Pastor John’s Bible Stories For Grown-ups
09/28/16 – 580 – Jesus & the Woman at the Well
Once again I find I owe an apology for being sporadic in delivering these devotions to you. I really am trying to get them back to a daily basis. Please bear with me as I work through my obstacles and get things back on track. Thanks. Oh, by the way, a few prayers would be nice too. Anyway…
We left Jesus and the disciples waiting at the well while the Samaritans came from town to see and hear Him, following the woman’s testimony that He was the Messiah. Remember the reason He was alone with the woman in the first place was that His disciples had gone into town to get food.
31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”
32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”
(Just like the Samaritan woman, the disciples were still thinking in terms of the physical, not the spiritual.)
34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37 Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”
This is one of those ‘hard sayings of the Bible’ that people talk about. It’s hard not so much because it’s difficult to understand, but because it’s difficult to accept. At least it is for us, in this contemporary culture of entitlement.
Not only are we taught that we deserve to reap what we worked for, we are also taught that we deserve what we did not work for, and not in a good way as Jesus was saying. Notice He said ‘One sows and another reaps’. Nowadays we don’t want to sow or reap – we just want the benefits handed to us. We certainly don’t want to do the hard work and have someone else ‘get the credit’ for what we have done.
Which is strange when you think about what Jesus is talking about, which is witnessing. We say that we are not the ones who change hearts, only the Holy Spirit can do that. That’s true. Yet we still seem to want ‘credit’ for the number of people that are in heaven because we brought them! So what is Jesus really saying in this passage? That it is all of us, working together as God leads us that will make for a great harvest, which in turn will nourish us! “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” It’s not about you or me.
39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers. NIV
I love the last verse – what it says, and what it does not say. For those two days, they were listening. How often when He preached to the Jews, were they arguing instead?
Let’s make our prayer today a prayer for humility, that we might listen like the Samaritans, and be humble enough to work as God directs – whether reaping or sowing – even if we never see the fruit of our labor until we are with Him in heaven.