Poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Christus: A Mystery



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 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!