The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.” (verses 25-26)
The Samaritans were half-breed Jews. They shared some of the same Scriptures as the Jews, but their understanding was deficient since they accepted only the books written by Moses (Genesis – Deuteronomy). All the same, they knew enough to have a well-established yearning for Messiah, whom they called, “Taheb”. Of him, the Samaritans said, “Water shall flow from his buckets!”
It’s no wonder, then, that Jesus revealed himself to this woman at a well. The heat of the day, the burning thirst, the cool refreshment of water just a bucket-load away, all set the stage for the revelation.
What is truly a wonder, however, is that he chose to extend revelation at all. The woman, for one, is surprised that he would even speak with her. She’s Samaritan, and Jews despised them. Further, she’s a woman, and Jews of the day had very discriminatory feelings about the perpetual uncleanness of women from that community. Plus, she had grown to expect exclusion, given her marital circumstance. She certainly didn’t expect conversation, let alone revelation.
The disciples, when they returned, had similar inclinations. They couldn’t understand why Jesus was speaking with her at all.
But the bigger surprise comes from the fact that Jesus is often very reluctant to even own the title “Messiah”. Likely, he knew it would lead to misunderstanding, the common perception being that Messiah would provide political salvation, rescue from the Romans, while he himself was intent on a more costly salvation that would require a different path. So, prior to his trial, Jesus never explicitly claims the title.
Except here. Here with this woman. Perhaps Jesus knew Samaritans were less likely to embrace skewed political expectations. Nonetheless, it is deeply significant that of all the people Jesus could have chosen to hear this revelation, he chose this woman. Her gender didn’t dissuade him. Nor did her ethnicity. Nor did her reputation.
And he speaks directly to her soul. For a woman who by necessity perpetually came to this well, in the heat of the day, thirsty and needy, the promise of Living Water would go deep. As would the promise she would never thirst again. With water sloshing from his buckets, the woman believed.
Lord Jesus, thank you that your view of people is completely different than that of the world. I am so glad. You value each one, meeting us each where we are, meeting us in ways we can perceive.
Thank you that this is how you met the woman.
Thank you that this is how you meet me.
Reflect: At which key moments in your journey did Jesus meet you in a new way? Remember. Reflect. Give thanks.