Rev. Haak is pastor of Bethel Protestant Reformed Church in Elk Grove Village, Illinois.

Our study this time is a sequel to the remarkable conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman. Two things stand out in the passage. First, Christ uses His labors with the woman as the ground-work for gathering a spiritual harvest among the Samaritans. This is a prefiguration of the spiritual harvest that shall be gathered out of all the nations in the New Testament era. Second, Christ instructs His disciples in their calling as reapers in this harvest.

We should notice that the fruit of Christ’s work in the heart of the this woman was that she became zealous in witnessing of Him whom she believed was the Christ (see Acts 4:20Rom. 10:9, 10). By the grace of God this witness led to the Samaritans coming to hear Christ and believing on Him through hearing His own words. The principles clearly taught are, first, that our witness must center in calling others to come and hear Christ themselves in the Word (preaching of the Word), and second, that one comes to faith through hearing Christ Himself in the Word.

Jesus also reveals in this passage something of His holy dedication to do all the work of His Sender. His meat is to do the will of the Father; that is, what alone satisfied Christ was to do God’s will concerning our redemption. To perform that will was the hunger of His life. (This total and sacred consecration to the will of the Father is something that is emphasized to us in John—see John 5:36John 6:38John 8:29John 17:4John 19:30.)

The will of the Father centers in gathering the harvest of His redeemed. This harvest, Jesus says is now ripe, for upon His death and resurrection the church is to be gathered out of all nations. In this harvest Christ will employ His church in the work of reaping. This will be entirely gracious, for all the labor is performed by the Sower. More, the graciousness of it is that both the Sower and the reaper rejoice together. We are given to rejoice in God’s perfect work of gathering a redeemed church “out of the whole human race . . . chosen to everlasting life, agreeing in true faith” (Heid. Cat., L.D. 21).

Outline of the Passage:

1. The conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman comes to an end (vv. 27-30).

a. The disciples return, marveling that He talks with this woman.

b. The woman departs, leaving her waterpot.

1) The woman’s enthusiastic witness to the men of the city.

2) The result of this witness: the Samaritans come out to Jesus.

2. Jesus and the disciples at the well (vv. 31-38).

a. Jesus tells them that His meat is to do the will of the Father.

b. Jesus announces to them that there is an abundant spiritual harvest surrounding them.

c. Jesus impresses on them the blessedness of being one who is used to reap this harvest.

3. The ministry of Christ to the Samaritans (vv. 39-42).

a. The Lord speaks the word there for two days.

b. Many believe as the result of hearing His own word and confess that He is the Savior of the world.

Questions for Study:

1.How is the providence of God at work in controlling when the disciples return? (Not too soon before Christ has revealed Himself as the Messiah, yet not too late after the woman has left Jesus.) Discuss how the providence of God is beautifully arranged around the work of salvation.

2.Why did the disciples not dare to ask the woman and Jesus the questions that were on their minds?

3.Why did the woman leave her waterpot?

4.In what ways is the Samaritan, woman an example of the eager and zealous witness of Christ that is always the result of true conversion? What was the content of her witness?

5.What does verse 31 reveal about the disciples?

6.Explain what Christ meant when He said that doing the will of God provided Him with “meat to eat.”

7.What “work” of the Father did Jesus “finish”?

8.What did Christ intend to teach the disciples when He contrasted the proverb “There are yet four months and then cometh harvest” with the fact that they should look up and see that the harvest was not in the future but was surrounding them?

9.Does Christ refer only to the Samaritans who were making their way across the fields to Him as the “harvest,” or does His reference to the ripe field go beyond that to include all the spiritual harvest of the New Testament age?

10.Explain the difference between spiritual sowing and spiritual reaping. Who does the sowing? the reaping? Does Amos 9:13 fit in here? If so, how?

11.In applying what is said in verse 38 to ourselves, explain what should be the true effect upon us?

12.From the words of the Samaritans in verse 42, what my we say as to the relationship between our witness to others of Christ and. their actual hearing of Christ themselves?

13.What does the “Savior of the world” signify?