28.  The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men,

The woman is so excited that she leaves her waterpot behind and goes into the city to tell others the news.  Certainly those of us who have come to the Lord later in life can sympathize with this, knowing what an excitement and desire to tell others is the result of a newfound faith.

The word “men” here is the plural of anthropos, and thus could just mean “people,” not exclusively “men.”  Knowing what her reputation was, we can well imagine that she had much more access to the men than the women.  Yet she was probably telling everyone she met, which would not be men exclusively as is indicated by the translation here.

29.  “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did.  Could this be the Christ?”

It sounds to us like she was exaggerating, yet in a way her five marriages and her current live-in situation may have been in her mind the most significant things she had done in her life.  At any rate, this is her excited witness.  And the question she asks is not so much a question in her mind as it is meant to form the question in theirs.  Clearly she has already made up her mind that this Man is the Christ!  Now she is hoping that these others will believe the same thing she has.

30.  Then they went out of the city and came to Him.

The woman’s excited testimony so affected the inhabitants of the city that they had to go and see this One for themselves.  We can imagine that this woman’s happy, excited behavior was a huge change and vastly out of character for a woman who earlier had been so ashamed and outcast that she would go to the well all by herself in the middle of the day!

31.  In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”

They had brought Him the food they had gone to town for.

32.  But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.”

The Lord had other concerns besides eating now.  He was going to reveal Himself to the lost in this Samaritan city.  That took precedence over eating.  To Him, that was more satisfying than any physical meal that the disciples may have bought Him in town.

33.  Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?”

They are so wrapped up in food and the care of physical needs that they miss His point.  They start asking to see if anyone had returned before the others and already given Him food.

34.  Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him Who sent Me, and to finish His work.

Since they did not understand, the Lord explained the figure He used.  He was not talking about actual food, but of the refreshment and satisfaction of doing the will of the Father and finishing the work He had given the Lord to do.  That to Him was even more satisfying than food.  I pray that my readers will find satisfaction in doing His work as well.

35.  “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’?  Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!

The time of year that this story occurred was four months before harvest.  Yet the Lord looked to people as His crops, and He saw them white for harvesting!  Perhaps from their vantage point at the well they could see the people of the city on their way in droves to come to see Him.  He probably gestured to them as He spoke these words.

Some use this statement to try to say that the fields are ripe for harvest today.  Yet this may not be true.  Not all times and not all situations are ripe for harvesting.  I know some missionaries, especially those who have gone into Muslim countries, have often found that the people were just not ready to hear the gospel.  They could minister for years and not have one convert!  Other missionaries have gone into countries where the people are eager and searching, and their ministering has immediate and massive results.  This is the difference between a field ripe for harvesting and one that isn’t.  Not all fields are ripe and ready to be harvested.  The Lord in this case was specifically talking about the people of this town.  They were ready to hear and come to the truth, and so He proclaimed them ripe for the harvest.  Other people, even other Samaritans in other towns, were not so ready to hear Him.  Not all fields are ripe to harvest at all times.  But we can pray that God will find a rich harvest in our own countries today.

36.  “And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.

The Lord is now teaching them something about reaping and sowing.  Those who reap do not do it for nothing.  They receive wages for their labor.  We can be certain that our efforts on God’s behalf will not be unrewarded.  And the fruit that we gather is fruit for eonian life.  Those who are thus reaped are not just brought into a religion or taught to be good people.  The benefits they will receive will be outflowing, lasting in perpetuity.  Then He mentions sowing.  Some sow seed and never see the results.  Yet he who sows and he who reaps rejoice together in the results as they see people coming to eonian life.  Imagine the joy in the life to come in seeing those who have eonian life because you took the time to sow or reap for the Lord!  This is a reason to rejoice indeed.

37.  “For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’

Those who are harvested do not come to the Lord without having their hearts prepared.  They must be ready to hear and receive the truth.  Often the one who sows the seeds of the truth is not the same as the one who harvests.

38.  “I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.”

Who had labored over these Samaritans before now the Lord does not say.  It may be that He Himself was responsible for the work that brought them to this place where they were ready to receive Him.  Or it may be that another had come to them who had prepared their hearts.  At any rate, the disciples were going to be reaping the results of other men’s labors.  We need to understand this when we start to see the converts they are making in the book of Acts.  These Israelites were not pagans who had never heard of God or cared to worship Him before.  They already knew much about God, and had already had their hearts labored on by others, particularly John the Baptist.  He in many ways was the one who sowed the seeds in Israel, and the disciples were the ones who reaped the results.

39.  And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.”

They believed that He was the Messiah or the Christ because of this woman’s testimony.  Again, remember the purpose of John.  The testimony of this woman is now recorded for us as well.  Will we believe the same thing about the Lord Jesus, that He is the Christ, the I Am?

40.  So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days.

They wanted to see more of the Lord!  They knew He was just passing through their town, and so they urged Him to stay.  The Lord graciously granted their request and stayed with them for two days.  This town welcomed the Lord.  What better could be said about any town anywhere?

41.  And many more believed because of His Own word.

Now we have more believers, only they believe not because of the woman’s testimony but because of His Own.  This is the purpose of any testimony or witness that we give as to God’s work in our lives.  Although it is good if people start to believe in the Lord Jesus because of what we say about Him, it is far better when they learn His Own words and believe in Him because of them, not just because of what we as witnesses have said.

42.  Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”

Now they are excited like the woman, and gladly tell her that they now believe in Him too, not just because of what she said, but because they had heard Him themselves.  What they believed was that He is indeed the Christ.  “Christ” and “Messiah” mean literally “Anointed One.”  Yet what the Anointed One does and was expected to do is explained here.  He is not just the Messiah because He is anointed.  He is the Messiah because He is the Savior of the world.  That is what we are to believe when we believe that Jesus is the Christ.  He is the Savior of the world, and He is our Savior as well.  And believing that, we have life through His name.

43.  Now after two days He departed from there and went to Galilee.

This was the two days that He spent with the Samaritans of that city.  Two days are also associated with His seventh sign given in this book (John 11:6.)  Remember, there are eight signs, and the first corresponds with the last, and this second with the seventh.  The first and last signs were to prove that Jesus is the Son of God through His power over nature.  These next two signs (the second and the seventh) are to prove both that He is the Messiah and that He is the Son of God through His power to heal.  It had been prophesied that the Messiah would heal the illnesses of the Israelites.  (Isaiah 53:4)  Now He fulfills that prophecy.
 
44.  For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country.

The great faith of the Samaritans in the first part of the chapter contrasts strongly with the lack of faith of the people in His Own country of Galilee.  Now Jesus Himself is called as a witness, not as to Himself, but as to the fact that a prophet has no honor in his own country.  This was certainly true of Christ, for the people in His home cities often rejected Him.

45.  So when He came to Galilee, the Galileans received Him, having seen all the things He did in Jerusalem at the feast; for they also had gone to the feast.

Their lack of faith wasn’t due to the fact that they hadn’t seen the same miracles everyone else had.  All Israelites were expected to attend the feasts, and these Galileans had not neglected their duty.  Yet they still did not give Him the honor they should have!

46.  So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine.  And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum.

The Lord’s second sign is done in the same city as His first.  Now we have brought into the picture this nobleman.  In Greek the word is a “royal officer,” and probably means that he was a member of Herod’s court.  This officer’s son is sick at Capernaum, the town where the Lord owned a house.

47.  When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and implored Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.

Apparently, this man had given up all hope except the Lord.  Perhaps the officer was waiting for Him in His home city, hoping that He would return there before his son died.  Now, hearing that He is at Cana, he rushes there to beg for healing for his son.  He is not overreacting, either, for the Word clearly tells us that his son was indeed at the point of death.  The officer is just certain if the Lord will come down to Capernaum that He can heal his son.  He never stops to think that the Lord may not have to go to Capernaum at all to accomplish this healing!

48.  Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.”

Herod’s followers were ever filled with doubt about the Lord.  It may be that this man too doubted the Lord’s ability, and just came to Him as a last resort, knowing that his son was beyond all other help.  Yet this statement of Christ’s was in a way a challenge to this nobleman to rise above this level of faith and to believe the Lord’s words without any such miraculous sign to confirm the words. 

49.  The nobleman said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies!”

The nobleman’s concern for his son is foremost in his mind, and he has no time to waste on the Lord’s teaching or His rebuke.  All he cares about at this point is the immediate need of his son.  Yet the Lord’s actions next surely produced thought for this man later on!

The nobleman again calls the Lord, “Sir,” but this is again the same word in Greek as is usually translated “Lord,” Kurios.

50.  Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your son lives.”  So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way.

To “go your way” means the same as the English expression “go about your business.”  The Lord meant that he should not rush home to his son.  Rather, he should finish conducting whatever business he had in Cana before returning to Capernaum.  His son was no longer in danger, and so he no longer needed to be concerned for him.  This would surely be a difficult thing to do!  This nobleman’s mind and heart were no doubt set upon his son, and any other business he might have had in that city must have paled in his mind in comparison to his concern for his son.  His first inclination upon hearing the Lord’s words, “Your son lives,” must have been to rush home to see if this was true.  Yet the Lord follows up on His challenge to this man and asks him to believe what He is saying and to go about his business in that city rather than rushing home.  This could not have been an easy thing for the nobleman to do, yet for him to do it would be an act of faith.  To trust the Lord’s healing power so much that he would act outwardly as if he was no longer even concerned about the outcome of his son’s illness…this was a challenge to his faith indeed!  Yet we read that the nobleman rose to the challenge, for he believed Him, and did what He commanded.

51.  And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, “Your son lives!”

When he finished his business and was returning, he was met by his servants.  They did not know that he had already been assured of his son’s health by the Master Healer.  Thus, they were anxious to give him the news that his son lives and will continue to do so.

52.  Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better.  And they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.”

The father wants to know when this occurred, and to assure himself that it is not just a coincidence.  They give him the time, which on our clock would be about 1:00 PM (by their time reckoning the seventh hour of the day.)  We learn from this verse that he concluded his business and was heading home the next day after he talked to the Lord Jesus.  The trip from Cana to Capernaum was a short one, and the man could easily have made the journey the previous day if he had started at the seventh hour after he talked to the Lord.  Thus, he had taken the Lord’s words seriously and by faith, and really had concluded his business in that city rather than rushing home.  Thus, He rose to the Lord’s challenge, and believed Him without seeing a sign or a wonder.  This kind of faith is a blessed faith indeed!

53.  So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives.”  And he himself believed, and his whole household.

Thus the rest of his household did as the Lord had said, believing on Him because they had seen a sign and wonder.  We cannot say they did not have faith, but their faith was not of the caliber of faith that the nobleman himself had, which came by believing the Lord’s words before he ever saw the outcome.  And this kind of faith that the nobleman had is the same faith as we are required to have today: a faith that comes about by not seeing and yet believing.  It is as if the Holy Spirit is saying to us, “This man believed merely by hearing My words, and did not need to see a sign or a miracle.  Do you need a miracle to believe?  Or can you follow this man’s example by accepting the witness of this book and believing without seeing?”

54.  This again is the second sign that Jesus did when He had come out of Judea into Galilee.

In order to confirm that we should be numbering the signs in this book, John reminds us that this is the second sign we have seen recorded so far.  From now on the signs will not be numbered, but we are expected to number them and note the significance ourselves.  Let us do so as we continue in our study through the book of John.

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