Living Water

Northward along the dusty highway there paced a traveler. He was journeying toward his home country; partly, it seems, to escape the hostility which his work had awakened, the threatening attention of the governing powers. Passing through a country hostile to his race and religion, and drawing near to a city, he sat down to rest while awaiting his companions who had gone ahead for supplies.

Meanwhile a woman approached the same spot from another quarter. Her face was not that of a saint; it wore a somewhat defiant expression, as of one who felt she had too much to bear, though she had brought upon herself increased burdens by an evil course. The day's work had to be done, however, and she came to the well to draw water for her household needs. She took no notice of the stranger sitting there, assuming that as a member of a hated race he would ignore her presence. But no; in a voice arresting in its gentle yet vibrant tones he asked her for a drink. His request did not please her. She would herself have offered the boon to a different kind of traveler, and her failure to do so in this case had not been fairly interpreted. Has pride stooped so low? she thought. The man must indeed be thirsty to ask water at her hands! The ready taunt rose to her lips; but the stranger paid no heed to her racial contempt, as with the dignity of unbounded compassion he indicated in his reply a thirst on her part deeper than his own, and spoke of a living fount of good at which to slake it. Step by step he led her surprised thought on, while she clung blindly to materiality in her effort to grasp something of his purpose; bit by bit, however, in response to his gracious, penetrating utterances, she surrendered something of her pride, her self-will, her hostility.

"Take no thought"
December 6, 1913

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