Having met the Samaritan Woman at Jacob's Well, our Lord makes a seemingly simple request: "Give me to drink." And had she merely complied with this request, who knows what might have happened? Of course Jesus--as the God-man--foreknew the course of events that must inevitably unfold. When the Samaritan Woman dared to question why He, a Jew, would deign to talk to a woman of the despised Samaritan race, He said to her, "If thou knewest the gift of God, and Who it was that sayest to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldst have asked of Him, and He would have given unto thee living water." Jesus was referring, of course, to the gift of the Holy Spirit--the Third Person of the Holy Trinity--but the Samaritan Woman--her mind darkened by the sinful passions that held her captive--could not see beyond the literal interpretation of His words. So Jesus clarifies: "Whoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again; but whoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst." And even then, her carnal mind can only conceive of his words in a literal sense. It is only when our Lord exposes her sinful way of life (she has had five husbands, and the man she is currently living with is not her husband) that the truth at last begins to dawn upon her.
In a flash of insight, the Samaritan Woman is given to understand that this is no ordinary man, nor merely a prophet: but rather the promised Messiah. Illumined by the light of truth, Photini (whose name means "light") sets forth to proclaim the dawning of that transcendent truth so long concealed beneath the types and shadows of the Law. What is significant is that she could only repent in the true sense of the word (turning 180 degrees from the darkness to the light) in that moment when she was forced to confront the truth concerning her sinful past. And once having repented, the scales fell from her eyes and she could perceive--beyond the superficial appearance of this earthly life--the possibility of eternal life and salvation.
So it is for all of us: it is only through the power of genuine repentance that we are enabled to break free from the shackles of ignorance and spiritual blindness, that we might pray from the depth of our heart to be vouchsafed the gift of God: the living water of the Holy Spirit. It is through repentance alone that we can come to a true knowledge of God: not merely by hearsay, but rather through first hand experience, having achieved through humility, patience, and self-denial an existential encounter with Christ. For truly to know Him is to love Him, and if our love is genuine and sincere, we will strive at all times and in all places to fulfill His commandments--above all the commandment to love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind, and our neighbor as our very own self. Only then may we hope to be granted the boldness to worship God "in spirit and in truth."