John 4:27-42

Read John 4:27-42

Jesus talking to a Samaritan woman of questionable reputation caused the disciples returning from the town to “marvel”. Jesus’ conversation with the woman was undoubtedly a cultural taboo if there ever was one – perhaps even more so here because the disciples thought Jesus was trying to solicit her.  Jesus often associated with people of low standing society. When Jesus called Matthew to be his disciple, the Pharisees raised eyebrows at him, asking him why he associated with sinners. Jesus says that it is the sick that need a doctor, not the healthy. Jesus calls sinners to repentance, not the righteous (Matthew 9:9-13). He was overcoming cultural taboos and reaching out to the ones who need forgiveness the most. In any case, the woman was amazed by Jesus, and she left her water pot and went back to the city to tell about what she had heard from Jesus and they came out to see him.

As the people were coming out, the disciples offered the food that they purchased. Jesus, in typical fashion, uses the common to communicate spiritual truths that confuses his audience. He says his food is to do the will of the one who sent him and accomplish the one’s work. John 5:36 says that Jesus was sent by the father and Jesus explains in John 3:16-18 that his mission was to save the world. Jesus looks out at the ones coming to see him. He declares that they are the harvest. Unlike a natural harvest, a spiritual harvest is not something that is formulaic or even timely in season. Jesus says he had sent them to reap what they did not labor, and they enter into the labor of another, perhaps a reference to what the prophets and John the Baptist before had done. Paul expounds on this in 1 Corinthians 3:4-9 when he is resolving the conflict. The argument is that is does not matter who sowed and who harvested, it is God who gives the growth. This is demonstrably shown when the crowds come to Jesus and see him for themselves. They tell the woman that it is not because of her that they believe, but that they have seen for themselves that Jesus is the savior of the world. Jesus stayed there for two more days before returning to Galilee.

The Samaritan woman probably did not wake up the morning she met Jesus thinking that she was going to be instrumental in her village coming to faith in Jesus, but the Samaritan woman met the Messiah, and she went and told others, who came and met the Messiah. She was a fellow laborer in harvest, much like every Christian alive today.  The Lord of the Harvest is Christ, and Christians the sowers and reapers. In any case, it is God who gives growth. It is enough that Christians do the will of the Father as Jesus did, because spiritual harvests can come in and out of season. It is not the job of Christians to decide who can and can’t come to Christ – that’s God’s job. For this reason, Christians should be willing to break cultural norms and go to the hard places to tell people about him. The personal witness one person can draw people to Jesus, but it is even more awesome when a person encounters Jesus for themselves and believes in him!

Lord, I’m a worker in your harvest. Help me to concern myself with my task and not about things I have no control over!

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