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John 4:27-42

Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, ‘What do you want?’ or, ‘Why are you speaking with her?’ Then the woman left her water-jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, ‘Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?’ They left the city and were on their way to him.

Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, ‘Rabbi, eat something.’ But he said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’ So the disciples said to one another, ‘Surely no one has brought him something to eat?’ Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. Do you not say, “Four months more, then comes the harvest”? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, “One sows and another reaps.” I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.’

Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I have ever done.’ So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there for two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.’

The disciples have joined Jesus, presumably with lunch, and find Jesus with the Samaritan woman. They are astonished that he is speaking to a Samaritan woman but don’t say anything. Jesus’ perplexing behavior then continues as they try to persuade him to eat, but Jesus is too excited. Having spoken to the woman about water and thirst he now talks to his disciples about his hunger being sated by doing God’s will. But just as the Samaritan woman is too literal in her understanding of living water, the disciples make the same mistake and wonder who brought him food while they are away.

The woman meanwhile has gone into the city and in scenes reminiscent of Andrew telling Nathaniel to come and see the Messiah, she tells the people to come and see Jesus. She wonders out loud  if this might be the Messiah. There are real parallels between the disciples and the Samaritan woman.

Jesus seems to anticipate the crowd of people that would be brought to him by the woman. He uses the metaphor of crops ready to be harvested to describe the people that would come and believe in him. He describes a moment of remarkable grace and abundance in his imagery, suggesting that the harvest is being reaped although others did the sowing. It is undeserved and gratuitous.

Eventually the woman returns with a crowd of people and they invite him to stay for two days. Jesus does so and many of the Samaritans come to believe. They describe him as the Savior of the World, a title that nobody else has given him before now.

Blessings as we too acknowledge that Jesus is indeed the Savior of the world.  Be safe!  Be well!  The Spirit has come!

 To Ponder: 

  • What does this story teach us about evangelism?
  • What does God’s abundance mean to you?
  • What would make you too excited to eat?

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