John 4:28-38 NKJV
28 The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 29 “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” 30 Then they went out of the city and came to Him.
31 In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”
32 But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.”
33 Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?”
34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. 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! 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. 37 For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.”
The fields were white in Samaria as Jesus stood by the well with His disciples. All they had to do was look up and see the people streaming out of the city to come and listen to Jesus after they were told about Him by the woman who had met Him at the well. Jesus had sown the seed of the Word with the Samaritan woman. But the Prophets of the Old Testament had also done their work. And the temple rituals in Jerusalem had done their work. And the faithful Jews who traveled through Samaria had done their work, simply by the witness of their faithfulness to the Jewish religion, which was the only true religion established by God. The Samaritans had been exposed to all these things over time, and now, finally, they were ready to listen, and Jesus’ disciples would be there to gather in the fruit of the labors of others.
The fields aren’t always white, though. People don’t always come streaming out of the cities to hear the Gospel from a faithful pastor. In most places of the world, the seed was sown long ago, and others who have gone before us have labored long and hard in the ministry of the Word. There is always more sowing to do, and always more labor. But the harvest is not always plentiful. In some places the seed barely grows. From some places the passing rain shower of the Gospel, as Luther once called it, may have to pass on due to the hardness of men’s hearts. And in other places, there may yet be an abundant harvest to be reaped.
In every case, whatever the condition of the fields, the faithful pastor must labor while it is day. But he knows he doesn’t labor alone. Others have labored before him, Christ continues to labor with him, and there is a reward that awaits him, if he doesn’t lose heart.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, send laborers into Your fields, and sustain those whom You have sent. Amen.