It is surprising how many times we follow the daily Bible readings and come across something we had never really noticed before. Today we read in John 4 of a conversation between Jesus and his disciples; they were in Samaria among people the Jews despised. The disciples had gone to buy food and Jesus was talking to a woman who came to the well. “Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey (he was no superman!) was sitting beside the well” (verse 6). It was midday when he talked to her and the result was she fetched other townsfolk to hear him.

The seeds of faith in Samaria were being sown by Jesus. Some years later when Jesus had ascended to heaven, the stoning of Stephen scattered the believers and some went to Samaria to preach. Jesus had foretold that disciples would witness to him in Samaria (Acts 1:8).

Persecution in Jerusalem led to the preaching there (Acts 8:5) and “there was much joy in that city” and “the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria has received the word of God” (verse 14). John 4 tells us how spent two days there (verse 43) and sowed the seed. He had spiritual food to digest to give him spiritual energy, but his disciples did not understand this. “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” (verses 34-36).

This is a lesson for us, there are ‘Samaritans’ in many parts of the world today, and the time for preaching is short. Jesus says, “Others have laboured, and you have entered into their labour” (verse 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 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.