Last time, we saw Jesus and His conversation with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. As their conversation was just about to wrap up, His disciples who had gone into town to buy food, come upon the pair; this is what followed…
Upon their return the disciples were a bit shocked to see Jesus speaking with this woman for the reasons recounted last time, but they did not insert themselves into the situation. It seems unlikely that they would question Jesus’ morality, and by now they would certainly have noticed that He didn’t observe all of the usual customs of the day; they waited for her to leave. She leaves her water jugs behind and rushes into town to tell the people to come and see this man who has told her everything about her life. These townsfolk would most likely be aware that there was much to tell, and her testimony has power in their eyes. Her conclusion that He was a prophet she freely gave, but notice that His statement that He is the Christ she is cautious about; “Could this be the Christ?” The people came to find out…
The disciples want Jesus to eat something and Jesus tells them that He has food they know nothing about. As always seems to be the case, they take Him literally, wondering if somebody else has given Him food; maybe that woman?
Jesus explains His meaning: His food (nourishment) is to do His Father’s work. Then He proceeds to change the subject to the harvest of souls. His main device in explaining this to them is to point out that it isn’t always the same person who sows the seed and also reaps the harvest. In their case, they have gone into town to buy the food that someone else planted, worked and harvested. They did no work, they just paid for it; someone else did the actual work. The harvest of souls is near; Jesus wants His disciples to see that the time has come to reap this harvest. Of course all of this sowing and reaping is analogous to the Gospel: First the Word of God will be planted in the people, in fact it has already been done; the people expect the Messiah to appear. It is for Jesus and especially for His disciples to bring in the harvest of those who will believe that they might turn to God and receive eternal life.
Because of the woman’s testimony about Jesus, many of the townsfolk believed in Him. As a result, they asked Him to stay in their midst and He did so for two days. During this time, even more believed because of His teachings. Now, not only did they believe because of the woman’s testimony, they also had the opportunity to see and hear Jesus for themselves: The harvest in that small town had been reaped. The people there understood that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.
Isn’t it interesting that when we share our testimony about Jesus, some people respond right away in faith while others resist and refuse to accept it? Could it be that those who respond easily have had the seed of faith planted by someone else, maybe years before? Could it be that those who refuse our plea may respond easily to someone else weeks or years later?
Certainly, Jesus wanted His disciples to understand that they were to bring in the harvest of the crop that was ready for harvest, and to plant the seed for the harvest that would follow later: I think we can learn from this.