Summary: # 12 in series. A look at the Samaritian woman’s encounter with Jesus and it changed her life and made her a witness for Christ.
A Study of the Book of John
“That You May Believe”
Sermon # 12
“A New Vision for the Harvest”
It has been said there are few things in life as tragic as having missed an opportunity. May I ask you a question, “Have you ever missed an opportunity to speak up for Jesus that you later could have kicked yourself about?” Well I have and I believe we have an example of just such an occurrence in the lives of the disciples.
We are returning one last time to the meeting between the Samaritan woman and Jesus at the well in Sychar. Jesus and his disciples have arrived in the heat of the day and Jesus sits down by the well to rest while his disciples go on into the village to buy something for them to eat. It is at this point that a lone Samaritan woman ventures out to the well when she is sure that none of the ladies from the village will be present to humiliate her for her scandalous lifestyle. Yet today is the day that she meets and accepts Jesus as her personal deliverer from sin.
In my sanctified imagination I can see Jesus as he watches His disciples as they start up the hill into the village of Sychar. Perhaps he saw them as they passed the woman on her way down to the well; it could be that they even forced her to step off the path to let them proceed. At any rate they failed to see her as anything but an impediment to their plans, not as a person who needed to be reached with the gospel.
That is still a problem, in life you see what you are going after. If food is what you go after then food is all you see. If money is what you are going after you tend to shut everything else out. If career advancement is what you are going after then that is what you see.
The disciples apparently arrive back from the village just in time to observe the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman end. They are astonished that Jesus has been talking with her. But for once they seem to hold their tongues and do not bring it up. Perhaps they have put their foot in their mouth one too many times lately and no wants to be the one who voices the latest stupid question. Although they did not talk to Jesus about their concerns, Jesus knew their hearts.
In verse twenty-seven we read, “And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?” .... (31) In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying,
“Rabbi, eat.” (32) But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” (33) Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?” (34) Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”
After the woman left, Jesus is pressed by his disciples to eat, He refuses to do so, telling them that He has other “food” to eat of which they are unaware. As Leon Morris points out, “we often read of people who took literally the words that Jesus used of spiritual realities. The Jews did this when Jesus spoke of destroying and raising the temple (2:20). Nicodemus did it with the new birth (3:4), and the woman did it with the living water (4:15). Now the disciples do it with the food that Jesus eats.” [Leon Morris. Reflections On the Gospel of John. (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson pub., 2000) p.147]
The disciples thought that Jesus was speaking of physical food and they wondered where he could have gotten it! Then Jesus went on to explain that doing the Father’s will, in this case leading the Samaritan woman to faith, was nourish-ment for his soul. At this point Jesus leaves the imagery of food and begins to talk about the harvest, the source of food.
When the disciples returned to Jesus that day they were not at all concerned with getting know this woman. They weren’t interested in her condition or her heart, they had already made up their minds about her and as far as they were concerned she had been written off. In verses thirty-five through thirty-nine Jesus gives the disciples and his readers today a three-fold commission.
First, Jesus Taught Them About The Need To Lift Up Their Eyes. (v. 35)
“Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes…”