Jesus’ Life and Ministry
Many Samaritans Believe
ON RETURNING from Sychar with food, the disciples find Jesus at Jacob’s well where they left him. But now he is talking with a Samaritan woman. She leaves when the disciples arrive, leaving her water jar, and heads for the city.
Interested deeply in the things Jesus told her, she tells the men in the city: “Come here, see a man that told me all the things I did.” Then, in such a way as to arouse curiosity, she asks: “This is not perhaps the Christ, is it?” The question accomplishes its purpose—the men go to see for themselves.
Meanwhile, the disciples urge Jesus to eat the food that they have brought from the city. But he replies: “I have food to eat of which you do not know.”
“No one has brought him anything to eat, has he?” the disciples ask one another. Jesus explains: ‘My food is for me to do the will of him that sent me and to finish his work. You say, do you not, that there are yet four months before the harvest?’ But pointing to the spiritual harvest, Jesus says: ‘Already the reaper is receiving a reward and gathering fruit for everlasting life.’
Perhaps Jesus could already see the grand effect of the Samaritan woman’s witnessing—that many were putting faith in him on account of her testimony. When the men of Sychar come to him at the well, they ask him to stay to talk to them more. Jesus accepts the invitation and remains for two days.
As the Samaritans listen to Jesus, many more believe. Then they say to the woman: “We do not believe any longer on account of your talk; for we have heard for ourselves and we know that this man is for a certainty the savior of the world.” Surely the Samaritan woman provides a fine example of how we can witness about Christ by arousing curiosity so that listeners will search further!
Recall that it is four months before the harvest—evidently the barley harvest, which in Palestine occurs in the spring. So it is now probably November or December. This means that following the Passover of 30 C.E., Jesus and his disciples spent eight months or so in Judea teaching and baptizing. They leave now for their home territory of Galilee. What awaits them there? John 4:27-42.
◆ What witnessing does the Samaritan woman do and with what result?
◆ How is Jesus’ food related to the harvest?
◆ How can we determine the length of Jesus’ ministry in Judea following the Passover of 30 C.E.?
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