“Do not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’?
Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and
look to the fields, for they are already white for harvest!”
John 4:35 NKJV
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is found in John Chapter Four. It is familiar story known as “the story of the woman at the well.” Most of us have heard this story all our lives in Sunday School, Children’s church, VBS, youth talks, devotions and even sermons. The focus of the story is the conversation and interaction of Jesus and a Samaritan woman.
Lost in the story, though are the disciples. They are literally out of the picture. They have left Jesus to go to the nearby Samaritan town to obtain provisions for their journey. While they are away, Jesus has what we call a “divine appointment” with a Samaritan woman of questionable character at the well. Jesus reveals Himself to the woman and she becomes a believer in Him.
When the disciples reenter the picture, they wonder within themselves but did not ask what Jesus was doing conversing with the woman. She heads out to the town to tell everyone she knows that she has found the Messiah. The disciples miss the point. They are more concerned about eating their food and getting back on the road to Jerusalem.
Jesus then directs their attention to the thing that really matters the most. The harvest of the souls of men and women and boys and girls. The NIV translates our verse: “Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest”
It is precisely at this moment in time that Jesus points to the valley below as the Samaritans from the village are making their way towards them being led by the woman. The Samaritans, to distinguish themselves from other people, wore all white garments. The white harvest fields were the people coming toward them.
The disciples, who had spent three years with Jesus and were very well aware of Who He was and confessed He was the Messiah, had just spent time in the same village to buy food. Yet they told no one to come back with them to meet Jesus. They overlooked the harvest field. The NLT translates the verse: “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.”
How often do we the church do the same as the disciples? It is time for the church to wake up and see the harvest field right before our very eyes in the greater Durham community. I believe we have a great harvest field and a great harvest awaiting us here at Rose of Sharon and in our community. We need to open our eyes and invite others to come meet Jesus.
Join me in the month of August as I preach a sermon series called “Stories from the Harvest” as we examine the teachings of Jesus about the harvest. It is my prayer that we at Rose of Sharon will take our calling seriously as we pray for laborers to go into the harvest and pray we will be those very laborers. Let us be like the woman at the well who invites their family and friends to come and see Jesus, the Messiah.
I love you and it’s a privilege to be your pastor.