The idea of Jesus coming to strangers, made them whole again always intrigues me and that is why I choose John 4:4-26. I’ve been making a play for my church theatre based on Jesus encounters with the lost man/person. One of the examples was Safe (Me) one of my play that was produced for a 10 min Christmas advent drama/skit. The story of Safe (Me) begins with a girl who lost everything, including her home, family, her only mother, finances, etc and was mad to God, asking God of why He would let her suffering like this – until the day an Angelic character/ a Man character come out of nowhere to ask about where’s the street/ asking for directions.
This was very similar to how Jesus encounters with the Samaritan woman in the well – where he asked for water but he actually had a plan. In the text, “Assumes that Jesus and the disciples had such a bucket, but the disciples had taken it with them to the city. Jesus could easily have requested that they leave it behind for his use. But he had a plan.” – Bailey, K.2008, page 202.
In my story of Safe (Me), the Man character representing Jesus than brings a whole new life and hope to this girl. It took time for the girl to finally understand what the Man character meant – but her defense starts to melt down when the Man reveals her past and knows her life. In John 4:4-25 – it also tell how Jesus approach the woman, by asking a drinking water from the well to where Jesus reveals the woman past even though the woman was trying to push Jesus away by saying, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” – John 4:9 (NIV) then at the end she finally believes and said, “I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” – John 4:25 (NIV)
In both stories (Samaritan women and Safe (Me)) have a similar character arch and journey and to be honest, I didn’t know this until I read John 4:4-26 when I did my research. There’s always a gap in between of my knowledge, that I understand Jesus grace are able to cure/saved the sinful woman or a lost person saved but I didn’t always know which chapter they are written in the Bible.
Before Safe Me – there was a similar story called BACK – which my friend, Lingkan wrote in 2009 for A New Years Eve – the character journey was the same, where she just lost everything due to the Tsunami disasters – she was wearing all black, the set was during night time in the park – where there’s a crazy women and homeless guy lived in that park (I was playing as the crazy women) and there she was crying, hauling and was talking to her self like she’s about to go mad. Then there’s this strange man came out of no where with the introduction line, ”May I seat here, next to you?” this man then reveal the past of her, how she lost her family, and how she has to let go everything and believes in Christ. This Man is the representative of Christ. She then learn to let go after seeing a woman came in asking for help – it was really hard for her after this man left but her self defense was defeated when she finally realize that this man was right.
During my writing session of Safe (Me) – I was inspired by two things, the BACK story (the setting, the character, and the journey) and SAFE (a song by Westlife which I played in on repeat) – These two stories has a similar character arch/story arch to John 4:4-26 – Which I’m really happy to wrote it down the new ones and this time the story will be based on this John 4:4-26 and with “Thank You Jesus” by Hillsong Live song. I could’ve hand in my SAFE (ME) play to you as my creative drama play but I don’t think it’s good enough, thou I will still attached it in my submission as my point of reference.
In making this story it will be truly based on John 4:4-26, Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes, Encounters With Jesus (which explains to me about the setting and how they are in those days) and the new Hillsong Live song, “Thank You Jesus” (which I will also attached the lyrics and the MP3).
The setting of the play is in a park by the 6 hours, a man who is Jesus enters like a traveler, asking for food or a direction. I’m going to modernize the lines base on the New Living Translation, because I feel that the script it self from the Bible – there’s a dramatic values in it – especially when Jesus finally reveals himself, “I am he.” – John 4:26 (NIV) So you will find similarities from the bible chapter but this story is adapted to a possible drama skit for my church theatre in Indonesia.
In the commentary book that I read for the research, there was a specific explanation on how Jesus can’t casually just sat down in the well and interacts with the women – there were so many boundaries that Jesus violated by meeting with this women in the well. “In the world of the Gospels, boundaries that prohibited contact or behavior served to protect honor and social status. In some cases – as in rules that controlled how unmarried men and women could meet – they protected the purity of families and moral values, and they avoided the possibility of unfortunate accusations.” – Burge.G, 2010, page 101.
So you can imagine that His encounter with the Samaritan woman was awkward and uncomfortable. From the same book, chapter 5, page 104, Burge.G, 2010, also tell us to “Imagine on how the woman arrives at the famous Jacob well with a water jar, Jesus sits on its lid or the edge, and he ask for a water because He doesn’t have the jar/bucket.” Also according to Burge.G, 2010, page 104; the Samaritan women “had known wayward men”. So we can imagine how the situation like on the setting, I would specifically asked my actors to read this Encounter with Jesus book – chapter 5, page 104, to understand the characterization and the situation of the play.
It’s not just about “Oh, Jesus sat there, explaining to me how the living water is, and there I am, whole again.” It’s more than that. This encounter is so powerful that changes this women life and even made her a convert and a believer to Christ. I could really imagine if the women was me, where I had like five husband, ex- husband, and a man who was currently living with me – and yet I was actively involved in church but no one really understand or even know my situation carefully.
I would feel that I lived in a double life – until someone who’s like Jesus or someone that God sent to saved me spoken to me and said, “It doesn’t matter if you are serving here in church or in another church, I know you are thirsty. You are thirsty of life, the truth meaning of life. You’ve been running away for so long. But it’s time to come back. Do you know Christ? Do you know the living water? You can have it right at this moment when you say it to your self, “Jesus, forgive me. For I am sinned, and I believe you right now, give me a new life; I want to start all over again, as I believe that You are my Lord and Savior. Amen.” – then the song of “Thank You Jesus” came and I would probably down on my knees and cried.
So that’s why I want to highlight the moment where the women try to step back because she was in shock of “how do you know I don’t have a husband, etc” – John 4:17 (NIV) but she stays there because there’s a powerful forces in her heart that makes her stay and continues her conversation with this Man/Jesus.
The setting of the play is also similar to the Bible but with modern setting, like a modern nativity play but simple – then it closes with my church theatre worship team singing “Thank You Jesus” as the background where this women still in shock and tears come down from her eyes as the light slowly fades away from the stage and highlighting the singers singing the song. I keep the story simple but meaningful for the congregation to take home with them.
- Bailey, K. 2008, Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: The Woman at the Well, Downers Grove: InterVarsity, USA –
- Burge, G. 2010, Encounters with Jesus: Chapter 5, A Woman in Samaria, Zondervan, USA –
- Matthews, V. 1988, Manners and Customs in The Bible: Chapter 5, Intertestamental and New Testament Period, Hendrickson Publishers, USA –
- Holy Bible, New International Version, 2011, John 4:4-26, Hodder and Stoughton, UK
- Holy Bible, New Living Translation, 2007, John 4:4-26, Tyndale House Foundation, USA
- Alkitab, Bahasa Indonesia Translation, 1974, Yohanes 4:4-26, Lembaga Alkitab Indonesia, BOGOR
- “Thank You Jesus” written by Hillsong Live, 2013, (work is unpublished, I’m able to access this because they’ve been singing it in the service and I recorded it)
WRITTEN PUBLISHED SCRIPT (Point of Reference)
- Raharja, V. 2012, Safe (Me) for Christmas Advent Drama, Teater Mono GKI, Indonesia
- Bimoro, L. 2009, BACK for New Years Eve Skit, Teater Mono GKI, Indonesia