What did Christ really say at that well?

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.” (John 4:25-26 NKJV)

I was reading this the other day, and I figure it was worth a second glance. Let’s look at it in the Greek,

λεγει αυτω η γυνη οιδα οτι μεσσιας ερχεται ο λεγομενος χριστος οταν ελθη εκεινος αναγγελει ημιν παντα. λεγει αυτη ο ιησους εγω ειμι ο λαλων σοι

The goal of this exercise is εγω ειμι (ego eimi), which is used in Exodus 3.14 LXX, translated as ‘I AM’. (We covered a bit of this a few weeks ago.) The literal translation of verse 26 is, ‘I AM  speaks to you.’

Did Christ say that He was the Messiah, human, or did He say that He was the I AM, Messiah, Deity?

Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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