I am the woman at the well. My name is Je’Tajia. I was born October 25, 1981 in a housing project on the west side of Charlotte, North Carolina, called Boulevard Homes. I was the oldest of 9 children and lived with my mom in a 2 bedroom flat. The boys slept in one bedroom, we girls slept in the other, while my mom slept on the couch. Every day after school I would babysit my siblings until my mom returned home, which was usually after we had gone to bed. My mom was a prostitute and drug addict. She spent her nights at an apartment across the court. Her money was spent getting high. We survived on food stamps and handouts from churches and agencies that frequently came to the projects. My dad was sent to prison when I was 1 1/2 years old and I didn’t see him again until I was 11. We didn’t get along very well he was always demanding me to do better in school, but would never better himself enough to help me with my basic needs of clothes and school supplies.
I am the woman at the well. I was seduced by an older man when I was 15. I can’t call it rape because I let him do it. He was the first person who really paid any attention to me. He would get me high and we would spend time together while my brothers and sisters played in the living room. I became pregnant and had my first child at 16. I had to quit school to watch after Joshua. I continued to stay with my mom until I met a young man in the neighborhood. He was very charming and convinced me to move in with him and his mom. It was just the 3 of us and there were some good times until I became pregnant again. As I grew with his baby inside of me He lost interest and moved out of his mom’s house to get away from me. I had a 6 pound 2 ounce baby girl. I named her Jasmine. His mom was evicted when Jasmine was 8 months old. I had no place to go except the women’s shelter.
I am the woman at the well. Shelter life was hard. The other women were competitive and mean. Their children were constantly picking on Josh who was now 3. The only good memory I have of the place was Albert. He was a tall, lean man who did the custodial work at the shelter. He paid attention to me, and was always giving me nice complements. I was hungry for someone to love me and I would mistake sexual attention for love. I realize now the two are very different. I had his daughter on March 30,2001. She was a very pretty baby so I named her Camellia, which in Africa means “beautiful.” He made so many promises which he never kept. Two months after Camellia was born I got into an altercation with three other women at the shelter. They beat me so severely I had to be hospitalized for a month. My children ended up in foster care. By the time I had completed my physical therapy all three had been placed in homes. They were placed with good families, and I could never provide for them as they could.
I am the woman at the well. I am a 21 year old drug addicted, homeless, black female with no place to go. I have nothing but the clothes on my back and 20 staples in my head. I have lived with several men and have yet to be married. I am a product of my environment, and I have never felt more lost in my entire life. I am a number at a physical recovery clinic with no place to go. My social case worker came to me with a recommendation, or what I call my only option. It was either the street or a drug rehabilitation program. I chose the street.
I am the woman at the well. For the next ten years I moved from crack house to crack house doing drugs of whatever kind I could get. I had sex with men, with women, it didn’t matter. I lived by the motto of the day, “ If it feels good just do it.” After abusing my mind and body for so long I contracted pneumonia and had to be hospitalized. After a couple of days of hospital care my mind became clear and I realized I had become my mother in every way. I was living the same life of daily suicide. Every day I would take drugs and sex to another level until eventually I would end up just like her, dead! In the hospital room in the second drawer beside my bed I found a pamphlet. It was a story about a woman who lived her life much as I did mine.
There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” She said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.” He said to her, “Go, call your husband and come here.” The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”
At this point His disciples came, and they were amazed that He had been speaking with a woman, yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why do You speak with her?” So the woman left her water pot, and went into the city and said to the men, “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?” They went out of the city, and were coming to Him. NASB Bible gateway
This was an amazing story to me. I had walked by churches before, but they were filled with very uppity people, wearing fancy clothes, and driving cars. I saw no one there who was like me. I had nothing at all to give, but this story tells me that God is interested in all of us, regardless of what we have or don’t have. The Bible says, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” I discovered by reading the Bible that had been left in my room by the Gideon’s, that I could grow in faith. He took the broken little girl that was inside of me and transformed me into a women with power. Power to change my future. Power to overcome the helplessness I had always felt. The power to overcome drug addiction and poverty. The power of prayer.
I spent 11 days in the hospital recovering from pneumonia and going through detoxification. I checked myself into a 30 day inpatient rehabilitation program. I listened intently to the daily instruction. The hardest part for me was not overcoming the drug use, God took care of that. But Tuesday nights everyone had their family come and see them. That is when I sat in the corner by myself for 2 hours being polite, speaking when spoken to and trying to appear normal. I read a verse in the book of Romans that says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” One Tuesday I asked Jesus Christ to come into my life.
Since that moment I have never looked back. I completed high school and went on to college where I obtained a degree in counseling. I was smart and didn’t even realize it. I received my masters degree in child psychology when I was 40. I work as a social worker and youth counselor. Over the past 20 years I have helped thousands of kids get on the right track. Through my relationship with Jesus Christ I have changed my life and many more around me.
God has blessed me with a home and a husband. This time a real relationship with a man who fears God. On my 57th birthday Joshua, my oldest son, found me. He had grown into a talented young man who had a wife and daughter of his own. I had been a grandmother for 12 years and didn’t even know it. Three days later both of my beautiful daughters came to see me. Jasmine and Camellia were healthy and hard working young women.
It is my turn to have a family you see at church on Sunday. It is my turn to know how wonderful the holidays are when we are all together. “And God is able to make all grace abound in you, so that in all things at all times, having all you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written; He has scattered abroad His gifts to the poor; His righteousness endures forever… Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.” His unmerited mercy, through faith in the sacrificial death and resurrection of His loving Son Jesus Christ.”
If you have been waiting for a reason to change your life, wait no longer. The longer you wait, the more pain you will suffer without the loving hand of your King and Savior. He is there beside you waiting for you to turn away from the world and turn towards Him. He doesn’t care what you have done or where you have been. All He cares about is you. Talk to Him and He will remove the weight that is bearing down on your shoulders.
“Call upon His name and you shall be saved.”