The Woman at the Well
The woman at the well was a woman who was alone, who would do anything to feel loved by others, even things that were not accepted as common decency but that she thought would fulfill the longing in her heart to be seen.
She was a sinful woman that Jesus cared enough to reach out to, talk to, and see value in—to see her as worthy of His love.
And what did she do after her encounter with Jesus? She ran to tell others about the Man that knew all about her but loved her anyways.
I think we skip over how she dropped her water pitcher and ran to the people she was avoiding by getting water at the hottest time of the day. We skip over the courage it took for her to go to the people who represented judgement to share the freedom that had been extended to her.
What was it that made her such an impactful witness? John 4:39 says: “Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony.” I think it was the change in the woman, who went from avoiding people to rushing to them with joy. She was bursting to tell people about her experience, how Jesus had changed her, and they could see the change!
Who needs my story that I’m afraid to tell it to? Who needs your story to know the power of redemption, to know the grace Jesus offers? Who needs to see the change in your life as a witness to what grace can do? Do we need to drop our fear, our pride, our shame, and run to the people we avoid?
Now is the time to RISE UP, to be courageous and share what Jesus has done in our lives, even with the people we want to avoid who represent the parts of us that we’re ashamed of. Like the woman at the well, our stories are powerful, and people need them. Now is the time to RISE UP and maybe even run to the people who have hurt us, to tell them how Jesus offers freedom from pain and shame.
Who in our lives needs to hear our testimonies? Who needs to see the change Jesus has caused in our lives? Rise up, ladies. Tell people about the man who knows every part of you and offers freedom. Tell people about the love and peace they can have. Tell them your story.
Celebrate the Harvest!
I live in rural Iowa, surrounded by corn and soybean fields. During these past few weeks I’ve watched the once-green fields turn golden brown. I awoke one morning last month with a phrase on my heart and mind—“look at the fields.” Sensing it was a prompting from the Lord, I rose early and found those words of Jesus in John, chapter 4.
I was intrigued by a new facet I saw in that story. I always associate John 4 with Jesus speaking of living water and extending an invitation to us to never thirst again. But that day I saw how this passage also addresses the issues of hunger and harvest.
Tired from His journey, Jesus is sitting by Jacob’s well as His disciples enter the town to buy food. When they return, they urge Him to eat something. Jesus says He has food to eat that they know nothing about. The disciples wonder, Did someone else bring Jesus some food? But no.
Jesus finds his sustenance and strength from another source. He can see an abundant harvest on the horizon and is no longer physically tired or hungry. “My food,” He says, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish the work . . . I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:34–35).
His source of sustenance is in the most unlikely place: Samaria—among a people whom the Jews despised. The fields He is referring to are the Samaritan townspeople who come to see Jesus after hearing the woman’s remarkable testimony. Jesus stayed in this “field” for two days and reaped an abundant harvest of souls.
A Heritage Honored
This salvation harvest in Samaria occurred near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph (see John 4:5). This young man wisely managed a harvest in Egypt, which provided life-giving sustenance for his own people during a time of famine (see Genesis 41–47). Joseph’s bones were buried in this land (see Joshua 24:32).
After a season of spiritual famine, a season of being overlooked, disregarded, and disqualified, the Samaritans were receiving from Jesus the soul-satisfying good news of their spiritual harvest: “Now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world” (John 4:42).
Opportunity for Action
Harvest is a time to gather—a time to give and receive. This is the time of year, after the harvest season, when we gather with friends and family and celebrate abundance. Tables are full; houses are full—and stomachs are full.
As you read the stories in this publication, “look at the fields” and pray for an abundant harvest. Invest in the harvest through your prayers and financial gifts. Once you read these stories, “open your eyes and look at the fields” in your community; invest in the local harvest. And, as a crop is harvested for eternal life—locally and globally—may the sower and the reaper be glad together (see John 4:36).
An abundant harvest is worthy of celebration!