It was a long journey from Judaea through Samaria and back to the start of His ministry in Galilee. Jesus knew that His teaching mission was destined for a final and decisive show-down in Jerusalem, but He had to choose His battles wisely. It was sensible to return to his sea-side home district and consolidate the root-and-branch reform of what the synagogue leaders had misunderstood: rousing slumbering consciences where He could, healing the sick and fixing whatever seemed broken.
He had sought to peel away the crumbling accumulation of so many man-made Jewish traditions: rituals and regulations that clung on like barnacles to Moses' Law. The well-heeled religious elite had done everything to selfishly overcomplicate it in their favour.
Yet, wipe away all of that dross and only two things really mattered to God: loving loyalty to Him and a commitment of practical love towards others without self-seeking and regardless of their status.
'Easier said than done', He thought, rolling his eyes. Yet, if He could only expose the harsh 'one-size-fits-all' reasoning of the legal scholars who opposed Him, He'd be able to reveal the Law's ultimate purpose. It could engender humility and not their vile outward display of rituals. If they understood that, then maybe He could really help them: 'They didn't have to be religious. They could just be assured that God forgave them and then receive what was promised by the ancient holy men: a conscience free from fear of constant offence and empowered to do good, full of renewed sensitivity to God's telepathic Voice, the Holy Spirit.'
Despite all that those earlier prophets had foretold, his opponents seemed more interested in defaming Him with nit-picking remarks about healing and picking a few ears of corn on the Sabbath. Of course, that didn't stop them rescuing the odd farm animal or performing a circumcision on the same Holy day of the week. It was another exasperating double-standard.
His disciples had run ahead to another town to buy food. Strange that they were always short of money, despite receiving so many generous donations. He'd have to have a chat about that with their treasurer, Judas. He really hoped to God he wasn't skimming, although little else seemed plausible.
Not far ahead, there was a sight for His sore eyes...and throat. Water. The well seemed like déjà-vu. As He approached it, the name, Jacob, somehow stuck in His mind. Everything looked so familiar, He was sure He must have been there before, but He just couldn't think when.
'Give me a drink?', He asked with a cheeky smile. The woman drawing water recoiled at His dialect: 'How is that you a Jew ask me a Samaritan for water?'
He just loved the reaction when He challenged the status quo. As a rebel for good-will, He knew that no-one normally saw it coming. They were always taken aback by His generosity bombs. He thought back to the kind of change that they could effect in so many lives.
For a moment, He remembered His new friend, Zacchaeus. From a life so focused on extorting every penny he could for himself and the Roman bullies for whom he worked, he had finally understood the beauty of God's generosity and had thought about how He could start to reflect it: 'I'm giving half of my possessions to the poor and I'll make restitution at four times whatever I've extorted' His neighbours were flabbergasted, but it was music to Jesus' ears. Another selfish life turned around.
Nevertheless, this woman seemed very different. Yet, He was sure He could somehow move the conversation easily and nonchalantly from talk about short-lived thirst for water to the unending turmoil of those thirsting for hope in the middle of their hopelessness; the thirst for 'living' water: God's reassurance and empowerment to escape lives of disappointment, unending betrayals, and the exhaustion of constant self-justification and rejection.