19The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. 20Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 24God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.” 26Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.”
Jesus has a conversation with the woman at the well. She is a Samaritan, outside the favor of Israel; and, what’s more, she’s had several husbands. In short, she is not the sort of person that any respectable rabbi would engage. But Jesus begins a conversation that gets personal quickly—so the woman resorts to a move that most preachers would recognize, turning the conversation into theology and raising the old question of where is the appropriate place to worship God (Jews and Samaritans had this disagreement regularly). But Jesus, as he usually does, turns the conversation to back his terms. He is not interested in rehashing old theological debates; rather, he has come for nothing less than to announce the truth of God standing before her. We want to be satisfied in our own ways—comfortable religious customs, or our personal histories (even if they’re not especially honorable). Jesus is never content to let us settle for anything less than the grace of God.
God, on your day of Pentecost, we worship you in Spirit and in truth, according to the grace given to us in Jesus Christ. Help us to live attending to your presence, always in trust that you appear beyond our imaginations, leading us to follow Jesus in the world you made. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.