Peter Chrysologus sees the Samaritan woman as the church coming to the house of Simon the Pharisee which represents the synagogue.
As St Ambrose points out, only someone who had been forgiven much and felt the love of God so much could have made the loving gesture the woman made to Jesus.. Clement of Alexandria sees her acts as symbols of the teaching of the Lord. Like the woman, the church responds in faith to Jesus, who is the judge of us all. It is this sinful woman, not the Pharisee, who sees who Jesus really is, and as Augustine points out, it is her humility which secures for her the forgiveness of her sins.
Jesus tells the story as an act of reconciliation between Jews and Gentiles – all can be forgiven through faith in him. She kisses his feet because she believes in him, and the church encourages us to share a kiss at communion to show our faith, and in that, we kiss Christ in each of us. Christ continues to be anointed with oil as the church anoints us with the oil of charity.
As Ephrem the Syrian points out, it is the woman who confesses him as Christ, not the learned religious man. Jesus shows who he really is by forgiving sins – something God alone can do. Her great love is the product of the forgiveness and love extended to her. It remind us, St Ambrose says, that Jesus and his love are at the centre of God’s plan – because he is love, and it is his love which forgives sins.
We see at the end of the passage that many women came to him, healed of their demons by his power and love.