Jesus meets a Samaritan woman, drawing water at the well. There are at least three reasons why he should have nothing to do with her. First, although Jews and Samaritans were neighbours, they hated and despised one another. Second, as a Jewish man, it would be unacceptable for Jesus to speak in public to a woman who was not a member of his family. And thirdly, as Jesus seems to know, the woman led a scandalous life and had had five husbands. Perhaps that was why she went to the well in the heat of the day, when no one else was around – to avoid gossip and judgement.
Jesus, as usual, ignores all the barriers. When he speaks to the Samaritan woman, he doesn’t accuse or judge her, but calls her to believe in him. After she has spent some time in conversation with him, she becomes a missionary; she goes back to the Samaritan town to call her neighbours, and they come to hear Jesus. The whole town is brought to faith.
We are all called to become disciples of Christ, and to bear witness to the difference that he has made in our lives. Sadly, the land where Jesus lived is still torn apart today by hatred and suspicion, but Jesus rejects no one because of gender, race or class. Sinners find welcome and forgiveness. The living water that Jesus gives is for everyone.