John – “But Who Do You Say That I Am?” – John 4:25-42

We are in John Chapter 4. For the last 3 posts, we have been looking at Jesus’s remarkable and life changing meeting with this woman at a well in Samaria. We will be taking a final look at this meeting in this post.

Most kids are fascinated with farming and farmers. I know I was. We all sang “Old MacDonald Had A Farm” when we were kids and some of you may even remember the “See It Say It” toys that pictured animals on it, most of them found on farms. It would point to an animal, a cow for example. You would pull the string and the toy would say, “The cow goes…” and then you would hear the sound of a cow mooing. It was a way to learn about animals when we were little.

Back in 1862, back when the federal government actually did things to benefit the people of this country instead of themselves, the Homestead Acts were enacted allowing people to own land and from this, farming was born. Farming used to be an important part of America’s economy but according to research, it only makes up 1% of our economy today. In 1935, when the amount of farms hit their peak, there were a little over 6 million farms in America but today just a little over 2 million. Hard times have hit farmers quite a bit because of government regulations and other things. Farmers will tell you though if you want to do it they give this description of it…long days, hard work, happy people. It’s a great way of living.

Evangelism, sharing our faith with others, can be described in the same way…long days, hard work, happy people. Sharing our faith with others can be compared with farming. We plant a seed when we share our faith with others, they in turn become followers of Jesus Christ and plant more seeds by telling others and the “crop” continues to grow and grow and grow! Evangelism is not easy work. It’s hard but the results can be extremely rewarding and personally satisfying. When you lead someone to faith in Jesus Christ, it is the most exhilarating and rewarding thing that you will ever do in your life! 

In this passage that we are about to look at, which wraps up Jesus’s meeting with this woman, Jesus uses the same terminology with His disciples comparing evangelism with farming. He talks about “fields” and “sowing” and “reaping” and “harvest”…all agricultural terms. The focus on this passage is no longer on the woman but what the woman does after her encounter with Jesus and on His disciples. Let’s get started and as always, the text link for the chapter and the audio are included so you can follow along but before we get started, let’s pray…

Father,

Thank You for Your Word and bless this time we are spending in it. Father, as we wrap up this look into this story of a woman thirsty for something more than water, may we be encouraged and strengthened to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ yo those who desperately need to hear it! And now Lord, our hearts and minds are open to hear what You have to say. Speak Lord, for your servants are listening in Jesus’s name we pray…Amen!

John 4

Let’s take a look at the passage that we will be covering in this post. Picking it up from verse 23…

(23) But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. (24) God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (25) The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” (26) Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” (27) And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?” (28) The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, (29) “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” (30) Then they went out of the city and came to Him. (31) In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” (32) But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” (33) Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?” (34) Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. (35) Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! (36) And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. (37) For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ (38) I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.” (39) And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” (40) So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. (41) And many more believed because of His own word. (42) Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.” … John 4:23-42 NKJV

Some of this passage, I covered a few posts back so I will be summarizing certain parts of it and focusing on others. We covered verses 23 and 24 in the last post. Jesus is telling the woman about the way to properly worship clearing up some of the confusion she may have had but now, Jesus makes a remarkable confession to this woman which I want to take a quick look at before moving on.

vv 25-26 – (25) The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” (26) Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”

There was a growing anticipation, even among the people of Samaria, of the coming of the mashiach, the Messiah. This woman was well aware of the Scriptures and was waiting for the arrival of the Messiah as well. Imagine the shock and joy this woman felt when she finds out that the person that she had been talking with was indeed the Messiah! While I was preparing for this post, something caught my attention about this passage that I hadn’t noticed before after reading and listening to John’s Gospel about a gazillion times. The woman at the well is the only person that Jesus reveals Himself as the Messiah to in the Gospels. For the most part, Jesus let people determine that for themselves but the woman at the well is the only one He says, “Yes, I am the Messiah”. He tells people throughout the Gospels that He is God (far more important) but only to this woman does He reveal Himself as the Messiah…the promised deliverer and savior of the Jewish nation. As Jesus is talking with this woman, His disciples return from their quest of, what else, food! LOL! They were always preoccupied with food! LOL! I picture a bunch of chubby teens running around with Jesus! LOL! I covered verse 27 a few posts back so we’ll move on to verse 28…

vv 28-30 – (28) The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, (29) “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” (30) Then they went out of the city and came to Him.

Verse 28 describes what one does when they have truly been affected by an encounter with Jesus…the woman left her waterpot. In other words, she dropped what she was doing and ran to tell others. Why would this woman do this? Why would she leave behind her waterpot when the reason why she came to the well in the first place was to get water? Because what she found instead was so much better than the water she came to get…she had an encounter with the Savior of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ! Verse 28 also symbolizes leaving our old ways of life behind us when we have a true conversion to Christ. In 2 Corinthians, Paul tells us…

(17) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. … 2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV

The next thing that this woman does after leaving the waterpot behind is that she goes back into the city and begins to tell others about Jesus. Again, when you have a true encounter with Jesus, you are not only changed forever but you can’t keep your mouth shut about it! One of the biggest questions that we ask ourselves is what is our purpose in life? What is our purpose while we are here for the short time that we are here on this earth? Very simple…preach Christ! It is not to seek riches, power, or fame. It is not to indulge in every pleasure and temptation that comes our way. We are to preach Jesus to others and glorify Him by leading our lives for Him not for ourselves. We may be blessed from time to time by the Lord but we use it for His glory not ours! Leading our lives for Christ and not for ourselves is really the best way to preach Christ to others. In 1 Peter, Peter says…

(11) Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, (12) having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. … 1 Peter 2:11-12 NKJV

Now the truth is we don’t know if this woman was truly converted or not from her meeting with Jesus because the Scriptures really don’t say, I think she was, but it is obvious that her meeting with Jesus affected this woman in a powerful way! What the woman told the people affected them as well because the people start heading out to see Jesus (verse 30).

vv 31-34 – (31) In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” (32) But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” (33) Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?” (34) Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.

The disciples concern for Jesus was not a false concern. They were truly concerned and worried about Jesus. It had been a long journey and they wanted Him to eat to regain His strength. Jesus was not only God but He was also a man and therefore had the same need for food and water as they did. However Jesus was focused on something way more important than food…He was focused on winning new worshipers of His Father! In verse 32, Jesus tells His disciples, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” Notice the emphasis on the words “I” and “you”. Why would Jesus say this to His disciples? To peak their interest. Remember when we were kids, we would say to another kid, “I know something that you don’t know!”? It was usually followed by…”Nah, nah, nah,nah, nah!” LOL! The response from the other kid was usually, “What? Tell me!”. It peaked their interest and they wanted to know more. The same thing here with what Jesus is telling His disciples minus the “Nah, nah, nah,nah, nah!” LOL! It peaked their interest but unfortunately what Jesus tells them goes, phew!, over their heads because they are still preoccupied with food. They start questioning amongst themselves if anyone had brought Him something to eat. At this point, I can picture our Lord shaking His head in disbelief and maybe even chuckling to Himself! LOL! He was trying to share something spiritual with them and all they could think about was food! So Jesus begins to clarify it more to them. His food was to do His Father’s work trying to save people from their sin, a work that would ultimately culminate by Jesus going to the cross, but for now, He was basically performing evangelism. The life application we can apply from this short passage is what are we interested in? Sadly, we Christians today are more interested in furthering our own kingdoms rather than furthering the Kingdom. We are more concerned about seeking pleasures in this world rather than seeking to save lost souls!  Moving on to verse 35…

vv 35-38 – (35) Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! (36) And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. (37) For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ (38) I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.”

Jesus now tells the disciples in verse 35 what was probably a well known proverb of the Jews. He was telling them though that the time to do God’s work was now not later. It is believed by many commentators that what is going on in verse 35 is that the people from the city were approaching Jesus and the disciples, probably dressed in white robes or some type of white clothing, and He was pointing to them and saying basically to the disciples, “Go get ’em boys!”.  Jesus talks about fields and reaping and sowing. These are all farming terms but He was also speaking to them in parables. What is Jesus talking about here in this passage? When Jesus talks about fields in the parables, He was talking about the world. The seeds that are sown is the Word of God in people and the harvest is the results of that. Basically, this passage is Jesus talking about evangelism. Evangelism is hard work and very little of the Christian population actually participates in it. In Matthew 9:37, Jesus says…

(37) Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.
(38) Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” … Matthew 9:37

Evangelism is hard work but the results are happy people on both sides of the coin and that is what Jesus is conveying to His disciples, and us, in verse 36. There is no greater joy in life than when you lead someone to accept Christ. I have sown many “seeds” myself since coming to Christ, mainly in this blog but I also share my faith with others on a daily basis. I only know of three though that I actually prayed with to receive Christ. That was during VBS a few years back when three of my kids stepped forward to do that. When that happened, someone could have laid a million dollars in front of me and it wouldn’t have mattered because all that mattered to me right then was those kids’ decision! We do have to be careful though not to take credit for the success we have in evangelism because it’s not us doing the work in the people…it is God. We are just the laborers. In 1 Corinthians, Paul says…

(6) I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. (7) So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. … 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 NKJV

We may not see immediate results from the labor but we keep on sowing the seeds because if we don’t see the results now, we will definitely see them in heaven! It is important to note that in verse 36, Jesus is not teaching salvation through evangelism as some misinterpret. What He is saying is that the fruit of it continues on into eternal life.

vv 39-42 – (39) And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” (40) So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. (41) And many more believed because of His own word. (42) Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”

Many of the Samaritans came to faith in Christ that day just on the simple statement that the woman made to them…”He told me all that I ever did”. Sometimes that’s all it it takes, one statement, one comment, that is made by us to someone who doesn’t know the Lord to change someone’s life forever! One thing is for sure in this passage is that the Samaritans gave Jesus a better welcome than most of the Jews ever did. They urged Jesus to stick around and He did for a couple of days. Those that were not convinced by the woman’s testimony now were hearing Jesus’s own words and teachings and many more believed as well.

So there you have it. That wraps up this very long look into this story of the woman at the well. There are three important takeaways from this story. The first one is no one is too far gone to be saved by Christ. You hear it from people all the time as an excuse not to accept Christ. They say, “You don’t know what I’ve done. There’s no way that Jesus could love me and save me!” He does and He can! The second one is that Jesus is looking for authentic worshipers not fakes and the third one is that telling others about Jesus is important and it also proves that we are authentic worshipers. Too many of us are Christians only in name only. We are Christians on Sundays, maybe the occasional Wednesday, and on Christmas and Easter but the rest of the time, we are Peter by the fire saying “I don’t know Him!”. We don’t want people to even know we’re Christians! And then some of us are just spiritually fat. We keep taking in the Word of God but nothing comes out. So here’s a challenge…talk to just one person this week. Share your faith with one person this week. Tell them what Jesus has done for you in your life. Plant that seed. It may not take right away but someone else could come around and water that seed and it could grow and grow and who knows what the results of that seed that you planted could be! Let’s pray…

Father,

Thank You for this story of this woman at the well who, when she came looking for water, found something and someone more refreshing and more satisfying than water…she found Jesus! Lord, we pray that we will not forget the lessons that this story teaches that You are looking for true worshipers in spirit and truth and that it is important that we share our faith with others. More importantly, if anyone is reading this who doesn’t know You Lord, that they would be encouraged by this story and realize that there is nothing that could keep You from the love and salvation that You offer them and come to know You today! In the saving name of Christ we pray…Amen!