Close beside the crystal waters of Jacob's far-famed well,
Whose dewy coolness gratefully upon the parched air fell,
Reflecting back the bright hot heavens within its waveless breast,
Jesus, foot-sore and weary, had sat Him down to rest.
Alone was He - His followers had gone to Sichar near,
Whose roofs and spires rose sharply against the heavens clear,
For food which Nature craveth, whate'er each hope or care,
And which, though Lord of Nature, He disdained not to share.
While thus He calmly waited, came a woman to the well,
With water vase poised gracefully, and step that lightly fell,
One of Samaria's daughters, most fair, alas! but frail,
Her dark locks bound with flowers instead of modest, shelt'ring veil.
No thought of scornful anger within His bosom burned,
Nor, with abhorrent gesture, His face from her He turned;
But as His gaze of purity dwelt on her, searching, meek,
Her bright eyes fell, and blushes hot burned on her brow and cheek.
He told her with a gentleness, by God-like pity nursed,
Of wond'rous living fountains at which to slake her thirst;
That those whose lips, thrice blessed, should a draught from them obtain,
Despite earth's toils and troubles, would ne'er know thirst again.
He spoke, too, of the frailties which her womanhood had marred,
That priceless crown which, she, alas! had sadly failed to guard,
No word of bold denial did that woman dare to plan -
She felt that He who spoke with her was more than mortal man.
And when the twelve disciples returned, their errand done,
They wondered at His converse with that lost and erring one,
But still they asked no question, while she, with thoughtful mien,
Returned to tell her friends at home of all that she had seen.
Not only for that daughter of Samaria's hot clime -
Child of an ancient people, of a by-gone faith and time -
Was meant the exhortation that from His lips then fell,
But for His Christian children, for us, to-day, as well.
For us, still pure and sparkling, those living waters flow
Of which He told Samaria's child long centuries ago:
Forgetting thoughts of earthly pride, and hopes of worldly gain,
Seek we but once of them to drink - we'll never thirst again.