The poster child of evangelism in John’s Gospel is not a Jew nor a man (in that male chauvinist society). Instead, it is a Samaritan woman, and one with a questionable past. With more zeal than any of the disciples – at least in John’s Gospel – she hastily goes out and tells her townspeople of the man she just met.
Observing the woman’s response to his message, Jesus seizes the opportunity to teach his disciples. Returning from their grocery run, his disciples offer him food. Jesus, however, seeing the townspeople emerging from the horizon and coming toward him, says, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” Perplexed and confused, the disciples speculate that someone already gave him food to eat. Jesus is not talking about natural food any more than he had talked to the woman about natural water (see John 4:10-15). His food “is to do the will of him who sent [him] and to finish his work.” Jesus says to them, “open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”
The sixteenth century Swiss reformer John Calvin said, “When the duty, given to [Jesus] by the Father, is so urgent that he has to drop everything else, he does not worry about eating […]. Indeed, it would have been wrong for Christ to show less zeal than the woman did in leaving her jar behind while she runs to invite people.” Jesus found greater satisfaction in doing the work of the Father than any earthly sustenance could offer.
This beckons the question: do we make the Father’s work our number one priority? Can you say that completing his work is more important than your next meal?
Are you tempted to think that no one wants to hear about Jesus or heavenly things? The reverse might be closer to reality. J.B. Phillips, in his classic Your God is Too Small, said, “A vast amount of fiction presents life as though there were no God at all, and men and women had no religious side to their personalities whatever. […] In actual life, as any parson worth his salt knows, ordinary people do at times consider God and spiritual issues.” People are looking for people to talk about heavenly matters. The harvest is ripe! Open your eyes and joyfully join the harvest.