John 4:28–42—Many Samaritans Believe

28 The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” 30 So the people came streaming from the village to see him.

31 Meanwhile, the disciples were urging Jesus, “Rabbi, eat something.”

32 But Jesus replied, “I have a kind of food you know nothing about.”

33 “Did someone bring him food while we were gone?” the disciples asked each other.

34 Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. 35 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. 36The 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! 37 You know the saying, ‘One plants and another harvests.’ And it’s true. 38 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.”

39 Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” 40 When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, 41 long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. 42 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.”

Points of Interest

  • ‘left her water jar beside the well’—the water from Jacob’s well is now completely forgotten, as the worth of Jesus’ living water sinks in.
  • ‘Come and see’—she makes the exact same offer to the village as Jesus had to the disciples (1:39).
  • ‘a man who told me everything I ever did’—apparently her entire list of life accomplishments consists of the six men she has lived with. In any case, she apparently has a similar experience to Simon and Nathanael; she feels instantly known by Jesus in a fundamental way.
  •  ‘My nourishment comes from doing the will of God’—Jesus is constantly trying to point beyond the surface toward a far more satisfying kind of life, available for those who will look a little harder. Why settle for mere H2O when the source of something that will eternally refresh your soul is right in front of you? Why fix your attention on a sandwich when you could instead be fed by the experience of working side by side with God? Yesterday’s passage points out that Jesus is, in fact, thirsty (and presumably hungry), but he completely forgets his physical hunger and thirst in light of the far better spiritual satisfaction he has just experienced.
  •  ‘he stayed for two days’—this village starts out as a place they were forced to pass through. It becomes a weekend destination.

Taking It Home

  • For you: It seems as if working side by side with God is so nourishing to Jesus because he is doing exactly what he was created to do. Have there been times in your life when you felt like you were working side by side with God? Or times when you felt like, “This is what I was created to do!” What was it like? Was it as life-giving as Jesus describes? Ask God for opportunities that feel deeply nourishing to you—things that you feel like only you were created to do.
  • For your 6: Ask Jesus to make it easy for your 6 to talk about things at a spiritual level. Pray that Jesus would take conversations beyond just the everyday chatter to the deeper things that matter most to them.
  • For our church: Yesterday we mentioned the unlikeliness of Jesus interacting with the woman. It’s even more unexpected that Jesus and the disciples would stay in Samaria, and yet again that all sorts of people would start believing in him. Even the disciples seem to overlook the harvest in Samaria, writing the entire people group off from God’s attention. Ask God to make our church a place where the most unlikely candidates would find Jesus.