"The Samaritan woman said to him, 'You are a Jew. I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?' She said this because Jews don't have anything to do with Samaritans. Jesus answered her, 'You do not know what God's gift is. And you do not know who is asking you for a drink. If you did, you would have asked him. He would have given you living water.' "
These words in John 4: 9,10 show us the tendency of human nature, after it has been conditioned by religion, to immediately recognize the boundaries society has drawn between people. We see several here - man/woman as well as Samaritan/Jew. When the Samaritan woman is asked by Jesus for a drink from the well, instead of viewing it as one human being making a request of another, she immediately begins to see through the lens of how she was raised...beliefs that she has been taught such as, men don't associate with strange women in public and Jews and Samaritans have no dealings with each other.
In surrendering to these boundaries, born of religious tradition, however, she misses out on the gift that God is trying to give her...the living water. In verse 10 Jesus basically tells her that sometimes the gift of God comes to you from something or someone outside the boundaries you've been taught and you can't see it because you have allowed yourself to remain within those boundaries.
As the story goes on, rather than accept the gift of living water He offers her, she continues to point out (verse 20) the differences between them (rather than recognize their common humanity) by telling him that her people worship on a mountain, while His people believe you must worship in Jerusalem. He responds in verses 21-23 by saying, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will not worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem... a new time is coming. In fact, it is already here. True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. They are the kind of worshipers the Father is looking for."
In essence, Jesus is saying "I'm not encouraging my religion over yours, nor yours over mine. I'm trying to get rid of all of them!" We must remember that Jesus did not come to start a religion. He came to revolutionize His own and to establish the Kingdom of God. God is Spirit and cannot be understood by flesh or anything manmade, which religion is. Don't miss the gifts of God just because they come to you in an unfamiliar package!