The reading today of Jesus meeting a Samaritan woman at the well is unique in several regards. First, the scene describes Jesus, a man, meeting a woman at a well. During this period of history, if you wanted to meet a woman, you went to the well. Drawing water was considered women’s work. A well is the place to find a wife. In the story, the woman does not cooperate and balks at giving Jesus a drink. Jesus flips the script and then offers to give her a drink.
He takes on the feminine role in this culture. He does not directly offer the drink though. He says that if she knew who he was, she would ask him for a drink. He wants her to take on the masculine role of asking for a drink. He would give her, not ordinary water, but a drink of living water. She balks again replying he does not even have a bucket. He tells her that if she drinks of living water, she will never be thirsty again. She is now intrigued. She asks Jesus to give her a drink.
This story is also unique because it talks of a Jew engaging a Samaritan. Back in this period, Jews and Samaritans did not interact. There was segregation. They did not drink from the same well. Jesus is asking her to break the rules. Jesus was about breaking down walls of division. Lastly, it talks of a worshiper of the God on Mount Zion engaging with a worshiper of the God on Mount Gerizim. Religion was the biggest barrier between them. Jesus replies that no one truly knows where God is. You can’t put God in a box. In the future, you will need to worship in spirit and in truth since God is spirit and truth. In the future, none of the traditional places of worship or religions will means anything according to Jesus.
People today are seeking a spiritual path, not through dogma, creed, or doctrine, but through truth. People are saying they are spiritual but not religious. People are breaking down barriers of religion, gender, and ethnicity because they get in the way of God. Religion is a vehicle but God is the destination. There are many ways to get to God.