This is only likely to make sense if you are familiar with the Bible story in which Jesus meets the Samaritan woman at the well. While it is not a true analogy, I have long thought there were parallels, intentioned or not. I hope I've done a decent job with Aslan - this is kind of from his point of view, which is very daunting!

Narnia and all its characters, settings, and events are the creation of C. . The Bible story referenced here can be found in the gospel of John, chapter four, vs. 1-30.


Living Water

"If you are thirsty, come and drink."

The "if" is superfluous. He feels her thirst, would feel it even if it were not clearly written in the flush of her tearstained face, in the slight parting of her cracked lips. Even his keen sense of smell, detecting the dryness of her breath from many steps away, tells him nothing he did not already know.

She stands frozen, staring at him, her small forlorn shape reflecting brokenly on the rippling surface of the stream that runs between them. Her fear is palpable, her gray eyes dilated and wide, skin prickling with goose bumps. Unconsciously she shifts her weight nervously from one foot to the other, and glances once more at the running water.

"If you are thirsty," he repeats, "come and drink."

"If you knew who it was who asked, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water."

Her dark eyes study him in sullen disbelief, astonishment at his audacity warring with bitter wariness. The darkness of her pain clings to her like a fog; he waits, silently, his patience an eternal now, to pierce it with one shaft of light.

Her work-hardened hands twitch nervously at the rim of her dusty clay jar, and she glances into the well.

Her parched lips part in a sudden sharp breath as she realizes that it was indeed he who had spoken, and he waits for her fragile mind to accept something so out of its accustomed element. She is still a child, with a child's gift for accepting the marvelous, yet still it is easier, here on his mountaintop, than it would be in the gray limited shadow-world from whence she came. Its stubborn materialism, its narrow rationality, its plain everydayness were all walls erected to keep him and his terrifying, glorious Reality at bay.

He feels her heart beat as she opens her mouth to speak, experiences the shock to her intellect. I'm speaking to a lion. It is an impossible concept, but the words are already formed, driven by a thirst more powerful than she understands. "Will you…move away while I do?"

"Your people do not associate with mine. Why do you ask this of me?"

He knew she would ask it, would push him away. Always they want the gifts without the giver, their fear making them satisfied with far too little, but such deprivation is not in his nature.

His low growl makes her rock backwards a little, and she chews her upper lip anxiously, searching for a safer alternative. "Will you promise not to…do anything to me, if I come?"

"I make no promise," he answers patiently, looking outside of the present at a day when they will run to him for what he will do.

She takes an involuntary step forward, her eyes again flickering to the water in desperation. She licks her dry lips, the action comfortless. "Do you eat girls?"

"I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms." And galaxies and universes, he thinks, for that matter, in one unending circle, all part of the all-consuming fire of life and love at the center of his being. It is not what she had meant, but the answer is knowledge enough for the choice she must make. A reassuring "no" would have allowed her too safe a box in which to try to contain him.

A gentle breeze stirs his whiskers as her eyes widen in terror, hands clenching the coarse material of her school-issue shorts. "Then I daren't come drink."

"Then you will die of thirst," he says matter-of-factly, his words falling upon the air with the ringing certainty of absolute truth. The stream between them twinkles and flashes in the sun, tiny stars dancing on its surface, singing of coolness and refreshment and life.

"Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst."

"Oh, dear," she blurts, despair in her voice. "I suppose I shall have to go look for another stream, then."

He catches her anguished eyes in his golden gaze and holds her captive.

"There is no other stream."

"The water I give will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

Her eyes have softened at his gentleness, her doubts fading under the authority with which he speaks. Now he feels her breath quicken, the hope and expectancy rising in her at the vision in his words. Her face glows; she unconsciously reaches out a hand toward him.

"Sir, give me of this water…"

There is no other stream.

She hesitates a moment longer, gray eyes gazing into golden, her heart fluttering like a panicked bird. Her fear and rebellion rise up in dizzying self-protective waves, and burn themselves out. He sits motionless as she takes the first surrendering step, then another, until she kneels almost at his feet, plunging her flushed face into the water.

He knows her instinct – to rise and flee the moment she is finished. But the water is cold, sharp, wild and pure. It tingles to the very fingertips, quenching body and spirit, and she lingers there, her panic subsiding. When she rises, he calls to her and she comes, quiet and submissive, waiting for whatever will happen next.

He studies her intently, his eyes piercing to the spirit within, admiring that which he knows she will be, and his stern gaze softens.

"Human child, where is the boy?"

"Go, call your husband and come back."

Gentle tone, but, under the circumstances, hard words. She swallows hard, and her eyes lower evasively.

"He fell over the cliff, Sir."

"How did he come to do that, Human Child?"

Her eyes flicker back to him, guilt written upon her face. "He was trying to stop me from falling, Sir."

"And why were you so near the edge, Human Child?"

He does not need the answer; she does. He senses her sudden flash of self-realization, mingled with disgust. "I was showing off, Sir."

"I have no husband."

"That is a very good answer, Human Child."

"You have spoken truly."

Her eyes widen in surprise, and he knows she expected anger, accusation, punishment. The tension leaves her; her shoulders relax and her gaze becomes wondering. Now, having confessed and repented, she is ready for the journey. She would not have been able to rest upon his breath unless the great weight of her misdeed was lifted.

She listens in confusion as he details her quest. He knows her doubts, but there is only one answer that she needs.

"You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you."

"Then you are the Someone, Sir?"

"I know that Messiah is coming."

"I who speak to you am he."

He looks across time, across space, sees another pair of eyes, dark in a brown face, weighted with too much worldly experience, yet infused with the same sudden hope in the innocent gray eyes before him, and smiles.

"I Am."