Share |

Come and See: A dramatic monologue of the woman at the well

“Come and See” has been presented at women’s groups, youth groups, and in worship services. It has always been well received.

The actor who plays the part should not underestimate the amount of preparation time needed to portray the character—it is an emotionally and physically draining role. The length of the monologue requires creative blocking, and lighting effects add to the presentation.

I take no credit for this script. It was just one of those times when I couldn’t type fast enough to keep up with the stream of ideas that was pouring through my mind. I wept as I wrote her. I wept as I read her. I know that God had a very special hand in this script.

—Jan Boers

“Livin’ water.” That’s what he promised that day by the well. “Livin’ water.” Shoot, I didn’t know what he meant by it. I only just knew that here was this Jewish rabbi, sittin’ by the well . . . first askin’ me for water . . . and then turnin’ around later and offerin’ me somethin’ I hadn’t never heard of before . . . “livin’ water.”

It had started out like any other day. The sun come up ordinary-like. Jake got up . . . ornery-like. I’d learned to stay clear of Jake on mornin’s like that—mornin’s when the night-before’s wine soured his breath and flared his temper.

I shuddered as I heard him liftin’ the water jar to the basin, knowin’ what I’d hear. . . . “Lazy, good-for-nothin’ slut. Not enough water in here to . . . Woman—been layin’ around again doin’ nothin’, ain’t ya? Jar’s empty again. Don’t ya go givin’ me that sob story ‘bout how ya can’t go to the well when the other women’s there. You listen to me, woman! This here water jar better be filled up to the top and settin’ right where it belongs the next time I’m in need of washin’ up! You hear me?”

I didn’t mind so much the slap he give me. I deserved it . . . a woman’s duty is to keep the water jar full up to the top. Besides, his cuff didn’t cut me nearly so deep as the rebuff I was used to gettin’ from the women at the well.

Their looks cut deep. Their looks screamed, “Just who does she think she is . . . showin’ up here with us . . . just like she was one of us or somethin’?”

Their silences cut deep. Their silences screamed, “Just who does she think she is . . . standin’ here next to us . . . just like she was somebody decent or somethin’?”

I’d take Jake’s slap to my face any day over that! Besides . . . good thing about Jake is, after he takes a swipe or two at me—after the fog of the wine clears from his head—he can be almost . . . gentle-like. He’s real sorry and all. It’s just that he’s got a “thirst”—a thirst that he just can’t seem to quench.

Anyways, like I was sayin’, it started out like any other day. Jake left to do whatever it is men do durin’ the day. There was just enough water in the jar for me to wet a rag or two. I pressed the cool of it up against my face until the swellin’ went down. I did as many chores that didn’t require water as I could. Noon came. ’Bout then I knew the time was right for me to make my way to the well.

Evenin’ is the time for most to draw water. There’s none too many out on the street at high noon. It’s the best time of the day to avoid contact with those who hold you “at a distance.” Since I have no one to walk with and talk with on the way to the well, I like to pass the walk time by “fairy talin’.” Ya know what I mean? “Happy endingin’.” I think about how things are and how they could’ve been.

Like, what if Judas—he was my first husband and the love of my life—what if he hadn’t died so young? Guess it’s true what they say about “the good die young.” What if I’d had a son by him? Then I wouldn’t have had to marry Judas’s brother, Jabesh. He didn’t want me anyway. . . . What if Jabesh hadn’t divorced me and forced me into marriage with Jabar? What if Jabar hadn’t died? He was a good man . . . poor, but good. Older than Methusaleh, but good. Wasn’t much chance I’d have a son by him! But he was a good man.

What if my marriage to Levi would have worked out? Not that there was much chance of that either. He was a mean-spirited man. What if I had never married Zadar? . . . What if Deborah hadn’t caught Zadar’s fancy after we’d married? . . . What if Zadar hadn’t gone off with her to who-knows-where before obtainin’ a divorce decree from the elders of the city?

What if Jake and I could get married . . . and what if we had a son? A son who was brighter and faster and handsomer than any of the sons of those who cut me out. My son would have Jake’s thirst for the good things in life . . . but not his thirst for wine. My son would have my love for people . . . but not their disdain for me. My son would marry a fine girl who would do me the honor of drawin’ water from the well for me.

Fairy talin’ . . . happy endingin’!

He was already sittin’ there when I approached. I could see right away he wasn’t from these parts—he was a Jew, and he looked to be a teacher or a rabbi. I expected the usual down-lookin’ from him that we Samaritans have received from Jews for as long as we can remember.

I expected it double . . . bein’ as I was not only a Samaritan but a woman as well. “Unclean” they call us—like we was dogs or somethin’!

So I looked at that man just sitting there and thought, “He’s one of them. Just another one of them that thinks he’s better than me. Just another one of them thinkin’, ‘There she is . . . a Samaritan woman! Just who does she think she is, comin’ to this well? Just who does she think she is, comin’ anywhere near me? Why, one tiny brush from her skirt could keep me out of the synagogue for weeks!”

But I didn’t know what he was thinkin’. Instead of shooing me away, he asked me, real polite-like, “Will you give me a drink?”

It was easy to see why he’d be askin’. The sun was hotter than blue blazes, his clothes were sweated up like he’d been walkin’ awhile, and he was empty-handed. He needed me! I had the upper hand for a change! He needed me to draw him some water.

Know how ya can be when the upper hand is yours and ya know it? Know how it is when ya really want to be talkin’ to somebody . . . anybody, but the pride in ya keeps ya from givin’ ’em so much as a side glance? Know how sometimes the venom that’s been gnawin’ at your belly just spills out and ya lay on some innocent victim the anger that’s just pushin’ to get out?

I soon regretted the angry words I spit at him. “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?”

He didn’t get riled by the words or the anger. Instead, he told me strange things. Things about living water, and water that makes people never thirst again. He asked about Jake. Well, he didn’t really ask about Jake, he asked me to go to get my husband. And when I told him, kinda cocky-like, that I didn’t have a husband . . . [very subdued] . . . he told me he knew . . . then he told me everything I ever did.

[Moves from shame to excitement] I knew right off he was some kind of prophet, and after he said a couple more things I got to wonderin’ [increases excitement] . . . Could he be the one? Could he be the Messiah they’re always talkin’ about? Could he be? . . .

My mind got to runnin’ with the thought of it. It was like fairy talin’, but for real. What if he was the one? What if . . . what if . . . ? Before I knew what was happenin’, my feet was runnin’ too. Runnin’ right into town . . . right to the people who never had so much as the time of day for me. Then my mouth started runnin’ too . . . and words just spilled out: “Come and see . . . Come and see the man who told me everything I ever did! Could he be the Christ?”

Now, I don’t know if they went to the well to hear about all I ever did . . . ’cause I know some of them had really been ponderin’ on that . . . or if they went because they wanted to see the prophet who might be the Christ. I don’t know why they went, but they went runnin’!

Next thing I knew I was runnin’ home. I threw open the door, and I run smack into Jake!

“Jake, I got somethin’ to tell ya that ya just aren’t gonna believe. . . . Jake, you’ve been drinkin’ again, haven’t ya, Jake! . . . Just hear me out, OK? Jake, I . . . the water jar? Why, I musta left it by the well! That’s what I gotta tell ya about, Jake. There was . . . yeh . . . yeh . . . I know what ya told me, Jake. Yeh, I know ya wanted it right there where it belongs when ya got home. . . . Yeh, and filled to the top! I heard ya, Jake! But ya gotta hear me out!” [Raises her hands to cover her face; sounds of slapping offstage.]

Jake! I went to get the water! Honest I did! Just like you told me!

Jake! I met a man there! No . . . not that kinda met! I met a man who has a special kinda water! Jake, if you drink it, you’ll never be thirsty again! It’ll quench that thirst you got so deep inside of you, Jake.

Jake, come and see! Come and see this man who told me everything I ever did!

Come and see!

[Returns to narrative] It had started out like any other day. The sun had come up ordinary just like any other day. But it didn’t stay ordinary. That was the day when I went to the well, and a man named Jesus was there. He told me about something called living water. It’s water . . . that . . . when you drink of it . . . it quenches a thirst way deep down inside. Oh! Come and see!

 

Excerpt
John 4:39-42

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers.

They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

 

RESPONSES TO "COME AND SEE"
  • “My perspective on the Samaritan woman has changed completely. I will never read her story again in the same way.”
  • “I want to go back to the Bible and read her story. Did she really have five husbands? I didn’t realize that she had suffered so much rejection.”
  • “I was caught up in the story of the woman. When it was finished, I turned to my big, strong, construction-worker husband and he had tears streaming down his cheeks. I’ve never seen him so moved.”
  • “We needed time after she was presented to recover from the emotional impact of her story.”
  • “It was like watching Titanic. The drama was long, but I never lost interest.”
  • “This drama made such an impact on me and my children. They loved it.”

__________
For additional material from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, click here.