Caressed By The Father
by Kathleen Langridge

No use trying to solve the unsolvable, no answers ever came, no way forward ever appeared. Wearily she picked up the yoke putting it over her shoulders and attaching the water jars, she set off for the well.

The midday sun beat down upon her, sweat falling like hot rain drops under her clothing and head cover. She looked ahead to the well and the welcome shade of the few trees that grew there.

'Oh no! A man is sitting alone beside the well. Now what should I do? I have to get water I can't go back home with the jars empty. Well nothing can destroy my ruined reputation so I might as well draw the water I need,' Rachel thought.

The man raised his head as Rachel approached and immediately by his looks and clothing she realized he was a Jewish Rabbi. But wait, was he was smiling at her? Though she knew she shouldn't, she was drawn to his eyes. Something in his eyes said he was different and then he asked, "Will you give me a drink?"

Startled she replied, "But you are a Jew and I am a Samaritan and a woman, how can you ask me for a drink?"

"If you knew the gift of God and who it is who asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would give you living water."

"This is a deep well and you have nothing to draw with, where would you get this living water?"

He replied, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become to him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

"Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here for water," Rachel said as she took a step closer to the stranger. But his reply saddened her.

"Go call your husband and come back."

"I have no husband," Rachel said her head bowed and her pain filled eyes staring at the rocky, dusty ground.

"The fact is, you have had five husbands and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have said is quite true."

"Ah, you are a prophet, we worship here on this mountain but you Jews say we must worship in Jerusalem." Rachel couldn't believe this man was even talking to her, he knew who and what she had become. Her head hanging down again, her eyes fastened on the thirsty ground she was amazed to hear him continue.

"A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and truth."

Rachel's heart began to beat faster and she felt so alive, answers to questions she never dared ask. This man's words were boring into her soul like a bradawl into wood, piercing the walls she had built in defense against the world. Before she could stop herself she was saying hopefully, "I know that the Messiah called the Christ is coming. When he comes he will explain everything to us."

She expected a rebuke but as she raised her head to look again at those eyes that had held her before, such gentleness, even strength but without threat; there was truth in their depth. He spoke this time with sound of all eternity in his voice; not loud but so clear it seemed the very mountains grew quiet and the earth held its breath.

"I who speak to you am he."

His words surrounded her, holding her as though a loving father was tenderly caressing her. She belonged, her life had truly begun and somehow the future was calling her home to a place she had longed for but never really knew before this moment.

Rachel moved toward him as though in a dream but before she could speak or reach him a group of men, his disciples, approached from the town. Only one thing burned in her heart; she must reach the town and tell of this man. This man who knew who she was with out being told, yet who explained worship to her and who revealed himself as the Messiah, the Christ; her Messiah, her Christ who awakened eternity in her heart.

Former 'city girl' with 30 yrs. in a variety of church and missionary ministries. Now living in Latvia after 12 years in England. My English husband and I have a small sheep farm in a very rural area, with a heart to encourage.

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