How Did the Samaritan Woman Know About the Messiah?
“A Samaritan woman said to Jesus: ‘I know that the Messiah cometh.’ How did this woman know that the Messiah, ‘he that is called Christ,’ was coming (Jn. 4:25)?”
The Samaritans accepted only the Pentateuch (Genesis through Deuteronomy) as Scripture, yet they anticipated the Messiah confidently. In the Temple court, Peter preached:
“Moses indeed said, A prophet shall the Lord God raise up unto you from among your brethren, like unto me; to him shall ye hearken in all things whatsoever he shall speak unto you. And it shall be that every soul that shall not hearken to that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people. Yea and all the prophets from Samuel and them that followed after, as many as have spoken, they also told of these days” (Acts 3:22-24; Peter quotes from Dt. 18:15ff).
The Messianic thread in the Old Testament produced within the Jews, and Samaritans as well, the anticipation of the Christ. Simeon was “looking for the consolation of Israel,” and Anna spoke to them that were “looking for the redemption of Jerusalem” (Lk. 2:25,38). Andrew announced to Peter, “We have found the Messiah” (Jn. 1:41). Philip brought Nathanael to Jesus, saying, “We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, wrote, Jesus of Nazareth . . .” (Jn. 1:45). Joseph of Arimathaea was “looking for the kingdom of God” (Lk. 23:51).
Even the enemies of Jesus recognized the Messianic thrust of the Old Testament. Herod called the Scribes, the copiers of the Old Testament manuscripts, to inquire where “the Christ” was to be born (Mt. 2:4-6). When disputing the belief of some in Jesus as the Christ, the Jews affirmed,
“Hath not the scripture said that the Christ cometh of the seed of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” (Jn. 7:42).
While being tried, the high priest asked the Lord, “I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou art the Christ, the Son of God” (Mt. 26:63). Though they were waiting for the Christ, sadly many rejected him.
There was a reason that the Samaritan woman, and many others, said, “I know that the Messiah cometh.” The reason is found in Old Testament prophecy concerning Christ.
In the law of Moses, we read of “the Prophet” that God would raise up (Dt. 18:15). There was to come the seed of woman (Gen. 3:15), the seed of Abraham (Gen. 22:18), and Shiloh of Judah (Gen. 49:10). Additionally, the coming Christ was typified in: the king-priest Melchizedek (Gen. 14:18-20; Heb. 7:15-17), the Passover lamb (Ex. 12; Jn. 1:29; 1 Cor. 5:7), the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16), and the brazen serpent in the wilderness (Num. 21:6-9; Jn. 3:14).
In the books of history, the one who would sit on David’s throne was foretold, whose kingdom would be established for ever (2 Sam. 7:12-16). The same promise was repeated during the reign of Solomon (1 Kings 9:5).
In the Psalms, the Christ’s nature (Ps. 45:6-7), work (Ps. 110), rejection (Ps. 118:22-23), betrayal (Ps. 41:9), suffering and death (Ps. 22), and resurrection were predicted (Ps. 16:8-10).
In the books of the prophets, we can read of events surrounding the birth of Christ (Isa. 7:14; Micah 5:2), his nature (Isa. 9:6), the time of his coming (Dan. 9:24-27), his work (Zech. 6:13; Dan. 9:24-27; Isa. 61:1-3), his rejection (Isa. 53:1), his betrayal (Zech. 11:12), and his suffering and death (Isa. 53).
There are more than 300 prophecies concerning Christ in the Old Testament. Those who recognized the inspiration of the Old Testament looked forward to his coming, and many, on the basis of proof, obeyed him. Paul wrote to Timothy, “This charge I commit unto thee, my child Timothy, according to the prophecies which led the way to thee . . .” (1 Tim. 1:18). Paul would ask, “King Agrippa, Believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.”
The evidence is indisputable. The Old Testament predicted the events. Christ came and fulfilled them. The unanswered question is: “What will you do with Jesus, who is called the Christ?” (cf. Mt. 27:22).