The sun turned variegated shades of orange as it set deep behind the clouds. She took a deep breath and wiped the last tear from her eye. I must be strong for my son, she thought. Just hours ago, she laid her sixth husband, Seth, to rest. Loss had become her constant companion. In fifteen years, she had endured the heartache of losing not one, but six husbands. Seth was special. She believed the Lord had sent him to fulfill her deep desire to be a wife, and mother. She no longer felt like an outcast, but blessed to love and be loved. Jesus knew the depth of grief, shame and reproach she once felt for not being able to keep a husband and bear children. He mended her broken heart and filled her emptiness with His extravagant love.
The memory of that encounter still burned in her mind much like the sun scorched her skin on that hot summer day. Sweat dripped from her forehead as she made the journey to Jacob’s well. She chose the middle of the day to avoid being around other women since she was still mourning the loss of her fifth husband.
As a woman, she believed her identity and success rested in getting married and having children to carry on the family lineage. Now, having gone through five husbands and still childless, she was beginning to feel like a failure. Under Levirate law, Seth was the next brother in line to marry her, and had welcomed her into his home. But her mind began to wander. Maybe I’m cursed. What if he doesn’t want to marry me? What glimmer of hope remained slowly began to fade. Am I pretty enough? I’m certainly not as young as I used to be, will I be able to bear children?
Gathering her jug and bucket, she set off for the well to perform her daily chore. Would Seth still be there when she returned? Or would she be a widow destined to a life of loneliness and poverty? Little did she know, she was about to have an encounter with Jesus that would change her life. She would return full of exuberant joy. Her face would radiate beautiful confidence and her heart would be forever changed.
Now she knew her identity came from her Messiah, not other men, her gender, her role or her race. That fateful day, Jesus boldly and lovingly reached out to her. He crossed racial, religious and gender lines to bring healing and wholeness to her heart. In excitement, she left her water jug and raced back to town to tell everybody about the Messiah who turned her mourning into dancing.
All the people including Seth heard her testimony and believed. He let go of his doubts and his heart was changed too. He knew this was the woman God would have him wed and honor as his lovely bride.
It happened just as Jesus had said it would; the following year they welcomed a precious baby boy into this world.
She heard a faint cry in the background that brought her back to her hard reality. Seth was gone now and their young son needed her. She calmly walked over to her son’s bedside, with a warm heart, she quietly leaned over him to gently kiss his cheek. “Good night my dear son, tomorrow is a new day. Jesus will once again turn our mourning to dancing.”