3rd Sunday of Lent, 2014
Why did Jesus speak to the Samaritan woman even though he was a devout Jew? Historically, the Jews and the Samaritans did not get along. The Samaritans closed themselves off from all religious influence from Jerusalem. They only acknowledged the Pentateuch and built their own temple on Mount Gerizim as their sanctuary. Jesus loved the temple in Jerusalem, made pilgrimages to it, kept Shabbat, went to the synagogue, read and valued the teachings of the Prophets, and studied Torah. But he was tired and thirsty, and when she came to the well to draw water, he surprised her by asking for a drink.
God is not only close to this world, but present in it, infinitely present to human beings. Jesus taught the Samaritan woman and explained to her that God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. Only the Spirit of God can be "closer than my inmost being, both in my existence and in my spiritual experience." The Spirit of God has the extraordinary power to make all creatures new. He fills the universe with love and inspires the new worship. This worship is "in truth" because the love of God the Father is poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit as a gift, an infinite grace, a source of life which is made visible and is given personally to us in Christ. (cf. Romans 5:5)
The woman discovered the sanctuary of her inmost being, where the Holy Spirit continually radiates the light and strength of a new life. She left her water jar, went into the town and said to the people, "Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Christ?" These words of the Samaritan woman are especially significant as Jesus declares that he is the Messiah: "I am he." In the end the entire village knows him as the Savior of the world. May we too come to know him as our Savior as we meet him in the everyday world we live in.