Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Journey to the Well -- Diana Wallis Taylor

This is the first book I've read in a long time that I did not read because I needed something from it, other than entertainment.  I was not given a free copy by a publisher upon agreeing to review it.  I read it for pure pleasure.  I read it because I felt I had to read it. And I'm glad I was led to read this book.

Before I read this book, I found stories about the Woman at the well in many other books I was reading. In fact it seemed as if she just kept popping up all over my life. I figured maybe I needed to better understand her. Then this book popped up on the free e-book list. So I downloaded it. 

The writing was splendid. I was grabbed immediately and never let go. I had to finish this book, I felt compelled to keep reading long after I should have been in bed. The character development was incredible, none of the characters were flat, and Marah was strong and beautiful inside and out. She had dreams of meeting Jesus long before the encounter at the well and those dreams kept her hanging on, and kept her strong. 

Her five husbands were dealt with in depth and you saw clearly how she came to be where she was. From a historical perspective, it was also clear how she could have had five husbands and a live in lover and yet still not really been at fault. Many women in that time were not in control of their own fates. 

I'm not a biblical scholar, so I don't know how closely this may or may not follow the stories of her in the Bible. I have read as many accounts of the interaction she had with Jesus as I could find in the Gospels. I found nothing in this book that contradicts those accounts. Mostly though I found myself looking at my life and thinking about how it would have felt to be her sitting there knowing the man you are talking to knows all about you and loves you anyway. I thought about how it would feel to stand before Jesus and feel that unconditional, complete and total love. 

I highly recommend this book to anyone. It's a beautiful story of how God takes our brokenness and makes it something beautiful.