The FISHERS Magazine (Issue 224)
“In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, 'Rabbi, eat.' But He said to them, 'I have food to eat of which you do not know.' Therefore the disciples said to one another, 'Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?' Jesus said to them, 'My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. Do you not say, ‘”There are still four months and then comes the harvest”’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: ‘”One sows and another reaps.”’ I sent you to reap that for which you have not laboured; others have laboured, and you have entered into their labours.'
“And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, 'He told me all that I ever did.' So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. And many more believed because of His own word. Then they said to the woman, 'Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world'” (John 4:27-42).
In John 4:7-26 the Lord Jesus Christ had a conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well. At the end of the conversation she was convicted of her sin of adultery and Jesus revealed to her that He was the Messiah who was foretold in the Scriptures.
In the passage from vv27-42, God’s Word reveals to us the outcome of that meeting. At the precise moment when the conversation ended the disciples returned from their trip to town to obtain food. Such was the sovereignty of God. If the disciples had returned a minute earlier the conversation would have been interrupted and never reached its climax.
As soon as the woman left for the city to share her experience, the disciples urged Jesus to eat the food that they had brought, for they knew He was hungry. The Lord’s reply was astonishing: He had food to eat which they did not know about. The disciples were puzzled and wondered whether anyone had already brought food to Him. The Lord then explained in verse 34, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work”. He was doing the will of God when He led the Samaritan woman to faith. Preaching the Word of God was so satisfying to Him that He had lost all desire for food. In comparison with the spiritual blessing that came as He did the will of God, physical food was nothing.
Our Lord is much humbler than His followers. There are many people who do not mind doing the will of God as long as it is something dramatic. But the will of God here for the Saviour was that He should sit at the well talking to one individual, in the heat of the day.
Then the Lord spoke to the disciples on the subject of Gospel work. Verses 35 to 38 are important to all who are involved in Gospel work whether it be in Sunday School, outreach, youth or children ministries. The Lord says Gospel work is like a harvest; it consists of sowing and reaping. But the harvest He mentioned is an eternal harvest and the issues are eternal issues. To explain what our Lord is saying in these verses, we may imagine a Missions Committee studying the viability of mission work in Samaria and concluding that Samaria needed the Gospel but was not ready for it. But Jesus says that it was not that the fields were not ready, but that the workers were few. Even the most difficult harvest field is white unto harvest. So, we are to put in the sickles and reap, bearing in mind the Lord Christ is the Lord of the Harvest. He came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many. We serve because He first served us. We reap because He has done all the prior work of salvation ahead of us. There will be more reaping if there are more reapers.
When our Lord says in verse 35, “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months ...’” we can imagine Him looking out to the city of Sychar. Coming out of the city were whole streams of people rushing to look for Christ on the strength of the woman’s word. As they came out in their white clothes through the corn fields, our Lord’s words would have had a double edge to them, “lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!”
Let us now learn from the Samaritan woman. She ran into the city and forgot her water pot. She was filled with conviction that she had met the Christ. What persuaded her was that He had told her all that she had ever done. That is how people come to faith. The reason you believe the Scriptures is not that someone comes to you with a great book to prove the Scriptures are true. But as you search the Scriptures, you find that it is the Scriptures which are searching you. Your heart is exposed supernaturally and you realise you are face to face with the Word of God. That is what happened to the Samaritan woman. So, she went into the city and invited the men to meet this Man who told her everything she did. She did not go to them and pronounce that she had suddenly become a righteous woman and issue a command that the community should follow her. She simply told the people that she had met the Messiah. She knew that she had been redeemed by the encounter and she wanted everyone in town to know it. She now understood the things of God. She pointed others to Christ, and so must we.
Around this Jew who is God incarnate there was this great crowd of Samaritans who urged Him to stay with them. The Lord of Glory in human flesh stayed two whole days among these villagers. For two whole days, they had the Lord Jesus Christ to themselves. They must have hung on to every word from Him. Believing His claim, they said to the Samaritan woman, "Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him" (John 4:42a). Now that was real faith.
From verse 42b, “and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world”, we note that they knew two things. First, they knew that He was the Christ, the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament. Second, they gave Him the title “the Saviour of the world”. They called Him “Saviour” because He spoke to them about their sin as He did with the Samaritan woman, and about deliverance, pardon and forgiveness of sin.
But why did they call Him “Saviour of the world”? They did not call Him “Saviour of the world” because He saved everybody. If He saved everybody, there would be no Hell, no need for the Gospel invitation, no need for people to repent and believe. They called Him “Saviour of the world” because He made it plain that He had come to save, not only the Jews, but all kinds of people. There is no exclusiveness about the Gospel. There is no nation, sect or class which is excluded from the Gospel invitation. There is no one who can say that the Saviour has come into the world for others but is not interested in his soul. He demonstrated that in Samaria when He went to those whom others spat upon and despised, and brought them into the experience of salvation. It is plain from this passage that all kinds of people come to God by the Lord Jesus Christ whether they are Jews or Gentiles. That is what the Gospel message is all about.