Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Please give me a drink’. He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.
The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, ‘You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?’
Jesus replied, ‘If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water’.
‘But Sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,’ she said, ‘and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? And besides, do you think you are greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How do you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?’
Jesus replied,’ Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life’.
(John 8: 6-14)
On Sunday, we visited Cottesbrook Hall to enjoy their garden as part of the National Garden Scheme. After decades of local residency, it is embarrassing to admit that we have not visited previously something right on our doorstep, and instantly regretted not having done so.
Being amateur gardeners, we were not anticipating conversation with the owner of the property. But he introduced himself and was keen to provide information about the plants and borders. He was obviously closely involved in the choice and location of plants. In fact, he joined us again towards the end of our visit to impart some insight about the history of the parkland.
April has been a very dry period, and we asked him about irrigation of the borders. It transpires that a hose is used sparingly, since their water supply is sourced from two private reservoirs and a large water tank in the hill near Haselbech. They are not on mains water, and need carefully to manage their use of water for both domestic and horticultural purposes.
I reflected upon the meeting between Jesus and a woman at the well.
The woman was a Samaritan, a mixed race hated by the Jews, living outside wedlock, and present in a public place. No respectable Jewish man would talk to a woman in such circumstances. But Jesus crossed all barriers to share the Good News. A little bit like the attention we received at Cottesbrook Hall from its owner.
The water supply from Jacob’s well was limited and difficult to access, just as the drinking water that supplies Cottesbrook Hall needs to be carefully husbanded.
Jesus spoke of a different water, a spring of living water, to satisfy a spiritual thirst rather than a physical thirst. A thirst for a relationship with God.
There is also a brook which flows through the grounds of Cottesbrook Hall and supports the wetland gardens.
How lucky we are to have two springs of living water on our doorstep.
May your rivers of living water flow within me this day.