Home  »  Complete Poetical Works by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow  »  Part I. The Divine Tragedy. The Second Passover. VI. Jacob’s Well

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882). Complete Poetical Works. 1893.

Christus: A Mystery

Part I. The Divine Tragedy. The Second Passover. VI. Jacob’s Well

THE SUN is hot; and the dry east-wind blowing

Fills all the air with dust. The birds are silent;

Even the little fieldfares in the corn

No longer twitter; only the grasshoppers

Sing their incessant song of sun and summer.

I wonder who those strangers were I met

Going into the city? Galileans

They seemed to me in speaking, when they asked

The short way to the market-place. Perhaps

They are fishermen from the lake; or travellers,

Looking to find the inn. And here is some one

Sitting beside the well; another stranger;

A Galilean also by his looks.

What can so many Jews be doing here

Together in Samaria? Are they going

Up to Jerusalem to the Passover?

Our Passover is better here at Sychem,

For here is Ebal; here is Gerizim,

The mountain where our father Abraham

Went up to offer Isaac; here the tomb

Of Joseph,—for they brought his bones from Egypt

And buried them in this land, and it is holy.

Give me to drink.

How can it be that thou,

Being a Jew, askest to drink of me

Which am a woman of Samaria?

You Jews despise us; have no dealings with us;

Make us a byword; call us in derision

The silly folk of Sychar. Sir, how is it

Thou askest drink of me?

If thou hadst known

The gift of God, and who it is that sayeth

Give me to drink, thou wouldst have asked of Him;

He would have given thee the living water.

Sir, thou hast naught to draw with, and the well

Is deep! Whence hast thou living water?

Say, art thou greater than our father Jacob,

Which gave this well to us, and drank thereof

Himself, and all his children and his cattle?

Ah, whosoever drinketh of this water

Shall thirst again; but whosoever drinketh

The water I shall give him shall not thirst

Forevermore, for it shall be within him

A well of living water, springing up

Into life everlasting.

Every day

I must go to and fro, in heat and cold,

And I am weary. Give me of this water,

That I may thirst not, nor come here to draw.

Go call thy husband, woman, and come hither.

I have no husband, Sir.

Thou hast well said

I have no husband. Thou hast had five husbands;

And he whom now thou hast is not thy husband.

Surely thou art a Prophet, for thou readest

The hidden things of life! Our fathers worshipped

Upon this mountain Gerizim; and ye say

The only place in which men ought to worship

Is at Jerusalem.

Believe me, woman,

The hour is coming, when ye neither shall

Upon this mount, nor at Jerusalem,

Worship the Father; for the hour is coming,

And is now come, when the true worshippers

Shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth!

The Father seeketh such to worship Him.

God is a spirit; and they that worship Him

Must worship Him in spirit and in truth.

Master, I know that the Messiah cometh,

Which is called Christ; and He will tell us all things.

I that speak unto thee am He!

THE DISCIPLES, returning

The Master sitting by the well, and talking

With a Samaritan woman! With a woman

Of Sychar, the silly people, always boasting

Of their Mount Ebal, and Mount Gerizim,

Their Everlasting Mountain, which they think

Higher and holier than our Mount Moriah!

Why, once upon the Feast of the New Moon,

When our great Sanhedrim of Jerusalem

Had all its watch-fires kindled on the hills

To warn the distant villages, these people

Lighted up others to mislead the Jews,

And make a mockery of their festival!

See, she has left the Master; and is running

Back to the city!

Oh, come see a man

Who hath told me all things that I ever did!

Say, is not this the Christ?

Lo, Master, here

Is food, that we have brought thee from the city.

We pray thee eat it.

I have food to eat,

Ye know not of.

THE DISCIPLES, to each other.
Hath any man been here,

And brought Him aught to eat, while we were gone?

The food I speak of is to do the will

Of Him that sent me, and to finish his work.

Do ye not say, Lo! there are yet four months

And cometh harvest? I say unto you,

Lift up your eyes, and look upon the fields,

For they are white already unto harvest!