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“Come! Eat something!”

John 4:34

October 8, 2023

The invitation to eat is both functional as well as relational.

To a Singaporean, there may not be a more common or heartfelt invitation for us. The invitation to eat is both functional as well as relational. It is both necessary for survival, as well as one of the greatest joys of life.
Yet when asked to eat something in John 4:31— hungry, tired and thirsty as He was (v6)— Jesus took the opportunity to share with His followers something even more important to Him than eating – doing His father’s will and finishing His work. What work was that? The work of harvesting the fields that were already ripe and ready.
“My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work” (Jn 4:34)

“My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work” (Jn 4:34)

In trying to communicate His excitement in the life-changing conversation he was having with the Samaritan woman he met, and to highlight how different His mindset was from that of His disciples, He used 2 common agricultural sayings of that day to challenge them, and maybe even us today.
“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.” (Jn 4:35)
The first (v35) was the common thinking that there is a time lag between sowing and harvesting, and it was normal to wait for the “right time’’. Jesus emphatically tells them to “wake up and look around!”, for the harvest was already ready. Are we too waiting for the right or perfect time? Could He be challenging us also to “wake up” and to “look around”? Surely there are people who are ready to hear the good news all around us, if only we pay more attention to the will and work of our Heavenly Father.
“You know the saying, ‘One plants and another harvests.’ And it’s true. I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already
done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.” (Jn 4:37-38)

But how could they be ready? Jesus links this question to the second agricultural saying (v37), which is that “one will sow, and one will reap”. We may have the mindset that indeed we are ready to share. Yet from what we can see, there is still a lot that needs to be done before the seed that we sowed can be ready.
Jesus challenges that and says God has been using others to sow even when we did not realise it (v38), and we must not let the fact that we are called to sow be an excuse that causes us to miss our call and timing to also be reapers.
What was key, was whether or not the sower or the reaper had in their hearts not only the task, timing or technique of the job at hand, but the shared joy of having a part to play in bringing eternal life to others (v36). What is our joy level for sharing the gospel today? Is it fuelled by the heavenly joy of a soul receiving eternal life?
May we listen to our Master’s heart and be willing to see fields ready for us to work in today, and to bring this gospel to those who do not yet know. Can we be more like Jesus, that we would long for this even more than we need or love food? Who is He awakening us to see and even call today?
For some, the process may be as profoundly simple as asking someone this week to join us to “Come, eat something!”

By Ps Ian Wong