A Samaritan Woman Sitting at Jacob’s Well: A Poem

[EDITED: revised on 6/10]

A Samaritan Woman Sitting at Jacob’s Well

by Joel E. Jacobson

A puddle of water
looks like a muddy mess
until the breeze feathers
the surface
and, like a light touch
on a water glass,
leaves a  .

Speaking in metaphors,
bringing to light her secret
story of man after man after–

We too
often don’t know
the voice of God
until he has
passed us by, us
hiding in the dry
well of our own selves:

Eventually he says,
“I am he” but mostly
we see smudged prints
on the glasses
stacked in the sink
waiting to be washed.

There is water.
Look up from the dishes
and see the fields,
the thirsty hearts.


Our church is currently doing a sermon series titled Storytellers, which explores both the stories Jesus told and the stories that he lived. I’ve decided to write a response poem to each sermon, so below is a draft in response to the first sermon (direct link to mp3) which explores the story of the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-42). I will compile these poems into a chapbook at the end of the summer. Of course, this is a draft so I welcome any comments and feedback. As always, thanks for your time!


2 thoughts on “A Samaritan Woman Sitting at Jacob’s Well: A Poem

  1. Hi Joel, I like this poem a lot, and am curious what the last word of the first verse might be – what is left by the breeze? I found this while looking for something to share regarding the Samaritan Woman at the Well for a study I am involved in.

  2. Hi Susan, thanks for reading my poem! The idea behind the first stanza is that breeze leaves a mark on a mud puddle much like a fingerprint marks a glass. I couldn’t find a word that worked well, so I used a period instead of a word to suggest a small mark or a smudge. I suppose it’s problematic when reading the poem out loud. If I were reading it out loud, I would read it as if the second stanza were interrupting the first, not filling in that word. In essence my hope is that it creates a feeling of unfinished work that leads to the ending. I hope that helps!

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