He looked on her and thought that people rarely fail because they want to fail. They so often fail because they simply don't know how to succeed.
Here he was: a Jew talking to a Samaritan. The Jews had such a long-standing animosity towards Samaritans treating them as ethnic mongrels. 'A bunch of racists!' He thought: remembering the way that most of His countrymen considered all Samaritans to be morally tainted half-breeds.
The mutual contempt was exacerbated by the ugly 'religious' rivalry over whether Mount Gerazim or Jerusalem was designated by God's holy writings to be the centre for Temple worship.
His critics would have had a field day if they saw Him talking to her...and all because of her race. So sad!
'Not just that!' A voice shouted inside His head. He gazed into her eyes that peeped through a mask of resignation. After quenching his thirst with water from the ladle, He asked her to imagine what it would be like to discover water that contained the power to provide a new lease on life itself. An unending source of hope and second-chances.
'A life without thirst?, she laughed, 'Not a bad idea!' She thought that if it meant not having the daily ordeal of drawing this water, avoiding the scandalmongers and carting it home by the bucketload, she'd be first in line.
She really didn't understand His word-picture. 'A bit too clever', he thought, 'it's time to get practical'. He closed His eyes and wondered about the hidden shadow of sorrow cast across her face and sought insight.
'Ask her to...' the Voice said. He had hardly formed the mental reply: 'Ask her to what?', when the words tumbled from His lips: 'Go and call your husband!'
The woman rolled her eyes in near exasperation, issued her stock reply: 'I have no husband' and then looked away pretending to be busy with her chore. Jesus seized the moment to combine His hallmark of generosity with honesty: 'Well that's true. You've had five husbands and the man you're living with isn't your husband'
'Oh, okay. Different!', she thought and then quizzed herself: 'but how did He know 'five'? And I've never met this man before'
Yes, five marriages and now shacked up with her last resort 'boyfriend': someone she 'helped' and who 'helped' her. Women marked her with indelible suspicion, abandoning even social niceties. 'An insatiable predator' most thought, 'Guard your husbands!' And even though most men might publicly avoid her, she tired of those 'happily' married ones who always quietly asked whether they could meet her, um, discreetly.
So I guess you're a prophet then?' she replied. Cornered by his candour, she threw in a diversion about the on-going dispute between Jews and Samaritans fighting over the rightful location of the Temple.
He explained to her that where people worshipped was not nearly as important as wholehearted honesty in worship. He called it: 'in spirit and in truth'.