The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”
Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”
We are all familiar with the story of the Samaritan woman who converses with Jesus at the well. She refers to a "Messiah", whom she believes to be the Prophet mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:15; a prophet to the Jewish people, like Moses.
But what are we to understand about who "the Messiah" was to the Jewish people? In Hebrew and Aramaic, the word Messiah means "anointed", which implies that the Holy Spirit has been imparted to one. The Greek equivalent of the word is the title "Christ". Therefore "Christ" was not Jesus's name, but a title.
We read in the Old Testament of prophets, priests and kings, who were literally anointed with oil to consecrate them for special service, or to signify the endowment of the Spirit of God. The practice of anointing these earthly servants pointed to the promised arrival of God's "Anointed One", who would ultimately fulfill all three offices as Prophet, Priest and King.
This "Anointed One" or "Messiah" was prophesied about throughout the Old Testament and was called by many other names, including Seed of Abraham, Son of David, Son of Man, The Branch, Prince of Peace, etc. But the first century Jews, among whom God would appear in the form of a man, were looking for a Messiah who would deliver the nation from Roman occupation, become their warrior King, and rebuild the nation of Israel to its former glory. Orthodox Jews are still looking for Him!
But by concentrating on the role of the Messiah as King (and military and political leader), they underestimated His Messianic role as Prophet and Priest. That's why so many missed the identity of Yeshua. He indicated that He was the King they were looking for, but He specified that His kingdom was not of this earth; it was a heavenly kingdom. In fact, in the gospel of Matthew, there are 32 references to the "kingdom of heaven", but the Jews were blind to this implication of the Christ as this King.
Here, the Samaritan woman is looking for the Anointed One, the Messiah, as the Prophet, who will reveal all things. Jesus speaks to her of "living water" and "worshipping the Father in spirit and truth". yet she doesn't recognize Him either. Jesus has to announce that He is that One.
Throughout history, mankind has fallen short in their expectation of who the Messiah would be. We have been looking for one, or part, of who was promised. In truth, Yeshua, as the Messiah, has already appeared, and He is preparing to come again. This time He will be recognized by all who are looking for Him. We will see Him as the Prophet of all Ages, as our High Priest who intervenes at the throne of God on our behalf, and as the Righteous King who comes to rule His heavenly kingdom, now descended to earth.
This title "Messiah" implies the idea of Deity. Not even Moses, arguably one of the greatest prophets; or the renowned priest Melchizedek; or even the celebrated King David can measure up to the messianic Prophet-Priest-King who is Jesus Christ. As stated in Hebrews 1:3, He "is the brightness of [God's] glory and the express image of His person." In summary, Jesus is the Messiah, the Anointed One; and He is God. I can't wait to recognize Him!