Discerning the Right Time to Harvest

A five-part series on Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:7-45 and what it teaches us about gospel harvesting.

Introduction: Harvest Time

I grew up on a farm where much of our routine centered on when crops were ready for harvest. When the grain was ripe, everything stopped to focus on harvesting it before it was lost. Timing was critical as there would be a small window of time when the grain was perfect for harvest. If it was harvested too late or too soon, the grain would not be good.

This is what I believe Jesus tried to teach his disciples when he encountered the Samaritan woman at the well as told in John 4:7-45. He wanted them to be aware when people are ready to hear the gospel; when they are ripe for the message of salvation; when they needed to drop everything and focus on a person who needed to hear the gospel.

Today I begin a five-part, #FridayFaith weekly series of posts that look at Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman and the example it gives us to be ready for the harvest. Today’s first installment sets the stage for when Jesus first meets the Samaritan woman at the well.

Part 1: A Layover in Sychar, Samaria

It’s a long trek across Samaria between Judea and Galilee, at least 30 miles if you’re traveling in a straight line. But that was hardly the case as Jesus followed on foot a winding trail from Judea on his way to Galilee. A journey like this could take several days.

Imagine if you were taking a journey like that on foot. You would have to carry all your supplies or buy them along the way. Likewise you would have to carry your water or find a place to get a drink. Every stop you make only lengthens the journey. It’s an exhausting trip any way you look at it.

So Jesus made a stop at Sychar, “near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph; and Jacob’s well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour (Luke 4:5-6, NASB).” His disciples had gone into the city to buy food, so Jesus sat by the well alone (8). That’s when a Samaritan woman comes to the well to “draw water (7).”

Have you been there? You’re in the middle of a long journey and you have many miles to go. You’re tired, hungry and thirsty. Your whole body aches from traveling. The last thing you want to do is have a conversation with someone. You really don’t want to talk to that person sitting across from you in the airport gate; that person at the rest area; that person in the store. Yet the Spirit of God nudges you to ask a simple question.

Jesus is wearied from His journey (6). If that was us sitting there tired, it would be easy for us to come up with a dozen reasons not to talk to this woman. “I shouldn’t be talking to her because…” Yet even though Jesus is tired, he asks her a simple question, “Give Me a drink (7).” He knows this will start a conversation with eternal consequences. It’s a perspective we should all have when we encounter people.

© 2020 CGThelen

Next Friday: “Seeing People as God Sees Them”

“Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest (Luke 7:35).”

11 thoughts on “Discerning the Right Time to Harvest

  1. I love to travel alone, especially when I’m on a plane with open seating. I’ll take a window seat, then sit there and pray until the Lord seats someone next to me. I have had many “divine appointments” that way.

  2. I am fond of the Woman of Samaria story and how Jesus steered the woman’s focus away from the physical realm into the spiritual and opened her eyes. An excellent place to start your 5-part series because if there is one thing the world needs to hear most of all, it’s the gospel. Blessings and have a wonderful weekend!

    1. I like how Jesus took time to have one-to-one conversations with people. He met them where they were at and, as you mentioned, steered them toward the spiritual. Thanks for the comment. Blessings.

Comments are closed.