barriers

John 4

“Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest.” John 4:35

There was bad blood between the Samaritans and the Jews (cue the Taylor Swift song). A Babylonian king conquered a southern kingdom of Judah. Many were captured and exiled and the ones left were the lowest of society. This group intermarried with other peoples, which birthed a new ethnic and religious group called the Samaritans. The Jews despised this group since they were not “pure” Jews. Man, they sure did love their birthright. 

Since there was such animosity between the two groups, the Jews would often take the longer journey to Galilee in order to avoid Samaria. However, Jesus decided to take the faster route and cut through Samaria because He knew there was work to be done in this region. In verse 7, we see Jesus breaking all the rules- not only was He speaking to a Samaritan, but this Samaritan was a woman. Back in those days, Rabbis would never speak to women in public, not even their own wives.

This conversation is found in verses 7-26. Jesus seamlessly builds up to revealing Himself as the Messiah to this woman- but not just any woman, an outcast. We can draw this conclusion because she was fetching water in the midday which was uncommon. Most women would fetch it in the cool morning or with one another, which indicates that she was possibly shunned by other women because of her sinful activities. Jesus chose a sinful, outcast, Samaritan woman to reveal Himself to so that the rest of this region would believe in Him. In other words, she was the lowest of the lows and He still chose her. Through this woman, He was able to minister to others and exemplify to His disciples what it means to break through religious barriers in order to save souls.

“Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest.” (verse 35). After the woman ran into town to speak of what Jesus had said to her, Jesus spoke to His disciples about what was about to happen. If they don’t put their personal/religious feelings aside about the Samaritans, they will miss the miracle of God working through the most unlikely people. They will miss the power of the Spirit. 

He continues on by saying, “I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.” (verse 38). Basically, these disciples have the privilege of harvesting what God had already planted. We don’t know who the “others” were that labored- maybe Jesus is referring to the conversation He just had with the Samaritan woman. Or maybe there were others before this that tried to minister to the Samaritans. We can’t say for sure, but these disciples are able to witness the joy of the Lord as the Samaritans turn their lives to Christ without having to lift a finger.

In my eyes, I see 3 types of people in this story: the Samaritan Woman, the Planter, and the Disciples.

If you are the Samaritan Woman: It is never too late to turn to Jesus. I don’t care how deeply entrenched you are in your sin; Jesus forgives you. And not only that, He will use you to save others. You are not an outcast in His eyes. You are loved by the King.

If you are the Planter: You have been working and praying and sharing your faith to maybe one person or multiple people, but you see no fruit. Don’t give up. Levi Lusko writes, “The breakthrough you are longing for might come without any indication along the way that what you are doing is working.” (Swipe Right, page 51) Maybe someone will harvest what you have planted but either way, the work will not be in vain.

If you are the Disciples: Pick your head up and look around you. There are many people longing for Jesus, but you need to break through your manmade barriers to reach them. Ask the Lord to reveal to you where He wants you to plant or harvest and watch Him work.

“And many more believed because of His own word.” (verse 41)

be free.xo

Leah

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