27 Just then his disciples came back. They marvelled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him.
31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labour. Others have laboured, and you have entered into their labour.”
39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Saviour of the world.”
Jesus’ disciples come to find him reaping a harvest among the Samaritans. This was unexpected, but he tells them that a harvest is to be reaped. God himself has prepared the people in many ways so that they are ready for Jesus. It was unlikely that Jewish evangelists had effectively prepared the Samaritans to become converts to Jesus as the Messiah. This open attitude to Jesus and his message may have been by word-of-mouth because people had heard what he was doing in the neighbouring regions. It may have been that God, through the Spirit, was preparing the people in supernatural ways. In either case, the principle is that God goes before the evangelist preparing the hearts of people so that they are predisposed to the good news of Jesus.
Today we are sometimes afraid to speak about God to people we do not know well. Sometimes we are afraid to talk about God to people who we do know well because we assume their attitude is fixed. God prepares people to hear the news of Jesus’ message. We do not know how he challenges people, we just know that he does. When we come with an open attitude to discussing Jesus and a passionate attitude to sharing our faith we are coming in after God has worked in people’s lives. There is often a harvest that leaves us awe struck. I have personally experienced this on plane flights, in bus stations, and in coffee shops. It just takes a focus on God rather than ourselves and then God reaps a harvest through us.
God, we are often so focused on ourselves and our inadequacies. I pray that you would help us to reach out and share what we have received and expect a harvest. Maybe we are to plant a seed that others will reap, but help us not to hold back when we should speak.
- Who is converted in this passage?
- What is the attitude of the disciples?
- What information brackets Jesus teaching in this section and why?
- Is there a harvest to be had among the Muslims? What is your attitude?
- How freely do you talk about your faith with others? How can open communication about Jesus be naturally maintained?