Lesson 21

The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

4:27 At this, his disciples came. They marveled that he was speaking with a woman; yet no one said, "What are you looking for?" or, "Why do you speak with her?" 4:28 So the woman left her water pot, and went away into the city, and said to the people, 4:29 "Come, see a man who told me everything that I did. Can this be the Christ?"

4:30 They went out of the city, and were coming to him. 4:31 In the meanwhile, the disciples urged him, saying, "Rabbi, eat."

4:32 But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you don't know about."

4:33 The disciples therefore said one to another, "Has anyone brought him something to eat?"

4:34 Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work. 4:35 Don't you say, 'There are yet four months until the harvest?' Behold, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and look at the fields, that they are white already to harvest. 4:36 He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit to eternal life; that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. 4:37 For in this the saying is true, 'One sows, and another reaps.' 4:38 I sent you to reap that for which you haven't labored. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor."

4:39 From that city many of the Samaritans believed in him because of the word of the woman, who testified, 'He told me everything that I did." 4:40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they begged him to stay with them. He stayed there two days. 4:41 Many more believed because of his word. 4:42 They said to the woman, "Now we believe, not because of your speaking; for we have heard for ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world."

 Today's Lesson

Today's scripture shows the results of Jesus' conversation with the woman at the well. She returns to the city when His disciples return from buying food. After a brief conversation with the disciples, we are told that many of the Samaritans came from the city to see Jesus. The woman had told them that a man she had met was the Christ. They came to examine this man, unsure of whether or not to believe her testimony. But, what they found when they spoke with Jesus convinced them that He was "the Christ, the Savior of the world."


There are two interesting metaphors in this passage. When His disciples return, they urge Him to eat something. His response was, "I have food to eat that you don't know about." And again, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me." Fulfilling the will of God was the "food" that Jesus speaks of. The drive to do the will of the Father was stronger than hunger (and perhaps thirst as well; did he ever get that drink of water?).


The second metaphor is that of the harvest. Jesus says that the fields are "white already to harvest." Most commentators see this passage referring to the Samaritans as they were coming up from the city to meet with Him. They were likely clothed in the white garments (those that were not dyed for special use) traditional of the region. Here was a new group of potential believers, "white already to harvest."


Many in Samaria began to believe from the testimony of one woman. In the book of Acts there is a dramatic conversion of believers in Samaria. The groundwork (the sowing) of the events in Acts can be found in the Gospel of John. Jesus, even on His travels from one place to another, was doing the will of His Father.


As we go through our day, what motivates our basic activity? What goal are we working towards? Retirement? Prosperity? Jesus says that His food and drink, His purpose for living, was to do the will of the Father. Perhaps that sort of single-minded dedication is beyond the reach of most of us. One thing is true, however, after we have tasted the goodness of God, the flavor of everything else can never compare.


The child of God can never be satisfied eating and drinking the things of this world. The Spirit of God has ruined our appetites for earthly fare. Only feasting on the riches of God's table will suffice.


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