Good Book Club: John 4:31-42
31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, “Rabbi, eat something.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Surely no one has brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. 35 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. 36 The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”
39 Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 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.”
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
A reflection by Adam Trambley, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Sharon, PA
Jesus gives us hopeful news in today’s reading. He tells us, “the fields are ripe for harvesting,” and “I sent you to reap for that which you did not labor.” At a time when ministry seems increasingly difficult, ripe fields are exciting. John 4 about the Samaritan woman at the well makes clear that the harvesting won’t occur only in our current fields. While his disciples are finding lunch, Jesus is engaging a new seeker and preparing her to become an effective evangelist. She goes out, shares her story, and then introduces people to Jesus. After encountering Jesus, her Samaritan village responds that, “we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.” At St. John’s, Sharon, we often find God working in people from new fields. At our weekly community lunch, teenagers needing community service hours serve the meal. They contribute to our ministry, and are often transformed by the love of Jesus they experience in serving. Other lunch guests and community members have come forward to help bus tables, play music, or even supervise our volunteers. When visitors show up for church Sunday morning, they bring new gifts and perspectives, and, like the Samaritan woman, often share what they have found with friends and family. Our primary job, in worship or outreach, is to help new people find Jesus and encourage them in their excitement for gospel ministry. Then together, we can gather a bountiful harvest from unexpected fields.