This single meeting between Christ and the Samaritan woman turns into a meeting with the living God for both the sinful woman and for the entire world, inasmuch as here, at the well of temporal water, the hitherto unknown source of Eternal Life was first secured. Here Christ for the first time reveals Himself to be the new, inexhaustible well of living water, flowing into Life Eternal.
How then did the Samaritans "know not" what they worshiped? Because they thought that God was local and partial; so at least they served Him, and so they sent to the Persians, and reported that "the God of this place is wroth with us" ( 2 Kings xxvi.), in this respect forming no higher opinion of Him than of their idols.
So, here we see Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, immediately breaking two of the laws that were binding on the Jews. This woman—whose name, by the way, was Photini—was taken aback and challenged Christ in a tone of voice that said, “Who do you think you are, you, a Jew, speaking to me?” And He responded: “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that says to you, Give me to drink; you would have asked of Him, and he would have given you living water.”
Beloved brethren! Today we have heard in the Gospel that the true servants of the true God worship Him in Spirit and in Truth, and that God seeks, that is, He desires to have such worshippers. If God desires to have such worshippers, then it is obvious that he will receive only such worshippers and servants, and they only are pleasing to Him. This teaching was imparted to us by the Son of God Himself.
Today's Gospel reading invites us to contemplate one of the most beautiful conversations the Lord Christ has ever had with the mortals (see Jn. 4:5–42). This conversation clearly reveals the gentleness and delicacy with which God treats us.
The Sunday of the Samaritan Woman again recalls how from ordinary water, the Lord raised the Samaritan Woman’s thoughts to the comprehension of the water of life, and from bodily to spiritual thirst, that is, to the thirst for hearing His word, to the thirst for the grace of the Holy Spirit, Who arouses spiritual thirst in people.
His salvation does not operate according to the conventional categories of this world, but transcends and subverts them. How odd: Great religious teachers miss the point, while disgraced women from despised communities become glorious saints.
The Samaritan Woman received the living water of Christ: She came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. She herself became a fountain of living water, according to the word of Christ, because she preached the Lord to her fellow citizens, and they came to Christ and believed in Him (Jn. 4:29-30, 39-42).
I would like to focus on some of the difficult things our Lord Jesus Christ says to the woman at the well. In our society we are being very well trained not to cause any waves with the things that we say. We are taught to be politically correct with all of our speech. We are taught that there are no absolute truths and objective realities only opinions and feelings are relevant.
For those of us who believe in God, who profess Christ’s divinity, who proclaim His life-giving Spirit, who confess one, holy, catholic and apostolic church, and await bodily resurrection, we must reform ourselves constantly. We must prepare ourselves to be uncomfortable, to be ridiculed, and even persecuted. It also means we will have to live worthy lives, that is, as models of virtue. We will need to stop compromising our own values.
And yet, in the moment, it can be incredibly hard to remember all of this. As much as I want to abandon myself to the divine providence, to trust in God and His great love and mercy for me, the suffering of the present moment seems to defeat me. I might not curse God but I often do wonder why His plan seems to require my pain.
There is no doubt that we each need a life changing encounter with the Lord, and there is no doubt that we are each capable of having this because the Lord in His grace is hungry for this relationship with each of us. He is present, but where is our heart? Do we recognize that we are sick and have been enemies of Christ through our own sinfulness and pride?
A significant figure in the Johannine community, the Samaritan Woman, like many other women, contributed to the spread of Christianity. She therefore occupies a place of honour among the apostles. In Greek sermons from the fourth to the fourteenth centuries she is called "apostle" and "evangelist."