This book actually made me go back to the Bible to make sure I hadn't read something incorrect in the account of the Samaritan woman. Diana Wallis Taylor in Journey to the Well puts her story in a whole different light. I guess that the reason I thought she had 5 husbands and the man she was living with wasn't her husband was because she had no morals, and yet Jesus has his longest individual conversation with her.
This intrigued Diana many years ago. She for several different reasons never got it published until this year. It was well worth the wait. The Samaritan woman is one of those characters in the Bible that has always made me want to know more about her. Why did she have 5 husbands, why was she living with someone not her husband, what brought her to the point that she got water from the well in the middle of the day when no one else would be there?
Marah is only 13 when her aunt decides that Marah is ready to marry the local sandal maker. Marah is not ready to be an adult yet, she still wants to play in the street with the other children. But obey she must. It is the law and one never goes against what your elders tell you to do. Zibeon has lost one wife already and he is not a gentle quiet man. He is known for his temper and Marah is afraid of him even before she gets to know him.
So starts the story of the woman at the well as she is known in the Bible. No name no history of why, just a woman at a well. It is not a easy story but it is hers. I know that this story could be completely different than this is written, but why not think of it this way. This could be any of us as we face Jesus at our own well. We don't show our sins to others for fear of what they would say to us as we walk down the street. Marah already knows what they would say, that is why she is avoiding them.
I really liked this story. I was worried at first that Diana was going to make her a victim the whole story. That she has 5 husbands through no fault of her own, but that is not how this story goes. She makes decisions on her own and it is not always the right one, but she does try her best to make the right ones for herself and her child. It is so interesting how God orchestrates her life to keep pointing her to her encounter with Jesus. I know it is fiction, but it sure does speak to our own lives.