Reflection on John 4:27-38

Scripture: John 4:27-38

Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are you speaking with her?” Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?” They left the city and were on their way to him. Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, “Rabbi, eat something.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Surely no one has brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. Do you not say, ‘Four months more, then comes the harvest’? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps. ’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”


We’re almost through the story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. Today is part four of five. With these verses, though, the emphasis shifts briefly away from the Samaritan woman and onto the disciples. While she goes away to testify to others about her experience with the Messiah, they come in confusion. As I’ve mentioned a couple of times already, Jews and Samaritans were quite hostile towards each other. Also, though, the culture of the day was extremely patriarchal. The response of the disciples illustrates both of these points. They don’t understand why Jesus would be talking to any Samaritan, but a conversation with a shamed female Samaritan would likely seem unimaginable. I actually find this interaction between Jesus and the disciples funny because it reminds me of the recent Snickers commercials. The disciples approach Jesus and see him doing something completely out of cultural norms and they respond, “Rabbi, eat something.” It’s like the Biblical version of the Snickers tag line: “Jesus, have a Snickers… You’re not you when you’re hungry.”

Jesus does indeed know who he is and what he’s doing, though. He’s breaking down walls of division between people and initiating reconciliation. It’s actually the disciples who don’t yet know who they are in this work of Christ. I think their ignorance addresses an important point that we, the faithful, don’t always like to hear. A lot of times Jesus has already begun to move in the midst of groups and peoples that we might not like or agree with before he tells us about it. We can be left as shocked by Jesus’ presence in those circles as the disciples were with the Samaritan woman. We, too, can’t believe Jesus would associate with or love “them.” And that “them” might be any number of people who seem unworthy of meeting our Rabbi. But Jesus is happy to be where he is, and he’s patient enough to draw us into a reconciling relationship with them, too. These verses are Jesus’ invitation to each of us to see God and accept that God can love a people so diverse that it stretches us beyond belief.


God of life and creator of all diversity, give me eyes to see you with people where I’m blinded by my own prejudices. Instruct me and teach me to seek fellowship and mutual understanding with people who I see as different. Amen.

Thought for the Day:

Jesus won’t always be where we want him to be. Go find him.

For Your Viewing Pleasure:


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