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John 4:27-42 (web)

The Samaritan Woman: Part II

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 for harvest already.
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.' (1Cor 3:6-8)
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."

Discussion Questions

vs 34 What is the equivalent work which God has given you to do?
vs 36 Who was doing the "reaping"?
vs 38 Who are the "other men" who did the hard work?
And what was the hard work?
What is the easy work?
Who deserves more reward?
vs 39-42 Which is more convincing to you that Jesus in the Christ, the miracles he did in the Bible (his works), or his words?


vs 27 Jews don't generally carry on casual conversations with Samaritans, and much less between a male Jew and female Samaritan. But it was amazing even to his disciples that Jesus crossed these barriers, for the Jews, yes even the disciples, were generally racist. But they would have to overcome this to fulfill the Great Commission. Unfortunately even after receiving the Spirit at Pentecost the disciples were reluctant to cross such boundaries for the sake of the gospel.

vs 28-34 The woman went to the men of the town. It may be that she was too despise by the other women. Or it may be that as the men represented the authorities it was most appropriate to approach them with such an important issue. The woman came to the well to get water, but return with something so much better that she left the water behind.  Practically speaking, she left the water behind because it was heavy and she didn't want his mission to be burdened by it. And so also with Jesus we notice rather than drink the water he engaged in a conversation that was part of his mission. Yet it was the fulfillment of their missions which gave both of them vigor. If you want to feel fulfilled in life then put down the bucket and finish the work God has given you to do. But of course you have to realize what that responsibility is. If we understand that the Christian life involves walking as Jesus did then we should be able to infer from Jesus' life the mission God is sending us on as well. (See also the Following Jesus Series)

vs 35-38 It is interesting that the reapers have the easier job and yet they are often given more credit. They are reckoned "fruitful" from an evangelistic point of view, while the people who did the hard work in preparing the fruit for harvest are often not appreciated and reckoned unproductive. Now what do you suppose would evolve from the following situation? There are two jobs. In the first job the work is hard and unappreciated, but is essential in gaining long term benefits for others. In the second job the work is easy and appreciated by others and the results are visible in the short term. Naturally people would gravitate to the second. And thus the Christian community has lots of laborers ready to give a 5 minute gospel presentation in hope of leading a person to Christ, but very few are doing the hard job which may take years preparing people to receive the message in the right spirit.

At that time the population was heavily "pre-churched", both among the Jews and Samaritans. They had religion coming out of their ears. And thus the need was for reapers. But today the population is heavily unchurched. And thus what is in greater need today are the sowers. There's a great need for apologetics, for example. Christians need to answer the "how do you know" questions with intelligence. How do you know God exists? How do you know the Bible is the Word of God? We need to manifest basic concepts of love, justice, holiness and humility to a world filled with an empty value system. We need to convince the pagans of the vanity and hopelessness of life apart from God. And we need to bring conviction of sin to a world filled with people of little conscience.

vs 39-42 Some come to faith in Christ on the basis of his works -  his miracles.
Others come to faith in Christ on the basis of his word - his teachings.
The Bible contains evidence for both types of people. For it contains a record of some of his miracles and the testimony of those who experienced them. And it contains his teachings. The Bible contains sufficient evidence to conclude that Jesus is who he claims to be. And unlike the Jewish racists of those days who limited salvation to their own kind, the Samaritans recognized that Jesus was the Savior of the whole world - Jews, Samaritans and Gentiles.

NIV version used in comments

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Aug 15,2020