Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”
Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”
But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 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. Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”
Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers.
They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
Over the years, I have found myself in places and stories I never could have orchestrated myself. I am there only because of a whisper from God to go. My own concerns for safety and comfort can so often trump my willingness to go to the fringes to pursue others. But when God prompts me, I am willing to take whatever risk is necessary—even when I feel unprepared and unqualified—because what God has shown me time and time again is that the people he leads me to are always worth the risk. Usually, when God pursues one person, he actually has many more in mind. We see this with the Samaritan woman. Once her life was changed, she couldn’t help but share with her family and the whole town. And within two days, many of the Samaritans came to have life in Jesus.
Read the story of the Samaritan woman in full again (yesterday and today’s reading). As you reflect on the various characters in the story—the woman, her family, the townspeople, the disciples—who do you identify with the most? How so? What does that identification reveal to you about the state of your heart?
What practices or disciplines increase your ability to hear God’s whispers to you? How regular have you been recently with those practices? What adjustments do you need to make to get back to engaging in those practices?
As you think about God sending you to a place you wouldn’t normally go to share the good news, what is your biggest hesitation or fear? What would you need go to that place if he asked you? (courage, words, money, prayer, hope, etc.) Ask God to give you what you need for whatever he asks you to do.
God, the thought of you sending me to pursue someone or even a group of people is thrilling and terrifying all at once. I want to go and yet I’m afraid. Please give me a vision for a people and a place and send me. Give me the courage and provision to do as you ask and fill me with the faith I will need to obey. May I be an instrument of your hope, love, and grace. Amen.