John 4B Seed ’em and Reap

Questions: Who do we want to be seen talking with? Whom do we talk about? What makes people want to come talk with us? Are we open enough to receive them?
“Read More” to pursue answers in the Gospel of John.

Lord, make me a Fountain of your Love
Draw me into your holy Presence, that I might know you as my Father
And manifest the image of Christ in this world, and the world to come. Amen.

And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?

The disciples, having returned to the scene, are as shocked as the woman was when Jesus spoke to her. Unlike her, though, they say nothing; conversely, she can’t keep her mouth shut:

The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.

Jesus’ combination of (if I may project modern terminology) vulnerability, perceptiveness, and forthrightness clearly connected with her. Alas, his disciples are still only thinking with their stomachs:

In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him [ought] to eat?

Now, I know the disciples come across as slow and goofy, but let’s be fair; I myself am often confused — or confusing! — when allusions start getting tossed around. And, I suspect Jesus deliberately gave them a provocative answer to prod their thinking, and set them up for this:

Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

I suspect this is meant as more than a sentiment about religious duties. Jesus is trying to break through centuries of prejudice to get them to see the Samaritans as real people — but he doesn’t do that by lecturing them about civil rights! Rather, he asks them to open their eyes to what God is already doing:

Say not ye, There are yet four months, and [then] cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

And, out of that, what part they have to play:

And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.

He is trying to redirect their hearts to “hunger and thirst for righteousness”; to become part of what God is doing.

I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.

I find it fascinating that he’s using the past tense (“sent”, literally “apostled”). It makes it sound as if even he sent them for food, he had intended for them to reach out to the Samaritans. Instead, one woman had to do the work of twelve men (yeah, I know :-):

And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.

The harvest is ripe indeed!

So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.

I suspect the disciples left with a whole new perspective on the Samaritans — and the heart of Jesus. Not to mention the power of his words:

And many more believed because of his own word;

After all, it is one thing to believe Jesus loves “people like me”; it is far more challenging to realize that “those” people are not only loved by Jesus, but may actually love him as much (or more!) than I do:

And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard [him] ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

I wonder, what will it take for my friends and adversaries to hear Jesus in me, or (better yet) hear him for themselves?
Father, open my eyes. As I’ve seen, there are countless people in my circle who are dying to talk about Christianity (if only to tell me how wrong I am). Teach me to love them the way Jesus taught his disciples to love Samaritans. Not by focusing on them, but by focusing on You. I ask all this in Jesus name, and for His glory, Amen.
About the Title:
Today’s title is a play on the gambler’s phrase “read ’em and weep.”