The disciples were shocked when they found Jesus talking with a Samaritan woman. It violated their sense of proper behavior for a Rabbi. No Rabbi they had known would stoop to talk with a woman in public, much less a Samaritan woman. They were shocked, yet not one of them was so bold as to question the Rabbi. Fortunately when the woman saw them, she left quickly. Embarrassed, they occupied themselves by setting out the food they had purchased in the village. That was difficult enough, going to an unclean village trying to scrounge enough kosher food for a decent meal. Fortunately all twelve of them stayed together, otherwise those filthy Samaritans would have robbed them blind. They shouldnt have left the Rabbi alone, though.
This summation doesnt put the most positive spin on the disciples role in this story. Unfortunately they arent so different from most of us who try to follow Jesus. We all struggle to see people as God sees them. Jesus used this opportunity to teach His new disciples about a different perspective of the world around them and of the people they encountered. The lesson Jesus has for all His disciples in this passage is simple: We need to change our perspective on our life in this world. Who we are and the meaning of our life is all defined through our relationship to Jesus.
1. Jesus defined His life by His relationship with the Father.
A. Jesus was sent into the world as the Son of God.
John uses 2 words in his gospel for sent: apostello or pempo
Apostello: emphasizes the authority and mission of the one sent.
Pempo: emphasizes the relationship of the one sent to the one sending.
In verse 34, John uses pempo to emphasize the relationship between Jesus and the Father.
Our life meaning and purpose begins with our relationship to Jesus.
B. Jesus was sent to accomplish the work of the Father
Verse 34: teleioso: to finish, to accomplish (future, the intention or goal)
On the cross, using a related word: tetelestai, it is finished
Gods work is that people would believe in Jesus as Messiah (Jn 6:29).
As the result of His conversation with the woman, Jesus plainly states that He is the messiah (Jn 4:26).
C. Jesus is still at work through those who believe in Him.
We are to live out His incarnation: living among the people (Jn 1:14; 17:15, 16)
We are to bring people to faith (Jn 6:29).
We are to carry on His works: healing, preaching, demonstrating the fruit of the Kingdom (Heb 13:8).
D. Our life passion and energy is discovered in our identity as believers and our ministry to others, not in anything this world offers.
Some biblical contrasts between world views:
- Luke 8:14 Seed planted among the thorns: When we try to be of the world spiritual life is choked.
- 2 Timothy 2:4 No soldier entangles him/herself in the affairs of everyday life.
- Matthew 6:33 Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all we need will be provided.
- Matthew 6:24 Cannot serve God and wealth (what the world provides): cant have two masters, two life goals.
Pursue your own temporal life and ask God to bless it or pursue God and impact eternity.
2. Out of His relationship with the Father, Jesus saw what the Father was doing in the hearts of people.
A. The disciples werent seeing spiritual need.
Four months to the harvest suggests: take it easy, no rush.
Jesus is saying the harvest is ripe: there is an urgency, now is the time, people are ready to be set free.
Disciples were seeing the end of the journey: Galilee and home.
- They werent expecting anything from Samaria: just get through it.
- A woman and a Samaritan: prejudices blinded them to a spiritual need.
Their perspective was from a human view not from Gods view.
B. Jesus teaches them to look for spiritual hunger.
Lift up your eyes means to look carefully, intently.
It means look closely, youre not getting it.
Jesus found spiritual hunger wherever He went.
- He didnt just see a Samaritan or a woman; He saw an eternal spirit who needed forgiveness.
- He spoke prophetically to the woman from a word of knowledge.
- Spiritual gifts dont operate when we are unwilling to use them.
Look for the spiritual hunger of people and be willing to respond.
C. Those who know Jesus should also be able to see what the Father is doing in the hearts of people.
Relationship and desire to do His will opens our eyes to what the Father is doing in the hearts of people.
Now is a season in our culture when the fields are ripe.
- This is a time for a strong testimony of hope and faith in Gods provision.
- We cannot be paralyzed by our own fears of survival.
Our God is bigger than our fears.
- His disciples just saw Him breaking a cultural norm talking to a Samaritan woman.
- Jesus saw a spiritual need and a whole village coming to meet Him.
3. Jesus lived for the harvest.
A. The reapers are already at work
The whole village came to hear Jesus based on the testimony of the woman.
God is already at work in peoples lives.
B. Jesus took as much time as needed to bring in the whole harvest.
Jesus stayed with them two days.
Verse 41, Many more believed because of His word.
C. We are to bring in a harvest of souls.
An increasing number of people are receiving Christ in our services.
It takes sowers and reapers to bring in the harvest.
We can rejoice together when people raise their hand and say, I want Jesus.
A. The food you do not know about is to do the will of the One who has sent you: Jesus Christ. What needs to change in your life to completely surrender your life to Him?
B. Prejudice prevents us from seeing the spiritual needs of others. What is the change in perspective you need in your life in order to begin seeing the spiritual hunger of the people around you?
C. Spiritual eyes will see spiritual need. How can you lift your eyes or look more intently, so that you function more consistently with spiritual gifts and bear the fruit of the Kingdom?