Church vs. Christianity – Part III

Well, we’ve looked at Jesus’ initial interaction with the Samaritan woman at the well and gone over some of the things I noticed that seemed to stand out about this meeting. Now, we’re moving on to the next phase of this event.

As it happens, the woman was still there talking with Jesus when the disciples returned. I find it very interesting that these “giants” of faith, the founding fathers of the Christian movement, could have been so blind at that time. Especially given the time that they had been spending with Jesus, walking with Him every day. (It give me hope, since I can be even worse than them…quite often.)

But, let’s just take a look at what happens when they get back to the well and see Jesus talking with this woman…

27Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”
28Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the ChristF30 ?” 30They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
31Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”
32But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
33Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”
34“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”

The very first thing that jumps out at me is that none of them questioned Jesus as to what He was doing talking with this woman. They were surprised, of course. But they didn’t say anything. I suspect that they may have realized that, if they had said something, Jesus would have punked them right then and there. Of course, that’s just my own thinking.

What does the woman do, in the meantime? She goes off to spread the word about a man who she believes to be the Messiah! Once again, the disciples drop the ball. I mean, isn’t that supposed to be their job? And now a woman is doing their job for them? Oh, those poor, ignorant, blind disciples. How I can relate to them.

All this time, what are they focused on? Food. After they get over the initial shock of Jesus talking with a Samaritan woman, their minds are on their stomachs and they start trying to tell Jesus to get a bite to eat. Jesus quite cleverly points out that their priorities are all out of whack and the God’s Will should be more important than a meal.

Then, He does some really great foreshadowing…taking things back to the woman. He starts giving them the analogy about the harvest and basically, it seems to me, tells them that the woman is doing all the hard work of getting out the message of the Messiah and He tells them that they can “reap what you have not worked for”…because it was that woman who did the work.

How much has changed from then to now? How many times is someone won to Christ, not because someone told them they were a sinner in need of repentance, but because they modeled a life that was affected by Christ and drew people to Him rather than trying to drive people to Him. There is a distinct difference. Some call it “carrot and stick” theology.

Or, perhaps you’re the one sowing. Maybe you’re the one out there building relationships and loving people and trying to get them to see what Christ can do in their lives and you just don’t think you’re getting through to them. What you need to realize is that your hard work may be reaped by someone else.

The opposite is also true. If we treat people with judgement and condemnation, we harden the soil and make it more difficult for the seeds to take root (notice the reference to the parable of the sower, there?). It makes it more difficult for the next Christian to show that person that Christ is about love and forgiveness and grace.

What we do makes a difference, one way or another. Imagine if the woman at the well went back and told everyone that this Jesus fellow had admonished her and condemned her as a sinner and spat at her, shook His fist and told her to get away from Him. How many people do you think would have come to see Him? I’m guessing not many.

But, we’ll get to that part of the story next time. For now…

Grace, love and peace.

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