Part 3: 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.

Part 3: Never Thirsting Again

Have you been there? Beaten down by life. It seems nothing can satisfy the emptiness you feel inside. This is where the Samaritan woman was when she encountered Jesus at the well. Like her life, she had to go back to the well each day because what satisfied her yesterday, left her thirsty again today. She is ready to hear what Jesus had to say.

Jesus spoke to her thirst. He talked to her about how earthly things do not satisfy, but living water will. This resonated with her because she was tired of things that do not satisfy. She was ripe for the harvest. This is reflected in her response of asking where she can get this living water.

You’ve seen people like this, walking through life unsatisfied with long faces. You pass them each day, yet not all are ready to hear the gospel message — they are not quite ripe for harvest. But there are those who the Spirit of God prompts us to speak to; people who are unsatisfied and ripe for the harvest like the Samaritan woman.

Yet Jesus didn’t condemn the woman, knowing she had several husbands. He starts with a visual example of the well in front of them. It’s as if he asked her, “Aren’t you tired of going to the well everyday because you’re thirsty?” He gently identified the core reason for her lifestyle — her desire to find satisfaction in earthly things; the empty feeling she had inside of never being satisfied.

This dissatisfaction with life, this unfulfilled thirst, shows she is ripe for the harvest. It reveals her thirst for living water. She cannot conceive how to get this living water. She has not found it with her current religion. This is evident in her response to Jesus: “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water?” She wants this living water that satisfies, but does not know how to get it. This is an invitation to hear the gospel message. It is the equivalent to someone asking you, “How come you seem so calm all the time?” That is someone ripe for the harvest who is ready to hear the gospel.

Jesus began to lay out the gospel to her, contrasting things on earth that seek to satisfy with God’s Kingdom with eternal satisfaction: “Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.’” He reinforced to her that the world will leave you thirsty; that her lifestyle would always leave her unsatisfied. In contrast, God’s living water always refreshes like a “well of water springing up to eternal life (14).”

© 2020 CGThelen

Next Friday, Part 4: Whetting the Thirst of the Parched Soul

5 thoughts on “Part 3: Discerning the Right Time to Harvest

  1. Often sin is our way at clutching at straws in an effort to find some contentment or happiness. At the time we don’t realize they are straws … but when the time is right we suddenly see how empty they are. They are no comparison at all for the life Jesus gives.

    1. So true. As we grow in our faith in Jesus, he reveals how empty sin leaves us; he shows us fullness in life with Him. He fills us with living water. Thanks for the comment. Blessings.

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