This was posted at my former blog "marmee's musings in April, 2006. Today my Bible study included John 4 and reminded me of this post. It appears here for the first time.
I have a definite image of what a well should look like: a stone and mortar structure, topped with a rack-shambled roof and a sturdy, cranking handle to lower and raise the bucket that dangles from a rope. The kind that might be depicted in a children's book with old-fashioned illustrations. The kind you throw a penny in and make a wish.
My grandma had an abandoned well on her farm, which had always been covered by only a concrete slab. Equipped with an electric pump, it had once provided water for the house -- no penny wishes, no dipping bucket. It was a point of interest because my mother continuously warned my sister and me not to remove the cover. I marveled that she thought her four-year-old had such brute strength!
Today my interest in wells turns to the Bible, especially regarding two women: one from the Old Testament and one from the New. It was barren Sarah's doing that Hagar was pregnant, but when Hagar lorded it over her mistress, Sara demanded her departure. (See Genesis 16.)
As Hagar sat by a well (fountain) in the wilderness, did wishes march through her mind in drumming despair? Did she wish Abraham loved her? That she had displayed a humble spirit? That Sara had never suggested their arrangement in the first place? In His mercy, God sent an Angel of the Lord (the preincarnate Christ) to Hagar who commanded her to return to Sara and comforted her with news that she would have a son whose seed would become a great multitude. In gratitude, Hagar named this well Beer-lahai-roi -- "a well of the Living One who sees me" (Genesis 16:14).
Returning must have been difficult, and perhaps it was not what Hagar wished, but surely the Lord's presence quenched her misery, and His promise made the circumstances bearable.
Over two thousand years later, Jesus met a Samaritan woman by a well. (See John 4.) She, too, was an outcast, perhaps wishing for acceptance and respectability, for a way to escape her promiscuity. By visiting the well at mid-day, she avoided respectable women who gathered water in the cool of morning or evening.
So, imagine her surprise when a Jewish man not only asked her for a drink (Jews considered Samaritans as unclean.) but also identified the reason she was shunned and then offered her a drink of the Living Water. The Water that cleanses, refreshes, renews; a water that would reside in her as a "well. . . springing up into everlasting life" (John 4:14).
What are your wishes today? Peace of mind? Reconciliation? A second chance? Healing? Whatever wish resides in your heart, turn to the Living One Who Sees, the Living Water. He is not a Disneyland magican who makes all your dreams come true, but He promises to never leave nor forsake you, to see you through every trial, to shield you from every temptation, to bring you safely home into His arms for all eternity.
Isn't that worth wishing for?