Welcome to Wednesday Writers! Today’s guest author is Allison Wells who will be sharing about her book Living Water, a modern retelling of the Bible story of the woman at the well. Welcome, Allison!
Living Water is the story of a wallflower in a family of prize-winning roses. Based on the story of the Woman at the Well in John 4, Roxie DePrive only wants one thing – to be loved unconditionally. That desire leads her to get married fresh from high school to the first boy who pays her attention. But when that marriage is short lived, she marries again, and again. She gets married five times in all, just like our Samaritan woman in the New Testament.
I’ve always wondered what led that woman to be married so many times. Was she five times widowed? Did her husbands leave her? What happened in her life? We know that because she went to get water at mid-day, she was not a popular woman in town. Most of the village women would have gone to the well early when it was still cool. They would have traded gossip and laughs as their children ran around playing. This is a big social time for the women of the village.
But not our dear girl, she was excluded from that. She did not walk with the other women, she did not trade recipes and stories. She was likely the story on everyone else’s lips. A woman fallen from grace for some reason or another.
So I wrote her story in a modern era. Starting with her high school years in the 1990s (anyone who came of age in the 90s will love the references) and carrying Roxie through to the 2020s, we see her transformation from senator’s daughter and a first time bride to social pariah who is rumored to be a man stealer. Roxie is pushed away from polite society after her five marriages.
Just like the woman in the Bible, Roxie is at an all time low when she meets Jesus in the form of a kind pastor who offers her living water. Neither woman understands what that is until it’s explained. And then, oh, then how their lives change. In John 4 we see the woman put down her water jar and run back to town to tell everyone about the Messiah.
Y’all. The social pariah of the town literally ran to those who scorned her to tell them about Jesus. That’s powerful stuff there. She was the first evangelist. That’s the power of Jesus coming into your life.
Roxie’s life is strife with sin and condemnation. But because someone believed in her and encouraged her, she turned her life around. I do love a good story of redemption and this is a big one. No matter how many times you stumble, God will always be there to pick you up. He guarantees it in Psalm 37:24.
I hope and pray that this story of redemption will resonate with all readers. No matter your past, you have a future with God in the Kingdom of Heaven.
By Allison Wells
As the lackluster youngest daughter of a U.S. Senator, Roxie DePrive spends her life thirsting for one thing: to be loved unconditionally.
So, when her first boyfriend turns into her first marriage, Roxie’s life undergoes a drastic change. And when that first marriage doesn’t work out, she marries again.
Until Roxie marries five times.
The first marriage is puppy love, then dangerous love, convenient love, wishful love, and one that might possibly be the real deal.
And yet, none of the men she marries can quench the thirst she feels in her heart. It’s only when she meets a man who knows her entire life and all her mistakes that Roxie learns the power of something else-the deep and abiding peace of Living Water.
A modern retelling of the Woman at the Well in the New Testament, Living Water shows us that no matter our past, it’s God’s love that truly quenches the thirst of our souls.
Remi came into the restaurant mad as a hornet. He was muttering and sputtering what I could only figure were expletives in French.
“What’s the matter?” I asked as I chopped peppers across from him. There had been no hint of anger when I had left our apartment an hour before. I wondered what would cause such a change in demeanor so quickly.
“Stupid government,” he said before ranting again in French. “My visa has expired. I have to go back to France.”
I stopped my knife mid-chop. “Go back? Why? Can’t you stay here?” I knew Remi had his own life, but I was asking for purely selfish reasons. Remi had been such a wonderful friend to me. I didn’t want to lose him.
“I have tried to extend it, but it’s been denied. I will be deported within the week,” he said, throwing his hands up in the air. “I don’t want to go. I don’t want to leave this restaurant and you, cherie. And I cannot leave Becca.”
I began chopping again, hoping the repetition would help me think. An idea came to me immediately. “I know! Why don’t you and Becca get married?”
Remi’s face softened and he looked at me. “Ah, Roxie, I wish it could be. But est impossible.”
I came around the table we were working on and took his hands. “But why? It would allow you to stay here. And I admit, Remi, I need you. You’ve been such a great friend to me.”
“Roxanne,” Remi sighed. “We have not told you and Erin the whole truth. Becca and I are in love, yes. But the reason she moved in so fast is that she is trying to get a divorce from her husband. So we cannot get married because she already is married. He is what you say about Josh – a bum.” Remi looked down at his shoes, embarrassed.
“I had no idea,” I whispered. “My divorce was over pretty quickly. But we had an annulment. Can’t she do that?”
He shook his head. “No, apparently not. I see no way through this. But it kills me to think of leaving Becca. I was going to propose to her and everything. You know, after the divorce was final.” He pulled a little ring box from his pocket and showed me a modest, but dazzling, little engagement ring. I shook my head at the shame of it all.
Surely there was an answer somehow. Later that day as we were preparing for dinner, several men in black came to the restaurant asking for Remi. Chef Tallant burst through the kitchen doors from the front room in a tizzy. “Remi, you need to go. Immigration is here!” Chef Tallant was a hard boss, but he treated his employees like family and he had grown increasingly fond of Remi. He pushed Remi’s arm in an effort to slide him out the back door.
“What do you mean immigration is here?” he asked, his voice high. “I thought I had more time!” Remi looked from Chef to me, his eyes pleading.
Thinking quickly, I stood next to Remi and dug into his pocket. I opened the ring box and put it into his hand and shoved Remi down on his knee. The door burst open and three men in suits stood in the doorway just in time to see my fake excitement at a wedding proposal that had not actually happened.
The men looked at the scene before them. Chef Tallant stood mouth agape. Remi on the floor before me with a ring extended. The rest of the kitchen looked shocked. Hopefully this plan would work.
“What’s going on here?” asked the one in front. His eyes narrowed and his mustache twitched.
“Shh,” Chef said, waving a hand at the man. “Do not interrupt this beautiful moment.” He had caught on immediately.
Remi looked distressed, so I quickly piped up, “Yes, I will marry you!” I grabbed the ring and put it on my finger. I was relieved it fit. I bent down and hugged Remi, helping him back to his feet. Quietly I whispered, “Play along.”
Once he understood what I was doing, he jumped into the role. “Oh, cherie, I am the happiest man today!” And he kissed me. It was probably the most dramatic kiss I had ever received in my life; I had to stifle a laugh.
Once the moment was over, everyone in the kitchen applauded. Everyone, that is, except for the three uniformed men who had intruded. “What the devil is going on?” the first one asked again.
“Don’t you see? They are in love!” Chef exclaimed, shaking his round body before him. “I will make you the best wedding cake! I will make all the food for your wedding!” He came over to us and kissed us both on the cheek.
“Remi Bonhomme? You will have to come with us,” the man with the mustache said. He took two huge steps toward us.
I cozied up to Remi and batted my eyelashes at the men. “You can’t take him, we just got engaged!”
About the Author:
Allison Wells is an author, avid reader, and sweet tea addict. She graduated from Clemson University and began writing books as a way to escape the doldrums of newspaper reporting. Allison is married to a wonderful man and they are raising one red-headed teen daughter and three wild boys in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Check out her daily adventures on social media. Her motto is, “Life is Short, Eat the Oreos.”
Wednesday Writers, Allison Wells, Living Water, Christian fiction, redemption,