Without question, there is much more implied in these words by which the Son of God revealed himself to the Samaritan woman than I have perceived, and much more than I can cover in the space of this short article. But two things are clear.
When the Lord Jesus said to this Samaritan woman, “I AM HE,” he was declaring himself to be God incarnate, the great “I AM” in human flesh.
We lose much in our English translation of this 26th verse. It would be far more accurate to translate the Master’s words, “I AM.” This was the Old Testament name by which God revealed himself to Moses, “JEHOVAH.” Yet, here is a man, standing in front of a sinner in need of mercy, declaring himself to be the “I AM.”!
Our Lord Jesus Christ made this claim no less than fourteen times in John’s gospel. Fourteen times he publicly took to himself this title which belongs to none but God (4:6; 6:20; 8:24, 28, 58; 13:19; 18:5). He said “I AM the Bread of Life.” (6:35), “the Light of the World.” (8:12; 9:5),“the Door.” (10:7, 9), “the Good Shepherd.” (10:11, 14),“the Resurrection and the Life.” (11:25), “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” (14:9), and “I AM the Vine.” (15:1, 5).
This name – “I AM” – is our Savior’s declaration that he is God come to save! He made himself known to this sinner as the One of whom the Scriptures speak, and as God in human flesh.
And when our Master said, “I AM HE,” he was declaring to this woman that he is the Messiah promised long before.
The word Messiah means “Anointed.” It means exactly the same thing as the word “Christ.” As it was used among both the Jews and the Samaritans, it had three basic meanings. They expected the Messiah to be a man, anointed, chosen, set apart, consecrated by God and to God, in whom all the divinely appointed offices of the Old Testament would be fulfilled - Prophet, Priest, and King.
The Lord Jesus declared to this woman that he is that man, and that he is God as well. He is a Prophet like Moses (Deut. 18:18), to show us all things. He is a Priest like Melchizedek, to bring us to God. And he is a King like David, to deliver us from all our enemies, to rule us, to protect us, to provide for us.
When she heard this, "The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?"
This man, the man who died at Calvary, the man who is the Christ, the man who now sits in glory, this man who is the Savior of the world, says to you and me – “I AM HE.” He is the One of whom the Scriptures speak, God incarnate - the I AM, the Christ, the Messiah, the Salvation of Israel! "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation” (Isa. 25:9).