Defining the meaning of Savior

Published 11:02 am Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Come, see a man who told me all things I ever did. Could this be the Christ? John 4:29

If you are not familiar, the fourth chapter of John primarily records Jesus having a conversation with a Samaritan woman at a well. John states that Our Lord was weary from the journey and sat down near a well to rest and there began what would be a controversial conversation to every onlooker. A conversation with a Samaritan woman.

If you read the Bible through the lens of the culture of the day, Jesus was radical in breaking cultural and social lines. Over and over, He ministered to and empowered women, outcasts and the disenfranchised.

He would during his ministry be accused of being a wine-bibber, of keeping ill company and of dishonoring rabbinical tradition by caring for and even touching the less thans.

Jesus was a revolutionary in a time and culture that had very distinct dividing lines for what was socially acceptable. Jesus not only blurred the lines, but He caused those closest to him to completely rethink the way they viewed themselves by challenging them to view others differently.

Some of the most extraordinary accounts in the Bible are set in these contexts. As a rabbi, Jesus should’ve never visited the man in the graveyard, touched lepers, placed His hands on dead people and raised them up and in this passage He never should’ve spoken to a woman — especially not one who had been married as many times as she had.

The account is challenging to religious thought in a multitude of ways. How could Jesus be tired? Why would He ask her to give Him water? Why would He explain to her, a Samaritan woman, so clearly that He was the Messiah when it was the Jews that He had come to vindicate? Maybe most of all, why would Jesus allow her to go back and become the first evangelist of the gospel in the city that thought so little of her?

Without fail, because of these actions, throughout Jesus’ ministry the religious elite discounted, accused and railed Him.

It has always been puzzling to me that the blind could recognize Him and cry out “Son of David, have mercy,” but Pharisees couldn’t recognize who was standing right in front of them. 

While Jesus, for many, challenges what we would think of in regards to a rabbi, a Jew, a prophet or a religious leader, He overwhelmingly, here and in many other places, defines exactly what we should think of when we think of our Savior.

David Malcom is pastor of King Street Church in Keysville. His email address is