1. The fields are ripe for the harvest! Many in our church are busy harvesting at this time of year. It is a busy time. It takes much work. But the rewards are worth it.
2. Jesus is talking to His disciples. And He is talking to us as well. In vs. 35 He says - I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.
3. But it seems that Jesus is confused. For it is December or early January. And the crops would not be ready until April or early May. That is why the disciples had said four months more and then the harvest. But the disciples are looking at the grain growing in the fields.
4. Jesus is looking is looking at a crowd of Samaritans who have just heard about Him from the woman He had met at the well. They were coming to see if He was the Christ. They were walking through the fields towards Him.
5. The disciples failed to see these people the same way that Jesus saw them. Perhaps they thought they were just coming to the well to get some water. Perhaps they saw them as the kind of people they would not associate with or did not care much about. We talked about that this morning. But Jesus saw them as lost souls who were ripe for being harvested into the kingdom of God.
6. We do not have a crowd of Samaritans coming towards us. But we have many people in our lives. We have classmates, fellow workers, neighbours, friends, and relatives. I wonder if we look at them in the same way that Jesus sees them. Or do we see them as the disciples do?
7. There are those we know that do not believe in Jesus. They may even have let us know that they really do not want to talk about faith or church. There are those who are sinners - in the sense that they live godless lives - bar hopping, sleeping around, living with someone. We may even be upset inside about the way they live and talk about God.
8. But I wonder if we feel any love or compassion toward them. It is easier to be upset at their sinful lifestyles or their rejection of our faith than it is to feel love and compassion toward them. We do not weep over the lostness of those who oppose the church as Jesus wept over the coming destruction of Jerusalem, even though the people deserved it. We do not share His compassion for the lost. At least, I donít, and Iím a minister who is supposed to care. I forget that there may be seeds planted within them. Years ago by a Sunday School teacher or parent or grandparent. Or by the Holy Spirit who may inwardly be convicting them of their sin.
9. Jesus tells His disciples that one sows and one reaps. And that they are being sent to reap. I believe that we are called to sow and reap. We are all to be witnesses. To see others as a potential harvest. And I believe that if we take this task seriously God will provide us with opportunities to harvest.
10. How many souls have we harvested in our 50 years? How many have come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ? How many of our children and neighbours? How many entered these doors as unbelievers doomed to hell and left as children of the living God?
11. I believe we need to increase our efforts. But to do so we need to seek opportunities and know how to respond to the opportunities we have. This morning we considered how Jesus followed His Fatherís leading to go through Samaria and how He was willing to talk with the woman.
12. This evening we look at how Jesus made the most of this opportunity. When we see how He communicated with her, we learn how we can better approach those who God has placed in our lives.
13. Jesus was resting by the well when the woman came. 1Jesus did not introduce Himself or preach to her. He did not even offer her something. He asked her for help. Perhaps that sounds like no big deal but because Jews hated Samaritans, they would not like to ask for help.
14. To ask someone to whom we look down for help is belittling ourselves. But Jesus asked her for a drink of water. She had a pail to draw the water and He did not.
15. She is quite surprised that Jesus made this request. "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" For other reasons, as we will see, the woman was a person who was looked down on by others.