John 4

John 4
by Pastor Lawrence

There are so many surprising revelations in this pericope on the ministry of Christ among the Samaritans. The fact that Jesus is travelling through the unclean country of Samaria, that he is speaking privately with a woman, and that she is one of the hated Samaritans, are just a few of those surprises. Jesus also surprises his disciples with the revelation of food that they didn’t know he had. They even ask each other if anyone had given him something to eat earlier on. Of course, he explains to them that his food is to do the will of his father and to accomplish his work. In this case, he is referring to the work of harvesting ripe human souls who are ready to receive the gospel.

It was the Samaritan woman herself who had planted the seed when she told her neighbors about a man who told here all that she ever did. Presumably, she also told them that he was the Messiah, for Jesus had just revealed that he was. And as the disciples were walking into the village, the townspeople were gathering together to walk toward them in order to find the one the woman had spoken of. What is amazing is that many townspeople had already believed in Christ based upon the woman’s testimony alone, when she shared with them that “He told me all that I ever did.” But then others in the crowd also would come to place their faith in Christ when they heard the word of Jesus. Even the initial believers would have their faith confirmed by his message.

But what is encouraging for us as disciples of Christ is how Jesus frames this aspect of evangelism. The conversion of souls is never really dependent upon us. We are instruments in God’s hands, we serve as his mouthpiece, provide a simple testimony, and plant a seed of the gospel, but, ultimately, it is the Lord who causes that seed to grow. And it is often the case that the seed grows where and when we least expect it. There may be many individuals that do not listen to our testimony, but there will always be some that do, not always immediately as in this particular case, but, still, there may be the beginning of faith when we least expect it and often when we fail to see it.

What is even more encouraging are the times when we walk into a situation where clearly a seed has already been sown, and we have the privilege merely to reap the harvest of another’s labor. In those cases, there is already the beginning signs of belief, we are merely pointing them to the proper object of belief, our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. The Spirit is already convincing them of their need for a savior, and it is our great delight to show them the way. This is part of the work of a believer, the food of which Jesus speaks that is greatly satisfying to our souls.