The Sovereign and The Sinner

That He had even spoken to her shook the foundation of the current day’s social ethic of appropriateness. But not only did Jesus speak with the woman, He engaged her in discussion. They talked about satisfying physical and spiritual thirst. And they talked more about the right way to worship.

And what really grabs me this morning as I hover this “chance meeting” at the well, is not just the cultural dichotomy associated with Jesus being a man and she being a woman. Not the cultural taboo of Him, a Jew, speaking with her, a Samaritan. Not that she had a need that He was willing and able to meet.  Or even, that He had a need which He asked her to meet. But what’s peaked out the awe-o-meter this morning is that He engaged her even though He was the The Sovereign and she was but a sinner.

The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ). When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”

(John 4:25-26 ESV)

That last word, He, isn’t part of the original text. The actual words of Jesus were, “I who speak to you am.” And in using the words “I am” Jesus was claiming as His own one of the names which God applied to Himself in the Old Testament. In essence Jesus said to the woman, “I AM is speaking to you.”

What?!?! Not only was Jesus revealing to this nobody in the middle of nowhere who knew nothing that He was the Messiah she was looking for, but He also announced the startling truth that He was God Himself. “Jehovah is the one who is speaking to you.” Like I said, What?!?!

The Creator goes eyeball to eyeball with His creation. God, the self-Existent, condescends to talk to this woman, the self-condemned.

She didn’t need to climb some mountain in order to find God, He came to her while she was going about her daily business. She wasn’t required to first clean herself up, He was more interested in her heart anyway. She didn’t even need to remove the sandals from her feet because she was standing on holy ground, for He had already divested Himself of His majestic glory so He could approach her on her turf.

Instead, The Sovereign, at just the right time and in just the right way, purposed to engage the sinner. No thunder and lightning, only tenderness and illumination. No flames of judgment burning around her, just the burning of her heart within her. That was her story.

Isn’t that the same story for all of us who have encountered the Savior? Less about us finding Him and more about Him seeking us. No so much about what we think we knew, instead wooed into the kingdom by what He chose to reveal. And in that revelation, an encounter of the divine kind. Man meets Maker.

The Sovereign speaks to the sinner.

What grace! What amazing grace!

To Him be all the glory!

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