Summary: Our purpose in life is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Jesus shows the way to glorify the Father, His sole food was the joy which comes from fruitful witness
Last Week we talked about the proper way to worship God. We learned the proper way to worship the Father was the way the Father directs us. This worship is not in a particular place, whether man made temples or nature. God’s temple is made in the heart of the believer by God Himself where the Holy spirit resides. We cannot dictate the terms of how we will worship God.
The Exposition of the Text
We are still at the well of Samaria in which Jesus has just revealed to the woman that he is the promised Messiah (Taheeb). Now the disciples are returning with the food which they went to a Samaritan village to get for Jesus. This in itself would be very unusual for and Jew to do. The Jews considered anything touched by a Samaritan to be unclean for eating. But disciples of a Rabbi were expected to obey the teaching of their master completely. But this does not mean that they were not shocked by what they saw.
Due to what the disciples considered to be an emergency, they were willing to go to the Samaritan village. After all, they needed to save Jesus’ life, or so they thought. They left him half dead at the well. But what they now saw was truly shocking. Jesus was talking to a woman. Jewish Rabbis thought it was disgraceful to talk to a woman about the things of God, even one’s own wife in private. To talk to even one’s own wife in public was suspect, and to talk with some other woman was scandalous. Not only was Jesus talking to a strange woman in public, but a Samaritan woman. And not only was he talking to a Samaritan woman, but one of the lowest repute. How many questions must they have had in their hearts.
We don’t know how much the disciples heard of the conversation. But the timing of their return was providential. The woman left her waterpot full of water for Jesus to drink from. This shows how much she had been transformed. The Christian duty is to look out after the needs of others, so this became her first deed as a Christian. Now it was the disciples turn to play savior. Jesus looked famished and weak. They had gone way out of their way to get food to save Him. They begged Jesus to eat to get His strength back. Jesus now surprised the disciples as much as he had previously surprised Nathaniel, Nicodemus, Jesus’ mother at Cana, and the Samaritan woman. He told the disciples that he had food to eat already which they did not know about. This got the disciples to talking. “Who got him food?” I can imagine them saying within themselves; “He sure looks weak and hungry to me. Is He in his right mind? Has the heat got the better of Him? After all, he just finished talking to a Samaritan woman.”
The disciples show that they, too, were as much in the dark about spiritual matters as the Samaritan woman. They were thinking about earthly food as much as the woman was thinking about earthly water and Nicodemus of earthly birth. Now Jesus again turns the table around. Just as the woman found out that it was she who was truly thirsty, the disciples find out it is they, not Jesus, who are truly hungry.
Jesus now shows the disciples what the true food of God is. His hunger was not for earthly food but rather to do His Father’s will. It wasn’t as important for Jesus to be fed earthly food to sustain His body as it was to feed others with what the Father wanted them to have. He tells them “Do you not say that there is yet four months until the harvest.” In this Jesus is either saying a parable common to them that there was a four month separation between sowing the seed and harvesting the wheat, or he was referring to the surrounding fields. If it is the latter, then this meeting at the well would have been in December. At any rate, it was not the correct time for the harvest of earthly grain. But Jesus says that the time to harvest God’s field was now. The disciples clearly saw that the surrounding fields were not ready. What could Jesus have been talking about?
Jesus made this clear to his disciples in saying the harvest is one of souls for eternal life. What Jesus was asking them to do was not to harvest wheat, but people prepared for the Kingdom of God. Jesus had told them earlier that their mission was not to fish for fish, but rather for men. Jesus wanted the disciples to hunger for the lost souls and not for earthly food. Even as Jesus spoke, the woman was returning with the men of the village who were dressed in white clothing.