The Israelites’ hearts were hardened by their hardships in the desert. Though they have seen his mighty deeds, in their thirst they grumble and put God to the test in today’s First Reading, a crisis point recalled also in today’s Psalm.
Jesus is thirsty, too, in today’s Gospel. He thirsts for souls (see John 19:28). He longs to give the Samaritan woman the living waters that well up to eternal life. These waters couldn’t be drawn from the well of Jacob, father of the Israelites and the Samaritans, but Jesus was something greater than Jacob (see Luke 11:31–32).
The Samaritans were Israelites who escaped exile when Assyria conquered the Northern Kingdom eight centuries before Christ (see 2 Kings 17:6, 24–41). They were despised for intermarrying with non-Israelites and worshipping at Mount Gerazim, not Jerusalem.