In John 4, we read of the wonderful and familiar story of the woman at the well. The Lord Jesus, leaving the southern land of Judea, abandoned the usual Jewish route through the Jordan Valley to Galilee, and instead went through Samaria. There, He met a woman who had come out to the well to draw water. This woman believed and was saved, then went back into town and returned with the men of the city, who, for two days, listened to Jesus for themselves. Many in that city believed as a direct result of the woman’s testimony; others believed as an indirect result because they heard Him for themselves (John 4:4-41).
The Lord Jesus was a personal soulwinner. The newly converted Samaritan woman was a personal soulwinner. The apostles? Well, they brought back the lunch! Leaving Jesus at the well, they went into Sychar to buy food (vs. 8). They must have passed the woman on the way in – yet not one of the apostles bothered to tell her that the Messiah was waiting at the well. In fact, they might have been rude to her, perhaps resulting in her somewhat peevish attitude when the Lord spoke to her (vs. 9). They went into town and bought meat, but did not tell any of the townspeople that the Messiah was at Jacob’s well!
Why didn’t John say, “We found the Lamb of God?” Why didn’t Nathanael say, “He saw me under the fig tree!” Why didn’t Peter say, “We found the Son of God, the Christ, the Saviour of the world?” Yet when a disreputable woman came into the same town and said, “Come see a man…is not this the Christ?,” they came!
Jesus taught His disciples a lesson about the harvest. They were not looking. They passed by a woman. They were not conscious of the men in town. They were not sensitive to the situation. The field was ripe, but they were not ready to reap. (Joh 4:35) “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.”
What is the significance of “four months?” Since there are three months in a season, the emphasis seems to be that we are tempted to think that we can put the harvest off until NEXT season. We will get through THIS season and THEN worry about the harvest. It is not a pressing need today! Many Christians have this attitude. In the teenage season of life, they say, “I’ll get involved in the harvest when I’m in my 20’s.” The college aged Christian says, “I’ll get involved when I’ve got a family.” The young family says, “We’ll get involved when our kids are older.” The middle aged Christian says, “I’ll get involved when I’m retired, and have more time.” The retired Christian says, “I wish I had gotten involved earlier!” NOW is the season, Christian. NOW is the time. Today people need the Lord!
There is an even greater significance when we consider the fact that the harvest is already wasting. Statistics tell us that 2 PEOPLE DIE EVERY SECOND, on average around the world. There are 86,400 seconds in one day and 10,368,000 seconds in four months, which means that 20,736,000 PEOPLE WILL HAVE DIED AROUND THE WORLD IN A FOUR MONTH TIME FRAME. No, we may not be able to reach all 20 million in time, but we can reach the woman on the way to the well; we can witness to the guy behind the counter at the restaurant. Perhaps we can reach an entire town. Perhaps one person on the road is the key to an entire group of people being saved!
When it comes to the harvest, now is the time, and it is all around us, wasting away, waiting for Christians to get serious about reaping.