Many Believed

John 4:39-42.

And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on Him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.

Unchecked Copy BoxSo when the Samaritans were come unto Him, they besought Him that He would tarry with them: and He abode there two days.

Unchecked Copy Box And many more believed because of His own word;

Unchecked Copy Box ¶And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard Him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

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The Samaritan woman must have been persuasive; obviously, the people of the city saw something new and different in her. This passage tells us that many believed in Jesus because of her own testimony.

When the townspeople met Jesus at the well, they wanted to know more. They besought (begged, persuaded) Him to stay for a while so they could hear what He had to say.

The disciples must have continued to be amazed! Not only had Jesus spoken to a woman—a woman alone, and a woman of ill-repute, a woman of Samaria!—and now He settled in to stay there for two whole days! I think, aside from establishing the gospel in Samaria, Jesus used this opportunity to begin teaching the disciples that salvation was for everyone, not just for the Jews. What a radical idea that was for them!

Many more, listening to His teaching, believed on Him. They told the woman, “It’s not merely because of your words, but because we have seen Him, heard Him, touched Him, that we believe this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world!”

How do I know they touched Him? I don’t. I do, however, know a little bit about human nature. Wouldn’t you have wanted to touch this unusual Man? Take His hand, look into His eyes?

I look forward to the day when Jesus will wrap me in His arms and welcome me home!

Sowing and Reaping

John 4:35-38.

Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

Unchecked Copy Box And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.

Unchecked Copy BoxAnd herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.

Unchecked Copy BoxI sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.

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Jesus often taught using things the people knew about: Sheep, farming, weather, predatory beasts, and so on. He, the Master Teacher, knew how to take a simple thing like planting and harvesting to teach His disciples about sowing the seed of the gospel.

Farmers have to wait until the crops are ripe. Jesus said that the “crops” of people needing the gospel, and ready to hear it, were already ripe. What the disciples needed to do was to go out into the field–the world–and gather in those who were ready to be harvested.

Then He explained that sometimes the one who sows the seed is not the one who reaps the harvest, but both the sower and the reaper are rewarded in heaven, and can rejoice together.

We may not be the ones who start the process of bringing a soul to Christ. Someone else may have planted that seed. My husband’s story is one of those. People picked him up for Sunday school when he was young, and all through his life others brought the Good News to him in one way or another. By the time he was in college, he says, he decided to be an agnostic. But he met a man later, at his job, who talked to him straight from the Word about his need of salvation, and he began to seriously read the book of John, over and over. One day, he knew he believed, and he trusted the Lord. He was 24. What a beautiful example of this passage, the law of sowing and reaping. I believe there will be several people waiting to meet him in heaven who knew him as a child, and offered him the gospel. They all will be rewarded for the work they did in bringing him to Christ.

Sometimes we get to plant the seed. Sometimes we get to reap the harvest. Either way, it is God Who gives the increase in His fields.

My Meat. . .God’s Will

John 4:34

Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work.

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I was going to write about several verses in this passage, but as I started to dig in, study verse 34, I began to think that just this verse was worthy of a whole post of its own.

Everything Jesus said has depth, wisdom, profundity. He never spoke in a silly, meaningless way. He had only three years to accomplish His work, and He wasn’t about to waste one minute of that time.

Does that mean He never laughed, never just relaxed and enjoyed Himself? No, I don’t think so. I think He laughed when He spoke with children, enjoying their innocence. I think He relaxed when He visited in the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. I believe He enjoyed the fellowship of His disciples. We aren’t given a minute-by-minute account of His ministry. I’m sure, partly because the disciples needed it, that there were times when they simply sat around a fire and talked with each other. Fellowship is a great restorative.

But back to this verse. Jesus told His disciples that what strengthened Him, nourished His body and Spirit, was to do the will of the Father.

Remember when He was only twelve, and He stayed back in the Temple to discuss the things of the Father with the priests and rabbis? When His mother questioned Him, He said He had to be about His Father’s business. Even then, He understood that His purpose on earth was to carry out God’s eternal plan of salvation.

Is there something you especially love to do for the Lord? Something that energizes you and gives you a deep sense of satisfaction? For me, it’s teaching. Specifically, teaching the Bible. I know beyond doubt that doing so is part of God’s will for me. I’m thankful that I’m still able to do it as I advance into my 70’s, and I pray that it will continue to be possible for many more years.

Jesus’ entire life was devoted to doing the will of the Father! It was like food and drink to Him to obey God.

Furthermore, He knew what He faced in Jerusalem at the end of His earthly life, and He was willing to be obedient to that, as well.

I recently heard of an African pastor who was beheaded last week because he refused to deny his faith. Here is the link to the news story:

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2020/january/nigeria-boko-haram-kidnapped-pastor-hostage-video-testimony.ht

Are we willing to die for Him? It’s happening often today. So far it hasn’t come to us in America, but my American readers need to understand that Satan’s whole purpose is to destroy Christianity wherever it lives.

Jesus wanted to complete the work of His Father, and He did so. Later on in the Book of John, in chapter 17, which is truly the Lord’s prayer, Jesus says He has done the work. He is soon to be sacrificed for the sin of mankind.

I deeply desire, at the end of my life, to be able to say I have accomplished what God has meant for me to do.

Master, Eat!

John 4:31-33.

In the mean while His disciples prayed Him, saying, Master, eat.

Unchecked Copy Box But He said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.

Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought Him ought to eat?

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While the woman of Samaria was busy rounding up people to come and see Jesus, the disciples were concerned because they knew Jesus hadn’t eaten for some time. They begged Him to eat. He told them He had food that they didn’t know about, and they asked one another if anyone else had brought Him food.

The disciples were concerned for Jesus’ physical well-being. They had already seen Him staying busy and active teaching, preaching, healing, pouring Himself out in this early stage of His ministry. They were not being unspiritual, or wrong, in any way to want Him to take care of Himself.

It is not unusual, even today, for people dedicated to ministry to overlook maintaining their own health and strength. Because I grew up in a pastor’s home, I know of pastors, missionaries, Christian school teachers, for instance, who wear themselves out in the work. My personal experience is that such people have a burden that is sometimes assumed, sometimes imposed by others, that they must put their own needs aside in order for God to bless their work.

Sometimes people in full-time Christian service—and that is a term that has always bothered me, because I believe that EVERY Christian is in full-time Christian service—sometimes, these workers fall into depression, or have symptoms that are hard to pin down, nearly impossible to diagnose.

What do they need? Rest. Nourishment. Some of the TLC they are so good at giving to others. Time to renew a relationship with God and get back in touch with His grace, mercy, and love.

He said, in Matthew 11:28-30, that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He invites all Who need Him to come to Him, and He will give us rest.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

 Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

 For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”

There are examples of great servants of God whom God set aside for a time in order to rest and regain their physical, spiritual, and emotional health. The first one that comes to mind is Elijah, the great Old Testament prophet.

What Jesus was teaching His disciples here was that He could depend on a source of strength that they didn’t completely understand yet. He depended on the strength of the Father to sustain Him. He would do so right up to the moment at which He surrendered His spirit on the cross at Calvary.

Sunday Morning Coffee: This and That

Yup, it’s another one of those “stream of consciousness,” random, no particular goal or plan kinds of posts.

It’s been a different kind of week. I’ve been working on some physical issues that seem to be resolving positively now. I’m learning that aging has all kinds of surprises. I remember the first time I ever saw the picture below. I was young, newly married, and could hardly imagine being really old. Doesn’t seem so hard to believe any more 🙂

Image result for old woman looks in mirror, sees her younger self

About those surprises as we age; what do I mean? Well, here’s an example anyone who had very oily skin and acne as a teen will understand. I had that kind of skin, starting when I was just ten. By the time I was in high school, I was blotting the oil off my face several times each day. The acne was very bad. Back then, I never dreamed that a day would come when my skin would be so dry that I would be using Argan oil twice a day, all over my face and neck. It feels good, and it really does the job. Who knew, back when I was 15, that this day would ever come? Not me, that’s for sure!

Life changes. I was teaching my women’s Bible study class on Friday morning. We were in the 11th chapter of Ecclesiastes, in which the last couple of verses admonish us to rejoice in our youth. I wonder if any of us actually are wise enough to do that! We discussed it for a little bit, remembering how good we felt, how busy we were, how strong and active, never giving much thought to a time when those things would begin to fade.

I think we can rejoice in our age, whatever it is. We may lose things from one decade to another, but we also gain, if we’re walking with God, in faith, peace, hope, confidence, just knowing Him, and realizing that every day brings us one day closer to heaven.

I’m thankful for many things. I’m thankful to be retired, although I loved my work. I’m thankful I’m still in my right mind. No, really, I am! I’m thankful I’m not housebound yet, that I can still drive and participate in things I enjoy. I’m thankful I have the time to write. I’m thankful for Terry, who makes sure I don’t do anything to hurt my back, which has been in pretty good shape since my last injection in June. Even though I’m pretty sure the pain will return, for right now I’m comfortable most of the time.

I’m thankful for more time to be in the Word. I’m thankful for a pastor who challenged us to pray more this year. I’m thankful for the women in my class who share my love of the Word of God, who can weep with those who weep, and who can share a good belly laugh together.

I’m thankful for my kids and grandkids. They fill my heart and my thoughts all the time. I pray for each of them every single day.

See, the thing with aging is that the longer you live, the more you have for which to be thankful—and the more time you have to pray, study, grow in the Lord.

Philippians 4:11. “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

Come, See a Man

John 4:28-30.

The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men,

Unchecked Copy BoxCome, see a Man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?

Unchecked Copy Box Then they went out of the city, and came unto Him.

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Once again, we hear the words Come and see! This time, they were spoken by a woman who had lived a life that made her unwelcome with the “decent” people of the city. She didn’t let that stop her, though, once she understood Who Jesus was. She left her water pot, went back to town, and told everyone she saw about the Man Who told her all about herself. She asked, “Isn’t this the Christ?”

I love the artist’s portrayal of the Samaritans who followed the woman back to the well. You can see the skepticism on their faces, in their posture. But they came, and the Gospel was spread.

Did all of them believe in Him, right then and there? Probably not, but later, when the disciples began to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, many Samaritans did come to Christ. The woman at the well sowed the seed. We more about her later in this chapter, but my understanding is that she changed, gave her life to Christ, continued to talk about Him. Her life was transformed by her meeting with Jesus, the Living Water, at Jacob’s Well.

I wonder how many people today stand with their arms crossed and skepticism on their faces when they hear the gospel for the first time. I wonder how many of them remain skeptical as they watch the lives of confessed believers who do not behave godly in Christ Jesus.

No Reproof from Disciples

John 4:27. “And upon this came His disciples, and marvelled that He talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest Thou? or, Why talkest Thou with her?”

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Keeping in mind that this event occurred fairly early in Jesus’ ministry, it would be easy to assume that these new followers of Christ were shocked, full of disapproval at Jesus’ breach of the rules of Jewish behavior toward Samaritans, and toward women.

However, we are told that not one of them questioned Him. Not one of them reproved Him. Not one of them upbraided the woman and tried to chase her off.

What they had already learned was that Jesus always had a reason for doing whatever He did. He did not always abide by the cultural habits of the rabbis; He went His own way, and His disciples had learned that He always knew what was right and acceptable not to the Jewish leaders, but to God.

Later, in Acts 5:29. Peter, one of the earliest disciples, declared simply, “We must obey God rather than man.” He learned it early, and carried it with him to his own execution. Did he ever deviate from that path? Yes. He was only human, and sometimes we humans are consumed by fear. But he grew stronger the longer he stayed close to the Lord.

So can we. The days are coming, I am sure, when our refusal as Christians to bend to the will of a godless government will take us to dangerous and frightening places. The temptation to escape from danger by simple conformity will be strong. We in America, especially, have not truly been put to the test, but there is more momentum all the time to insist that we bow to that which we find biblically wrong.

If we are to stay strong, we’d do well to stay in prayer; to know from God’s Word why we stand where we stand, and to be willing to suffer for it if that is where God leads.