Tucked between Jesus’ discussion with the woman of Samaria (2 – The Woman at the Well) and her witness to the townspeople (3 – She Spreads the Word!), Jesus senses the disciples’ response to the woman and takes advantage of a teachable moment.
You may remember, the disciples had left Jesus there at the well while they went looking for food.
Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman.
Never mind the five-husband business, just the fact that he is sitting there talking to a woman (a Samaritan woman) was taboo in their culture.
But no on asked [her], “What do you want?” or [him] “Why are you talking to her?”
They may not have spoken these words, but you can sure bet there were thinking them!
The woman gets up and leaves her water jar behind, because she’s on a mission to tell the townspeople about Jesus.
Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”
They have food on their minds, but Jesus has already been fed by his conversation with the woman and in anticipation of what will happen to the people of the town.
Jesus tells the men,
“I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
The disciples whisper to each other,
“Could someone have brought him food?”
They are thinking physical food while Jesus has spiritual food on his mind. Jesus launches into this teaching moment in almost parable fashion. Keeping with the food theme, he compares the harvest of the field with the gathering in of believers. Listen up boys!
“My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.”
Harvest for eternal life! Okay, maybe now they get it—spiritual food. Tie that with the analogy of what they have just done in going to buy physical food.
“Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.” John 4:27-38
They will soon see how this Samaritan woman is in town sowing and Jesus will be reaping the harvest. They will witness perhaps their first Gentile harvest—a task they will be doing after the resurrection for the rest of their lives.
Open my eyes, Lord. Where do you want me to sow the seeds of your love today? Has someone else sown seeds and you’re just waiting for me to harvest a new believer into your kingdom? Open my eyes, Lord.
~ Joyce ~