I always find it interesting when a theme runs through the various resources that I draw wisdom from each preaching week. This time around, the focus is on the Woman at the Well; specifically, overcoming the longstanding bad reading of the story that she is a prostitute. Even in the midst of common threads, each author has their own particular take on the topic at hand. For instance, in one of my lectionary resources this week, the author went on to make note of the fact that this Woman of Samaria that Jesus meets at the well is no theological slouch. She is aware of some of the theological nuance that created such a strong rift between the Jews and the Samaritans. More important to the story, however, is that she has set her hope on the Messiah who has been promised.
“I know that the Messiah is coming – the one who is call Christ. When he come, he will tell to us all things.” – (John 4.25, author’s translation)
The language she uses to describe the Messiah fits ideally within the story as Jesus has just told her more than he could have ever known about her. What got me was the underlying Greek idea behind what gets translated variously as “all things,” or “everything.” The Greek root is apas, which means “expressing the totality of any object.” Or, as we might say in modern parlance, “giving the final word.” The Messiah comes, not to help us understand String Theory or to explain the process of evolution, but to be for us God’s final Word of salvation, the totality of God’s dream for his creation.
Jesus lives into this role quite nicely in our story for Sunday. He offers the Woman living water. He shows her that he knows and cares for her, even though she is a stranger. He invites her to a life of true worship, a life of the Spirit. And finally, he reveals his true identity to her with two simple words, “ego eimi,” “I am.”*
Jesus is the Messiah she has been waiting for. Jesus is the Messiah we have been waiting for. Jesus is the Messiah who reveals to us God’s final Word, God’s kingdom come.
* As a side note, if anyone can explain to me why this isn’t one of the 7 “I am” statements in John, I’d appreciate it