Reading: John 4: 27-38
Verse 35b: I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.
The disciples return just as Jesus finishes His initial conversation with the Samaritan woman. It is an unusual scene by the norms of the day, but the disciples have seen Jesus engage any and all time after time. He does not appear to be a man with any barriers. The woman heads back to town to tell others of her encounter with Jesus and people from town head to the well to meet Jesus. As the disciples have returned with food, they offer Jesus some. His response puzzles them: “I have food to eat that you know nothing about”. Staying on the surface level, they wonder if someone else has brought Jesus some food. Further explanation is clearly needed.
Jesus then explains that the true ‘food’ that feuls Him is to do the work of God. Perhaps knowing that the townspeople are heading their way, Jesus says, “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest”. Jesus and the disciples are about to be joined by people who are searching for the Messiah, the Savior of the world. Jesus has down the seeds, now the harvest is at hand. He tells them that the hard work is done – He planted faith in the woman who has in turn planted seeds in the people who approach. The disciples will now “reap what they did not work for”. Where do we fit in the story?
First, Jesus’ call to look to the fields applies to us. There are many in our lives ‘ripe’ for the truth and saving grace of Jesus Christ. It is our role to help people to the well so that they can drink of the ‘living water’ that Jesus offers. Second, we need to be ready to reap what the Holy Spirit works in someone’s heart once they accept Jesus as Lord. This “work” is the work of the Spirit. We can only plant seeds and inspire searching. God alone makes the seeds grow into faith. Lastly, we need to be ready to step in and walk alongside that new believer, nurturing and guiding their growth.
As we look at those in our lives, who is searching, who is ripe to meet Jesus Christ? What can we do today to sow seeds of faith? How can we be ready to reap and walk with those new to faith?