In the Gospel reading Jesus and the Samaritan seem to be talking about drinking water but it is more than that. The conversation we overhear is not just about her but very much about you and me.
We never learn the woman’s name, maybe because she stands for all of us in some way. She had several strikes against her. First, she was a Samaritan and there was a deep-seated resentment between the Jewish people and the Samaritans that was already centuries old in Jesus’ time. Secondly, she was a woman and women were to be silent in the presence of a Rabbi. Finally, she was known as a sinner. Because of her many marriages she was probably shunned by the neighbourhood which may explain her solitary trip to the well alone at noontime, the hottest time of the day when no one was around. She was a person on the margins of the society in which she lived. Jesus reaches out to her as he does to us. Jesus knows our past as he knows her’s. What interests Him now is our future.
The well was the place where people gathered. In a sense, the church is our well. Here we gather with other Christians and here too we can meet the Lord. Through the Liturgy, the Lord speaks the truth of who we are, what we have done with our lives and what we can become if we follow him.
Finally, there is the water. We all need water. Water is necessary for human survival. But, Jesus knew she needed something more that drinking water in her life. He gradually leads her from her need of drinking water to show her the need that she has for a living, flowing, spiritual refreshment which we know as grace or the Holy Spirit. By pursuing the needs of the body, we can forget the very real needs of our soul. Like the Samaritan woman we too must face the truth about ourselves in an encounter with Jesus Christ, confess our sins and come to know Jesus as Saviour in our lives.