A Love Parable: The Woman at the Well
By Rev. Dr. Herbert Brokering
Once upon a time
there was a minister
who wanted to tell a very hard story
so it could be told one time
and people would know always what it meant.
They would hear the story
in a way so they could feel the meaning
The minister took them through a gate
to a yard where others had come from all around
to throw away what was now bent, broken, cracked
and could not be used
for what it was made to be.
It was all very rusted.
The people found the many pieces in a pile
and they had pity
knowing that something once useful was now so broken.
They stopped, looked at it, bent over it
and began to think of their feelings.
Each took a piece and held it.
They had pity on the many pieces of metal,
for what was once new was now broken.
It was so broken it had lost its name.
They could not tell what it had once been.
They brought the broken pieces to each other
and showed what they had.
They thought and felt and wondered
what new thing all the pieces could now be.
They would make something new.
Now the minister told them the story.
Once upon a time there was a woman
who was broken into many pieces.
She felt her life was bent, ruined, rusted.
She had lost her good spirit, her beauty, her meaning, her peace
and even her good name.
Some say she was broken into seven parts,
some say seven times seventy pieces.
She was torn, broken, left there.
She felt of no good use.
She went to a well where people met
when they were thirsty
or to meet each other.
She felt empty, dry, rusty, thirsty inside.
Her life was a desert.
A man came to drink and he met her at the well.
He knew she would be there
for he had been watching her break apart.
She needed more than well water.
He asked her for a drink
which was a very great surprise
for it was against the law of the town
for this woman to give him water.
She was surprised that he noticed her.
She wanted instead to help him with his thirst.
He asked her who she was,
she told him her name.
She did not say much, for she was ashamed
and she did not like the name she now had.
She was broken, bent, hurt.
Her life was a pile of brokenness.
She said little. He told her who she was.
He showed that he knew her, and that he cared.
He knew the woman very well without her knowing.
He was like a mirror to her.
His questions helped her see herself again
and the seven wounded pieces of the woman began to come together.
She could again become a whole person, a new person.
Before she had met the man she felt dry,
empty, like a hot desert inside,
and her spirit was thirsty.
She guessed his name. Messiah.
He knew she was thirsty.
He told of a drink that could quench the thirst
of the burning desert inside her.
She wanted a drink that would bring the death in her
back to life.
She wanted a drink that was living
and could, like a rain, make the dry desert in her bloom again.
She wanted all this.
He said, I know you.
I have a drink that will bring life
in this desert place in you
that is better than this water in this deep well.
I know a living water.
She said, Sir, give it to me.
He did. He was the water.
He was the living water.
She needed the life of Messiah.
Every broken part of her began to come together.
She was growing whole again.
The minister was finished with the story.
The people had heard and felt the story.
The people brought together the pieces of broken metal
to make one new piece.
What would it be?
The people were silent.
They whispered, then they agreed
they would create the One
who met the woman at the well.
They made an iron Messiah, Jesus.
They made him broken, bent, twisted, rusted.
It was finished.
They gave what they had made a name.
Suffering. Hope. Forgiveness.
They kept looking for one name, one word.
It was unanimous,
they named it Love.
Then they named the woman in the story,
for they had not been told her name.
Then they gave her a new name.
It was unanimous.
They named her Love.
Now they know that at the well Love met Love.
O God, you do not leave us empty, thirsty, or destroyed. You give us a drink so our spirit thirst will be quenched. You give us a name which is your own name. You recreate and renew us with love. We know this through your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Read about the woman at the well: John 4:4-30.
NOTE: Please acknowledge Rev. Dr. Herbert Brokering and Wheat Ridge Ministries in all reprints. Thanks!