We are almost done with this fascinating conversation between Jesus and the unnamed woman at the well in Samaria. Let’s keep reading in John, chapter 4 verse 27. This is the New Living Translation.
Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her?” The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” So the people came streaming from the village to see him.
We see, once again, how odd it is to everyone that Jesus is talking to a woman, and a Samaritan. We in this modern era just can’t fully understand how monumental, how extraordinary, and how beautiful this was.
We also the woman excitedly going back to share the news with everyone in her village… and knowing that she’s been married five times, and is unmarried now, it’s the more interesting that she seems to have no embarrassment or hesitation to proclaim, “He told me everything I did!” I wonder about this. I wonder if I could do the same thing.
I suppose I can say it like this, “This is amazing! Jesus knows every little part of the inside of me, the dirty, the hidden, the secret… and he still accepts and loves me, and chooses me and works through me! This is the good news!” I can say that without actually having to tell the whole world all the sordid details of my inner being.
Not that I should try to hide them. But I think that there’s a difference between being honest and being lurid. I think that we should be willing to share the details, to humble ourselves to admit our darkest sins, if it will help and encourage someone else. But there’s no need to talk about what happened in the past just for shock value.
Once, I heard the testimony in church of a young man. He was telling everyone the story of how the Lord had worked in his life. But to him, the biggest sin and failure was his struggles with sexual drive as a teenager. And as he told the testimony to the congregation, in his desire to be honest and transparent, he told several intimate details that were definitely uncomfortable for the ladies, the children, and especially my young daughters. It wasn’t the end of the world, and when I remember it, it’s with compassion and respect for the humble spirit that he had. But I think that when we speak, we can be honest, but we can also be wise. Not every detail is fitting for the occasion and the audience.
Let’s go on.
Meanwhile, the disciples were urging Jesus, “Rabbi, eat something.”
But Jesus replied, “I have a kind of food you know nothing about.”
“Did someone bring him food while we were gone?” the disciples asked each other.
Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.
The Lord has brought this passage to me recently about my own habits… About how my overeating habits are usually due to me not being focused on the work the Lord is giving me. It’s so easy to get distracted with anything else in life other than our life work. If your primary job right now is your children, it’s easy to get distracted with facebook or lularoe. If your primary job is writing, it’s easy to get distracted with commenting on blogs or reading books. If your primary job is to teach, or build, or find a cure for diabetes, it’s easy to get distracted with Netflix or an upcoming triathlon or deep cleaning your closet or going on a bus trip to Manhattan… It’s so easy to distract yourself and pacify yourself.
Especially when your life work is frustrating, feels futile, hard, discouraging.
Or when you don’t know what your life work is.
I’m not saying you have to have one job, for your whole life. There might be seasons where your focus is your three little kids, and then other seasons where your focus is building a business. But whatever you’re called to, by the Lord, we should work willingly and diligently.
This is what Jesus did. Look! At age 30, he comes onto the scene. We don’t know, really, what he did before that. His father, Joseph, was a carpenter, as it says in Matthew 13. I’ve heard it explained like this: Jesus was probably working as a carpenter with Joseph. At some point, Joseph died, and Jesus stopped doing Carpentry in Nazareth, and moved to Capernaum. At that point, his work became traveling through the land, teaching the people about God the Father, healing the sick, casting out demons, and doing good works. At the end of about 3 years of this, his work changed, and he went to Jerusalem, and died there. That was his work. Then, for 3 days, his work was to bring the captive faithful out of Sheol to the Father, and then return.
His work changed as time went on. Some speculate that Joseph had to die, because Jesus had to shift allegiance from his earthly father to his heavenly Father, and as a Jewish male, he would have been in submission to his earthly father as long as he was alive. I don’t know. Maybe. It sounds like a reasonable suggestion. But at any rate, here is Jesus doing the work his heavenly Father has given him- teaching the good news of God to the people.
You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike! You know the saying, ‘One plants and another harvests.’ And it’s true. I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.”
This is what I’ve been thinking about so much lately. This is the work my mind is fixed on. The harvest is plenty. You know, in another gospel, Jesus says,
“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
I feel a strong pull on my heart when I hear this verse. I feel like everywhere I look, I see people who seem sad, empty, lost, and just wanting something.
In the gospel of Matthew, it says,
When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
I think the Lord has been giving me more of his heart lately. I just am so grateful for the tender peace that the Lord has given me, that it makes me want it so much for other people. I don’t know, all the time, how to help people to find this awesome love that I’ve found. But the more I find how much he loves me, the more I am willing to do anything he asks me to do to reach others. I want to be a laborer in the harvest. I want to do the work of God. I don’t want to pacify myself with food or sitcoms, I want to be about my Father’s business.
I want to compel you the way the Samaritan woman did, when she ran into her town- to go hear the Mercy Man for yourself. I want to beg you to come, see, could he be the answer for your heartache and pain?
Read what happens next:
Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.”
I want this for you- to believe not just because of what I tell you, but because you hear him yourself. So go to him. Open the scripture for yourself, sit and let his Voice speak to you- hear the call of the Mercy Man, because he loves you so much.
This post is part of a series going through the book of John. If you’d like to start at the beginning, just click here!