Lucy Brady wrote a Readers Theater play about the Samaritan woman after she met Jesus (John 4). She writes, “It has been done in a small urban congregation by youth, in a large church in the suburbs, and in storytelling workshops I have led. We did not use costumes. The choir sang. “Come Drink Deep” by Carolyn McDade as indicated. I am sure it is in the UU Hymnal, but I bought the music online. There are other songs that would work well -or none a all.”
This lovely play is in two pieces. Many churches that use the Revised Common Lectionary may have read this text last week. As a Lenten program at a supper or bible study or Sunday follow up, some might want to use the second half of the play as a “what comes next.” So many times we have a scripture that then let it go for three years rather than considering how it might have an ongoing impact on our lives.
COME DRINK DEEP A Readers Theater after the Samaritan woman meets Jesus
In response to John 4:1-42 By Lucy Brady
CAST: Peter, Jesus, John, Elizabeth, Rachael, Sarah, Samaritan Woman, Hannah, Leah. Rain stick turner
Jesus, Peter, and John are seated by a well
ACT 1 Rain stick (as men take their places)
Peter: Jesus, I have a question.
Jesus: Only one, Peter?
Peter: One for now. I saw you talking to a woman at Jacob’s well.
Who was she?
Jesus: She was a thirsty woman.
Peter: I get that. Obviously she was thirsty or she wouldn’t have been at the well.
John: I don’t get why she was at the well at noon- the hottest part of the day!
Peter: What does it matter? It was lucky for us she was there or we wouldn’t have had anything to drink.
John: But Jesus, she was a SAMARITAN woman.
Jesus: Yes, she was a Samaritan. We are in Samaria, John.
John: But we’ve been taught that we are not supposed to go near THOSE people.
Peter: Let alone talk to them. They worship the wrong way.
John: They don’t believe the things we believe.
Peter: They don’t do things the way we do.
Jesus: I thought I had gotten through to you about God’s love. Remember how upset you used to get when I talked to any woman?
Peter: I almost left you when you called women to become disciples like us.
John: I still don‘t like it, but I do understand- we are all created by God.
Jesus: Samaritans are God’s children too. The woman at the well
was thirsting for God’s love just like you.
Peter: We couldn’t help overhearing some of your conversation. You told her she had been married five times and the man she was with now wasn’t her husband.
John: Jesus, hanging out with those people is not good for your reputation.
Pete: I know you came for all of us, Jesus. But can someone like that ever really change? And if she can change, will the people in her town accept her?
Jesus: She began to see that she needed something in her life that would last. She chose the new life that I have to offer. I believe she will change and that her whole community will be glad for her and welcome her.
Peter: WeII, let’s hope they believe her. We saw her running toward her village calling to people, “I have met a man and he told me everything I have ever done.”
John: Look, people are coming this way. I guess we are staying here for a while.
Jesus: Yes, we may need to stay one or two more days.
SONG Come Drink Deep by Carolyn McDade vs. 1, 2 From Rain Upon Dry Land
Three days later Rain stick (as women come forward)
A group of women are coming to the well. They are talking about the weather, meals, their children…. They are happy and laughing. Suddenly they see a woman coming toward them.
They say things like: “Look!” “What is SHE doing here?” “ Who does she think she is!?” “Pretend you don’t see her.” “She has some nerve!”
Elizabeth: Let’s get to well (They all begin to help to remove the top of the well.)
Samaritan Woman: Here, let me help. I often do this alone. (They all stop and stare at her)
Rachael. (she steps toward her looking at the other women) It would be easier if we do did it together.
Elizabeth: We always manage! (She moves to take the cover off)
Sarah: She is only saying what we are all thinking. (Turning to face the Samaritan Woman) You have never dared to come to the well when we were here.
Hannah: We thought you knew your place.
Elizabeth: We should not even be talking to you!
Leah: Elizabeth. Sarah. Work is hard enough. Save your energy for drawing and carrying the water. Let her be!
Samaritan Woman: (to Leah) You met the stranger too didn’t you?
Elizabeth: What stranger?
Hannah: What does she mean, Leah?
Leah: Yes, I met him.
Rachael: So did L
Samaritan Woman: Then you understand why I came in the morning today, instead of…
Rachael:….coming all alone…
Leah. in the heat of the day.
Elizabeth: (to Leah and Rachael) Why are you talking to her. You know the way she has lived – all those men.
Hannah: She should be ashamed!
Samaritan Woman: I was ashamed. I have lived in shame all these years.
Sarah: YOU made the choice. Now you want us to feel sorry for you?
Samaritan Woman: You talk about choice! What kind of choice did I really have? When my first husband died- I was grateful to become his brother’s wife. I even grew to love him. Then he was killed and there was an uncle to care for me. By then I stopped loving. I was numb with grief and when he died….
Elizabeth: …you lived with whatever came along.
Samaritan Woman: (quietly) Yes, I guess I did. (pauses, turns toward them angrily) Have any of you had to face being a woman alone? No husband, No relative, no sons NO ONE to care for you. (She turns and begins to walk away)
Rachael.- (moving toward her) No, we have never faced being totally alone. We have sons and brothers. You did not even have friends.
Leah: We made sure of that. But, after all these years, why today?
Samaritan Woman: I had given up having friends. I had no hope for a happy life. I felt dried up and lifeless. Three days ago, I came at noon to draw my daily supply of water from Jacob’s well. There was a man sitting there.
Sarah: (to the others) She met another man.
Rachael and Leah: Shh Shh Shh!
Leah: Go on.
Samaritan Woman: He was not a Samaritan, so I was cautious. I drew my water and tried to ignore him. Then, he asked me for a drink,
Hannah: He SPOKE to you
Sarah: He was a bold one!
Hannah: I would have been afraid.
Samaritan Woman I was afraid. I was outside the village alone, so I tried to sound tough. ‘Why are you Jew, speaking to me a Samaritan?”
Rachael: What did he say to that?
Samaritan Woman: Listen to this. He said, “If you knew who I was and you understood God’s gift, you would ask me for a drink and I would give you living water.”
Elizabeth: God’s gift! I thought I had heard every line before.
Hannah: (sarcastically) Living water!
Elizabeth: And you bought it!?
Samaritan Woman: (takes a deep breath) It was not like that. He was not trying to seduce me. I have never met a man like him before. He was kind. It did not matter to him that I was woman or a Samaritan. He seemed to care about me despite my past. He knew everything I had ever done and he told me I could change. He reminded me of God love for me. He said I could have the life I have always wanted. When he spoke I really believed him.
Elizabeth: You mean you met some smooth talking man with charisma and he changed your life.
Samaritan Woman: No. I mean I met the promised Messiah and yes, my life has changed. I came today because I need to be part of the community again. I am tired…. and SO alone…
(She tums again and begins to walk away)
Leah: You’re not alone any more.
Rachael: You are one of us.
Sarah: (tentatively) We used to be friends.
Elizabeth: We played together as children.
Leah: Sister, I am glad you came to the well today.
Sarah: Let’s draw deeply from the well, TOGETHER!
SONG Come Drink Deep by Carolyn McDade vs.5, 6
From Rain Upon Dry Land
5. Come rains of heaven on the dry seed
Rains of love on every tortured land
Roots complacent awaken in compassion
So hope springs in our hands
6. Come drink deep of living waters Without cup bend close to the ground Wade with bare feet into troubled waters Where love of life abounds. Come drink deep.