Winnie sees Jesse Tuck drink from the spring.
Winnie goes into the forest, where she sees Jesse drink from the spring when he does not think anyone is looking. She says she is thirsty and wants to drink too. At first, he tells her not to drink from it because it is dirty water and she wouldn’t like it, trying to dissuade her without making her too suspicious. It doesn’t work, because she says that he drank some, so why shouldn’t she? She also points out that she owns the wood, so she owns the spring.
"Believe me, Winnie Foster," said Jesse, "it would be terrible for you if you drank any of this water. Just terrible. I can't let you." (Ch. 5)
It soon becomes obvious that the thing the Tucks always feared has happened. Someone has discovered their spring. If unsuspecting people, like this little girl, drink from the spring, then they will become immortal just like the Tucks without knowing the consequences of their actions. The Tucks don’t like being immortal, really, and do not want anyone to know the location of the spring. They have to be on the run all the time so no one learns their secret. He told her without telling her when he told her his age. Of course she did not believe him.
"All right. I'm one hundred and four years old," he told her solemnly.
"No, I mean really," she persisted.
"Well then," he said, "if you must know, I'm seventeen." (Ch. 5)
Jesse has no choice but to tell his mother and Miles about Winnie and the spring, and they decide that they have to kidnap her and tell her the truth about the Tucks everlasting. This sets off a chain of events the consequences of which none of them could foresee. However, although Jesse is interested later in having Winnie wait a few years and then drink the water, he does not want her to drink it unsuspectingly. If she makes the choice, she makes it. Of course, Winnie has the opportunity to make the choice later, and chooses not to drink.