25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”
28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”
32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”
34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37 Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”
(John 4:25-38 NIV)
While we are focused on verses 27 through 38, I added verses 25 and 26 for the context of today’s passage.
The Samaritan woman and Jesus were in conversation. The woman knew that Jesus was a holy man of some sort, as He had revealed her sordid past, not to condemn her, but to show her compassion.
As she tried to regain a bit of her pride, she looked for an “exit ramp” from the conversation. She pointed forward to the long-awaited Messiah and told Jesus that when Messiah comes, He would sort out this debate and teach them both. Her thought was that Messiah would not come during their lifetime, or even if He did, she and this stranger would not cross paths again when Messiah showed up. She was calling a draw to the conversation, giving herself the way out.
What happened next took her breath away. Jesus revealed Himself as Messiah. She immediately set her water pot down and hurried back to town. The same woman who came out in the scorching noon heat to draw her water and avoid the other town folks and their self-righteous condemnation of her was now unconcerned about who saw or heard her – she had a message to tell everyone who would hear: “Is this man the Messiah?”
Just as the woman was hurrying back to town, Jesus’ disciples returned from buying food in town. John records that they were surprised that Jesus was talking to this woman, a Samaritan woman at that. What was going on here? But no one dared to ask.
The disciples offered Jesus food, but He turned them down. They didn’t understand – they had left Jesus tired, hungry, and thirsty. Now Jesus was energized and ready to go. What happened while they were gone? Had this woman given Jesus food? But yet, when they looked in her water pot, it was bone dry. What was going on?
Jesus’ hunger was spiritual, and His food was obedience to His Father. He was living out the truth of His forefathers, which He had already used to Satan during His temptation, that “man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4)
As the crowds from town made their way back to Jesus, He used this time as a teachable moment with His disciples. He quotes an old farming proverb about patience, about waiting for the right time to harvest. Jesus quotes this old proverb, not to enforce it, but to contrast their current situation against it. Jesus’ energy and enthusiasm match the woman’s joy and energy as she shares the news that Messiah has arrived. Harvest time is here and now!
What is our reaction when Jesus reveals a part of our life that we don’t want to be exposed? Do we see Him, or only our brokenness? Do we let Jesus heal our hurts and shame? Is our reaction like that of the Samaritan woman, sharing the great news about Messiah with anyone who will listen?
May our healing and joy be full today as we celebrate Messiah with us.