Today’s reading: John 4:27-54
Immediately after the meeting with the woman at the well, the disciples engage Jesus in conversation. When Jesus the woman the text says that he was “worn out”. Now it seems the disciples are anxious about his wellbeing and encourage him to eat. Jesus responds in his often characteristic way by using the subject to pivot into a teaching moment:
Jesus told them. “Don’t you say, ‘There are still four more months, then comes the harvest’? Listen to what I’m telling you: Open your eyes and look at the fields, for they are ready for harvest. The reaper is already receiving pay and gathering fruit for eternal life, so the sower and reaper can rejoice together. For in this case the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap what you didn’t labor for; others have labored, and you have benefited from their labor.” John 4:34-38
I think there are two important aspects here. First, the saving of souls is more important than all other concerns. Jesus was “worn out”. He had been thirsty and asked the woman at the well for a drink. He was likely hungry as well. Yet he engaged the woman and worked to save her soul. This is what we are called to do. We can handle more than we think we can – particularly in the short term. No, we should not “work ourselves to death” but in the short term doing what is necessary to engage other people is vital.
Second, we do not live in a “me and Jesus” world. Jesus does not mean for us to be saved by “faith alone” or by “scripture alone”. God sows seeds through scripture and other people. Other people reap the rewards by engaging others in evangelization. We are in this together.
Tomorrow: John 5:1-24