AUTHOR HEATHER JOHNSON
There is nothing quite like being an outsider.
The whispers that you can hear.
Each week I get my water from a well.
It's not a traditional well but a water station where a water truck comes several times a day to fill up the tank which is connected to a hose in which water is pumped into the containers, brought from people around the community.
It's next door so I shouldn't complain.
My heart soars on the days no one else is there.
No one else to see me ask the water station lady for the one-hundredth time, "Sorry how much is it again?" as she rolls her eyes at me.
But the days that is is crowded
I want to hide.
Sometimes I stare back.
I grin and boldly respond to their questions.
Other times (usually) I keep my head down wondering if perhaps they won't notice I am a foreigner,
I'm making it sound much worse than it is.
It's not so bad.
Often I have people come and help me out of the kindness of their hearts for the helpless white girl.
But each time I'm reminded of another woman at a different well thousands of years ago.
Before Mongolia I had understood the story of the woman at the well,
but now I can actually feel her embarrassment.
I know what it feels like to have your face turn bright red because you can hear what they are saying about you.
I understand why she would go in the heat of the day, to avoid her neighbors.
I remember how Jesus told her, "If you drink from my water, you will never be thirsty again."
And like the woman, I too would be thinking, " Yes! Now I will never have to haul these heavy containers again!"
Of course that is not the point that Jesus was making.
There is the dry heat of Israel
and the dry cold of Mongolia, but there is also the dryness of our hearts
when disappointment after disappointment comes and nothing seems to satisfy those
We have a common need.
True literal water and sustenance to keep us going.
Something (Some One) to keep us from dying of thirst,
to keep our souls from becoming parched.
Usually I hate being the one who’s different than everyone else.
But last week when my container got off balance and wasted water gushed all over the ground
I was happy.
Because, unlike the Mongolians would have been, I didn’t get scolded.
For me it was just more eye rolling and “poor foreigner, she has no idea what she’s doing.”
And they were right!