The Story of the Samaritan Woman
Lonely Girl is a derivative of the Christian New Testament tale, “The Story of the Samaritan Woman,” sometimes known as “The Woman at the Well” or “Lone Woman at the Well.” It is a story found in the Bible in the Book of John, a book written by a man who claimed himself to be “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Given the profundity of his claim, I assume then the writer knew a lot about love or how to be loved—that is, a Beloved. To provide a demonstration of love in action, he shares in his book a story of a lone woman in desperate search of love and her encounter with a certain man named Jesus, who confronts her with her past, which is markedly checkered by scandal and rejection. This is a woman well-acquainted with abandonment, shunned as she was in religious circles, by fellow women, and by the men who came and went in her life. As the story of this nameless woman continues to resonate with readers even thousands of years later, I assume her life story is a rather common one. For many, it touches close to home. It’s a story many girls and women can probably relate to.
And it is my story.
A Samaritan woman came to the well to get some water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” This happened while his followers were in town buying some food.
The woman answered, “I am surprised that you ask me for a drink! You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman!” (Jews have nothing to do with Samaritans.)
Jesus answered, “You don’t know what God can give you. And you don’t know who I am, the one who asked you for a drink. If you knew, you would have asked me, and I would have given you living water.”
The woman said, “Sir, where will you get that living water? The well is very deep, and you have nothing to get water with. Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob? He is the one who gave us this well. He drank from it himself, and his sons and all his animals drank from it too.”
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. But anyone who drinks the water I give will never be thirsty again. The water I give people will be like a spring flowing inside them. It will bring them eternal life.”
The woman said to Jesus, “Sir, give me this water. Then I will never be thirsty again and won’t have to come back here to get more water.”
Jesus told her, “Go get your husband and come back.”
The woman answered, “But I have no husband.”
Jesus said to her, “You are right to say you have no husband. That’s because, although you have had five husbands, the man you live with now is not your husband. That much was the truth.”
The woman said, “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain. But you Jews say that Jerusalem is the place where people must worship.”
Jesus said, “Believe me, woman! The time is coming when you will not have to be in Jerusalem or on this mountain to worship the Father. You Samaritans worship something you don’t understand. We Jews understand what we worship, since salvation comes from the Jews. But the time is coming when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. In fact, that time is now here. And these are the kind of people the Father wants to be his worshipers. God is spirit. So the people who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
The woman said, “I know that the Messiah is coming.” (He is the one called Christ.) “When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
Then Jesus said, “He is talking to you now—I am the Messiah.”
Just then Jesus’ followers came back from town. They were surprised because they saw Jesus talking with a woman. But none of them asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”
Then the woman left her water jar and went back to town. She told the people there, “A man told me everything I have ever done. Come see him. Maybe he is the Messiah.” So the people left the town and went to see Jesus.
—John 4:7–30, English to Read Version
A story like hers is rarely told in raw, candid detail. No one wants to be the subject of scandal. To admit ourselves as the subject of acting on forbidden unconscious fantasies begets shame. I am rather inclined to want to feel safe and secure (i.e., hide). Yet secrets have power only insofar as they remain secrets (i.e., hidden in the dark and kept from the light). The natural response is to want to pull the window curtains together and shut others out from my “shadow” self, the dark side, so no one can see the condition in which you really lived—who you really are behind the “mask,” the real you. But without risky transparency and self-study, we impede authenticity, which then impedes intimacy and ultimately, healing love—that is, freedom.
In taking on transparency in writing this book, I felt anything but safe and secure. Indeed, to say I felt as if I were losing my virginity again is an understatement. There’s this looming fear of making an irreversible misjudgment in choosing to tell all. Thoughts surface like, “Perhaps this story is better left untold.”
Yes, it’s risky. The thought of being broken in and having my intimate partner (you, the reader) choose, by the book’s end, whether to accept or deny the worth of my art is risky. It’s like I’m putting my heart on the line for you, as I set my life utterly naked before you. Yes, telling my story is my way of stripping down, clothes completely off, and baring my body before you like a naked statue in the middle of a museum. You get to witness all the details and with that, my flaws. Not only that, but you get to touch me and feel me experience raw emotions, like searing pain and ecstasy. The cracks you will see are from the wear and tear from the many times I was dropped and shattered, and still, I went on to pick up the pieces and put myself back together into a haphazard form. I’m nowhere near perfection. The closer you get to me, you will see how human I really am. Easy to break; easy to crack. But after we’ve become intimate, you will enjoy the fruit of such truthfulness, and that’ll be refreshing like a drink of icy cold water on a dry and hot summer day.
So I say it’s worth the risk. Playing games and masquerades create distance and estrangement. At the end of the day, that’s really no fun at all. We all want to be known and loved for who we are (flaws and all), and not for what people imagine we should be, want us to be, or demand us to be. So as Lonely Girl, I pull back the curtains for you, which is to give you, my dear reader, an up close and personal look into my history (His Story).
Perhaps my story will resonate with you. If that is the case, my heart’s desire is that you will know that you are not alone in your battle against disappointed hopes and loneliness; and that a kernel of hope gets planted in you, the same way reading and learning about “The Story of the Samaritan Woman” planted unbeknownst to me a seed of hope that started me on an albeit long and windy path to learning the truth, finding freedom and receiving deep healing. For the men, it may well be your wife’s, sister’s, or daughter’s story. Though it may not resonate with you personally, my hope is that in becoming acquainted with my story, you come to a place of compassion and greater understanding. Then perhaps you will go on to love your women in real strength and in ways that give her honor and dignity.
For those in the helping professions, my story may provide as a case study for understanding the dependent personality disorder, relational masochism, and love addiction. You will understand how “self-destructive” patterns of relating (i.e., attachments) might develop; ways that that dependent personality type manifests; and the way of simply recounting history and spiritual precepts can shed “light,” and so, help disentangle a person caught up in and imprisoned by relationship addiction—namely, fear and love of men.