Jesus was doing things all wrong: He left a fruitful and popular ministry in Judea and went where most Jews would not go: Samaria. He spoke to the wrong person (a woman) and He did it in the wrong place (in public).
But in reality, Jesus was doing all the right things. He obeyed the leading of the Spirit. He saw what God was doing in a woman’s heart and he spoke to her greatest need. He allowed room for the wisdom and gifts of the Spirit. His food was to recognize the Father’s mission and join him on it.
Being on mission with Jesus is also the thing that gives us great fulfillment. To be on mission with Jesus, we must have our eyes opened to see people in a new way. If you consider the entire chapter, the focus is not on the woman but on the failure of the disciples to even see the woman!
One reason they didn’t see her is they “grew up in church”. They were trained to think that God only cared about their temple attendance and obeying the law. They were also tempted to be ‘end-time dreamers’. They were talking about the great harvest that was coming, but they never lifted up their eyes to see that the fields are already ripe for harvest.
They were also hindered from seeing God’s mission because of the gender bias and ethnic prejudice that pervaded their culture. They also focused on their own physical needs. We have to be honest and admit that we, too, are blind to the harvest in many ways. In reading through this chapter again, I see a few questions Jesus answers for us:
What is the harvest?
The harvest is the broken people all around us.
When is the harvest?
The harvest is going on now (the Greek word is KAIROS, meaning “the opportune time to take action”).
Where is the harvest?
There is a harvest all around me. There are people around me daily in whose lives God is working in right now.
Jesus was doing his Father’s work and God is also calling us, as followers of Jesus, to this kind of work. Following Jesus means doing what he did. Let’s allow the Lord of the Harvest to give us his eyes.