Based on the Gospel of John, chapter 4
[The dialogue part can be done by two actors, although both can be played by the same actor if he or she can move from standing to sitting and back again quickly enough, and thus give the illusion of being two people.]
My name is Susanna, and I lived a long time ago, in the time of Jesus. This is my story.
I had had an unhappy life. I had been married five times, but each of my five husbands got tired of me and divorced me. Now I was living with a man I didn’t love and who didn’t love me, a man who had taken me in just to look after his house and do his cooking.
I was unhappy too because I didn’t have friends. In the village of Sychar where I lived, the other women thought there must be something strange about me because of my five divorces, so they didn’t want to be my friends.
Now, in that world, we didn’t have taps in our home, so if we needed water (which was every day), we had to walk to the well with a bucket and get some. That was almost a kilometre away—can you imagine carrying a heavy bucket full of water all that way on your head?—so usually the women would go to the well together, so they could talk as they walked. And they would go in the evening, when the sun was going down and it was cooler. But they didn’t want me to go with them, so I had to go by myself in the middle of the day, when it was very hot. I think you can see why I wasn’t very happy. I had no one to love me.
Then one day, as I was going to the well in the middle of the day, as I was getting close, I could see there was a stranger sitting by the edge of the well. That had never happened before. We didn’t get strangers in Sychar! Who could it be and what did he want? So when I got close, I spoke to him, and this is how the conversation went.
Susanna: Good afternoon, sir.
Jesus: Good afternoon. Could I ask you a favour? It’s really hot and I’m quite thirsty. Would you mind getting me a drink of water with your bucket? [And as he asked, he smiled really nicely.]
Susanna: Um, sir, but I can see you’re Jewish, and you can see I’m a Samaritan, and your people and my people don’t like each other very much. So why are you even talking to me?
Jesus: If you knew about the gift that God wants to give you, and if you’d known who I am, asking you for a drink, you would have asked me for a drink, and I would have given you something called living water.
Susanna: Excuse me, sir, but that’s crazy talk. How could you possibly give me water? This is a very deep well, if you hadn’t noticed, and you don’t have a bucket. Where could you possibly get “living water”?
Jesus: Once you’ve had a drink from this well, after a bit you get thirsty again—right? [I nodded. It was obvious.] But the living water I give people is quite different. One you’ve had a drink of this living water, you will never be thirsty again. In fact, the living water will be something that’s always in you, and you can even give it to other people.
Susanna: That sounds amazing. Could you give me some of this living water—please? It would be amazing never to be thirsty again. And it would be so nice never to have to come here again to get water on a boiling hot day like today.
Jesus: OK, then. Why don’t you go home and get your husband, and bring him too, so that he can hear about the living water?
Susanna: Oh, um, well, as it happens, I don’t have a husband . . . as such.
Jesus: I know that. You’ve had five husbands who didn’t really love you, and the man you’re with now doesn’t really care about you, does he? So it’s quite true when you say you don’t have someone who really takes care of you, like a good husband should.
Susanna: Errr . . . I don’t know how you know all this, and it’s kind of embarrassing. So why don’t we talk about something else? Let’s see. You’re obviously a religious person, so maybe you can tell me which is the right church to go to. Now there’s a question that’s always bothered me.
Jesus: You know, God isn’t interested so much in what church you go to. God is much more interested in what’s in your heart—whether you know how much he loves you, and if you’re learning to love him back. That’s what’s really important to God.
Susanna: Oh dear, this is a bit too deep for me. But, you know what? We’ve always been told that one day the Messiah, the Christ, is going to come, and when he comes he will explain everything to us. So let’s not worry about it right now. OK?
Jesus: Susanna: you may not believe this, but guess what? I am the Messiah, the person who’s talking to you right now!
Well, I was so shocked, I put my hand over my mouth and my eyes opened very wide. Just then, Jesus’ disciples came back, so I didn’t have to think of anything to say. I forgot all about my bucket, and ran all the way back to the village, and shouted to everyone I met, “I’ve just met a man who knows all about me, and I think he might be the Messiah. Come and see, come and see for yourselves!” And they all came with me to meet Jesus. It was amazing.
You know, that day, I had no idea what he meant by living water. But I know now. You know what it is? The living water is the love of God. And that day, Jesus helped me feel the love of God. He was so nice to me, and he talked to me in such a kind and friendly way, and nobody had done that for a very long time. And now I realise that was God’s love for me, coming through Jesus. In fact, the love of God comes through Jesus for every single person in the world—including you! It’s amazing!
Messy Church, June 20, 2019