The terrors of a nuclear night.
We bearers of your loving light,
We huddle closer to your fire,
Lift the lamp of hope a little higher.
The sacred signs are all around,
The whole of earth is holy ground.
We learn from all of life expressing,
How to grow in sowing seeds of blessing.
Call to Compassion, help us bring
Our burning need for nurturing,
The emptiness of everything
To your embrace, as we endeavor
To proclaim your holy name forever.
- Miriam Therese Winter, 1987.
Once upon a time, three thousand, seven hundred years ago, there was a great patriarch named Yahcov ben Yitzak. We know him today as Jacob. He started off as a slave, working to buy the woman he loved from her father. Her father was a depression-minded cheapskate, so the gullible Jacob ended up slaving fourteen years for the girl he loved and her sister, whom he didn’t.
Jacob finally took his share from the herds and became a rich Bedouin, had twelve sons and who knows how many daughters. He got into a wrestling match with the angel of Yahweh and won (Genesis 32:28). Yahweh changed his name from Jacob to Isra-el, which means, “El-beater.”
After Jacob had done all he could do, he
went to live in the hill country of a place known as Philistine (
The Making of
Then, under several judges and three kings,
Saul, David and Solomon, the descendants or ‘tribes’ of the twelve sons of
Jacob lived united as Israelites.
After the death of King Solomon, there was a falling out between these
tribes over taxes.
To the south was Judea, under King Solomon’s
son Rehoboam, which kept the capital city of
The Lost Tribes
Noon at Jacob’s Well
Jews of both Judea and Galilee considered
Samaria, sandwiched in between them, so unholy a place with such inferior, mixed-blood
people that they wouldn’t step foot there for fear of being defiled. Today we call that attitude racism. When Galileans traveled to
And it’s noon; and over a hundred
degrees. Yahshua sits down on the land
of his ancestor to rest, sending his disciples to find vittles. A woman pops out of the brush to draw water. Now two things are unusual - the Jew at the
well and the woman coming at noon. The
other women drew water in the morning or after sunset. Noon was far too hot for that kind of heavy
work. This woman was evidently an
outcast – a Scarlet Woman; a Scarlet Woman and a Jewish Rabbi sharing the heat
of Jacob’s well in the middle of
Gimme a Drink
Scarlet knows by his clothes that this rabbi despises her; that he’s going to abuse her or insult her. “Woman, gimme a drink!” says the Rabbi in a rough, tired voice. The woman says nothing; she’s scared. Jews and Samaritans didn’t use the same facilities; they’d never drink from a common bucket. Furthermore, many rabbis thought it unclean to even look at a woman in public. Today we call this sexism. So as the lady whispers, fear and resentment choke her voice, “Since when does a Jew ask a drink of a Samaritan woman?” The Rabbi Yahshua softens and answers her in a riddle, “Lady, if you knew my family, you’d be asking me for a drink, and I’d give you running water.”
Today in many third-world villages, wells still supply water. These wells aren’t like the wells here; they’re open ditches full of thick brown, stagnant muck. The ones I’ve seen had all kinds of stuff floating on top. One time I heard a goat fell into a well and drowned, but the people still drew water – they had no alternative. Running water from a spring is much safer and tastes better than well water, but it’s not always available. Spring water isn’t stagnant. When Yahshua says ‘living water,’ he means ‘running water,’ like from a river or tap.
Scarlet thinks Yahshua’s talking about the water moving in the deepest caverns of the well. “Master, you don’t even have a bucket. How you gonna get any running water?” Nowadays at Jacob’s well it’s 125 feet from the top just to the goop floating on the surface. She continues, “You’re gonna need a long rope! Who do you think you are, Jacob, whose flocks drank here and left this place to us?”
Indeed, Scarlet doesn’t know to whom she’s speaking. Yahshua was a direct descendant of Jacob (Matthew 1:2). According to inheritance, the well actually belonged to him! When he came to Jacob’s well, he came to his own property – to his own fountain.
Pretty Dumb She Is
“Drinkin’ this mud’ll never quench your thirst, lady. I’ve got running water, forever gushing up life! Drink mine and, as El is my witness, you’ll never be thirsty again.” Scarlet’s not used to abstract concepts or higher reasoning. Her life is full of toil and coarse reality. She’s just a poor simpleton. But she knows that a person has to drink water all the time to live. She thinks one drink and that’s the end of this disdainful daily chore of carrying water. “Mister, I’ll take some of that water. I’m not well enough to come back here, tsk tsk.”
Scarlet seems as dumb as her bucket. Yahshua tells her that, if she wants some of this premium water, she has to go get her man (andra) and bring him over. The obvious here is that Yahshua wants to sell her miracle water, and for her to buy, she had to get her man, because the man had the money. But Scarlet cries poor; maybe she can get something FREE out of the deal. (Demurely:) “Master, I’m so poor and I’m not even married. I have to do it all for myself. Nobody’s gonna help me, poor, poor Scarlet!”
Yahshua’s equally coy. “Oh, so you haven’t a man! You are poor! But you’ve already had five men; this guy now certainly ain’t one of them.” You see, that’s why Scarlet drug herself out in the heat. Besides being simple, she was an outcast even among outcasts, a disgraceful sinner, even among her own kind. Nobody’d be seen with her. Today we call this intolerance.
Yet Scarlet’s a survivor. Without missing a beat, she changes the subject. “Oh, so you’re a prophet of some kind. Let me see … I have a religion question that’s been bothering me.” Scarlet realizes the fundamental theological difference between Samaritan religion and that of the Jews. And she just hasn’t seen many talkative Jewish rabbis around.
Scarlet says, “Master Prophet, our bunch
always worships up on that there on
Truth and True Worship
Yahshua’s answer to her question is completely unexpected – and unbelievable. “Lady, in the first case, your bunch doesn’t know who to worship, period. In the second case, my bunch knows who – and far too well. In either case, salvation still springs up from the Jews.”
His answer was mold-breaking because, when he speaks of Salvation being from the Jews, he’s speaking of himself: he is Salvation – in fact, his name means “Salvation of Yahweh” – and he did spring from Judaism. We like to forget that Yahshua was a practicing Jew and wore the white and blue linen robe of a master Rabbi, a Bible teacher? And we forget that the Bible he taught had only one Testament! He said plainly that “The New Testament is in my blood.”[xv] So when I call him Yahshua, it reminds me that he is a worshipper of Father Yahweh, and was so long before we made him our g*d.
“Lady, this’ll be hard for you to believe,
but the time’s coming when no one’ll worship the Father either on your mountain
or on mine.” Up on the hill, the
Samaritan temple was already in ruins, and the
Father is No Man!
“Lady, I’ve got more news for you! The Father in Heaven is not a man. He is neither flesh nor full of deceit like a man. He’s not a racist or sexist or traditionalist, nor is he intolerant like a man. The Father is a spiritual being, full of truth. There’s not one bit of fleshliness about him. We only call him ‘him’ for lack of a more accurate word. Words can’t describe ‘him’ accurately. If the Father is fully Spirit and fully Truth, then how can any fleshly ritual, like sacrificing animals or making a pilgrimage to the top of that mountain there, possibly be considered true worship? If worship isn’t true, then it’s false; and false worship is perpetrated by false worshipers. The true will not stand for the false.”
“OH!” Scarlet pipes right up. “I’m not sure I understand any of that, but I’m so glad to hear that Gäd’s not such a mean fellow after all, Sir!” Yahshua replies, “That’s OK, lady. Somebody’ll understand this somewhere, some day; for the time’s coming when true worshipers will again worship. They’ll know how to properly worship the Father, with true spirituality. I’ll teach them how; and if they’ll submit to sound teaching, then they’ll understand it better by and by.”
Again, Scarlet says, “O yes, I do know about that. Someday Messiah’s coming. He’ll teach us all these things. Is that right?” “Lady, look at me! Do you see this man who’s before you, talking to you? I AM.”
Now we interrupt this story for an important announcement. Our Bible translations have Yahshua’s words as, “I that speak unto thee am he” in John 4:26, with the ‘he’ in italics. That means that the word ‘he’ isn’t in the source language, but was put there to clarify the meaning. The actual recorded words of Yahshua are, egw eimi (ego eimi), I AM. This is the English translation of the meaning of the sacred name, Yahweh: I AM, I WAS, I WILL BE.
Scarlet asks Yahshua, “Messiah will come and teach us.” And he replies, “I AM.”
Her Name and the Name of Your G-d
Throughout the Gospel of John, Yahshua reveals two things through signs:
(1) his identity as Yahweh’s Anointed Messiah and
(2) the sacred name of his Father, I AM, designating that Messiah is here! When the Scarlet Woman says the Messiah will come, Yahshua proclaims, “I AM.” Throughout the Gospel of John, we read this over and over. I AM the bread. I AM the light. I AM the door. I AM the good shepherd, I AM come in my Father’s name.[xvi]
The fact that Yahshua proclaimed I AM over and over then is extremely significant for our times, since the only name by which we may be saved has been rediscovered in this present generation.
The Bible tells us that to know one’s name is to have that one’s power. Yahshua has revealed the Father’s name and character to us so that we might have the same power as he – in spirit and truth. This woman, who was no theological genius, still could recognize her personal golden calves – and slay them. Shouldn’t we do the same with our idols? Yes we should. For Yahshua prophesies that some day real worship may be spiritual and truthful, and that the Father’s name and identity would be restored.
This is that day! Will we not appropriate the blessing of the latter days?
A Leaky, Nameless Evangelist
The I AM opened this woman’s eyes. The spiritual blinders of her simplicity, poverty and ignorance fell right off at the revelation of the identity of the Son. Scarlet was transformed immediately, in miraculous fashion, and she became living, running water. And she went running, leaking water all the way back to Sychar, flooding the village with running water. She didn’t care who saw her leaking or even that she’d left that old empty bucket behind. The wellsprings of her eyes burst forth water – she was full to the brim with new knowledge and now, new life.
Yahshua became an
instant sensation in
One Final Observation
In the next major incident, Yahshua reveals himself to a sinful woman of a despised minority. The pitiful woman not only understood, but believed and received. She got a bucketful and a new bucket to hold it all in. She was forgiven and born anew. She received a mission and purpose in life other than just slaving for things that don’t satisfy anyway.
And Scarlet cried, “As El Is My Witness, I’ll Never Be Thirsty Again!”
Examine yourself. With whom will you stand – with the prideful minded Nicodemus, religious but unsurrendered? or with a simple woman who listened and capitulated to the good news? The next time you gaze up at your golden calves half hidden in the rubble of a ruined hilltop shrine far above the stagnant cistern of dead religion, consider this - the wellspring of living water is here if you will take some. LIFE is here! I AM is here. Get you a drink and never thirst again.
St. Jude’s Benediction
1. To him who is able to keep us from falling,
2. and carry us into his glorious presence,
3. both faultless and joyful: to our sky-bound Father,
4. through Iesu Anointed, our master, be glory,
5. and majesty, might and authority, even
6. from ages long past and from now and forever,
7. amen and amen. Hallelujah, amen.
[ii] it was necessary for him – edei auton.
through the Shomron – there is an emphasis on Yahshua going through
[iv] Shomronites called Shekhem – Samaritans called Shechem (or Sychar). Called is legomenén.
[v] Yahqov gave to his son Yosef – Jacob (or James) gave to Joseph.
[vi] fountain – pégé.
[vii] rations – trophas, food.
[viii] well – phrear.
[ix] beasts – thremmata – sheep, goats, cattle, nurslings.
[x] dipsesei – will thirst.
[xi] ageless life – zoén aiónion.
[xii] salvation – that is, Yahshua himself. Yahshua means Yahweh’s salvation. The Greek is sótéria.
[xiii] seeks this kind worshipping – toioutous (the like) zétei (he seeks) tous (the ones) proskuntoutas (worshipping).
[xv] Luke 22:20, 1 Corinthians 11:25, KJV.
[xvi] John 5:43.
Jackson Snyder Feb 27, 2002 August 18, 2005