Todays readings… 1 Chronicles 29, Ezekiel 38, John 4
“GATHERING FRUIT FOR ETERNAL LIFE”
It never ceases to surprise how, in doing the daily Bible readings, we come across something we had never really taken notice of previously. We read today in John 4 of a conversation between Jesus and his disciples; they were in Samaria among people the Jews despised.
The disciples had gone and bought some food, but Jesus had been talking, first to a woman who came where “Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey (he was no superman!) was sitting beside the well” [v.6]. It was midday. He talked to her; we are familiar with the conversation which led to her fetching other townsfolk to converse with him.
The seeds of a true faith among the Samaritans were being sown by Jesus. Some years later when Jesus had ascended to heaven and the number of believers had grown greatly in Jerusalem, the stoning of Stephen led to some going to Samaria to preach. Jesus, in his last words as he ascended to heaven (Acts 1 v.8), had specifically mentioned Samaria as a place where they were “to be my witnesses.”
It was persecution in Jerusalem that led to the preaching there (Acts 8 v.5) and “there was much joy in that city” and “the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria has received the word of God” [v.8,14] Today’s chapter tells us how Jesus sowed the initial seeds there and he spent two days there (v.43). He had spiritual food to digest to give him spiritual energy, but his disciples had not understood this when he said, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, ‘there are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for the harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life.” [v.34-36]
This is a lesson for us, there is the equivalent of the Samaritans in many parts of the world today, and this is the final ingathering. Jesus says, “Others have laboured, and you have entered into their labour” [v.38].
When we enter into that labour we are “gathering fruit for eternal life” – and initially that is our own eternal life. Our “food” must also be “to do the will of” the one who sent Jesus into the world, and then we will be with him when he comes again.