My Food is to do the will of Him who Sent Me (John 4:34)

The disciples see themselves as providers for Jesus, they don’t get that ultimately He is the one who is going to provide for them.  They imagine that someone else has brought a party tray by and fed the master.  Perhaps they become indignant. It was their job to go into town and buy lunch.

Jesus lets them wrestle with the issue long enough and then fills them in on what he really means when he says, “I have food that you don’t know about.”  They need to know that they ultimately do not provide for Jesus, but that Jesus provides for the whole world.  They need to see what really drives their master, beyond human appetite.  Beyond the desire to have a full stomach, Jesus desires to obey they father.  This is worship.

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. (John 4:34, ESV)

He challenges his disciples to see past hungry stomachs and see hungry souls, to look beyond the physical reality of a hungry tummy to see that true worship is a heart rightly submitted to God.  What fuels Jesus?  The disciples must learn here that food is for the body, but worship is for the soul.  Jesus is seeing past the physical into the spiritual.  If the disciples are ever to be like him they must come to a place where they desire God’s will to be done more than they desire their daily bread.  Indeed later Jesus will teach them to pray to the father and before daily bread comes the request that God’s will would be done.

Now like the Samaritan woman before them, he presses his disciples to see all the people coming out of the city.  See them with spiritual eyes.  They walked into the city to get food, never once did it cross their minds to see the great spiritual need, but now they see it as the whole city comes out to the well.

Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.” Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” (John 4:35-42, ESV)

It was a common saying in the day of Jesus to say, “there are four months till harvest.” It was a way of saying, “relax,” don’t worry, don’t be in such a hurry, there isn’t anything you can do right now.  Our modern saying is something like this, “Good things come to those who wait.”  Here Jesus is saying the opposite.  He is saying, “look!  You didn’t plant anything and now there is a harvest field.”  You didn’t tell anybody in the city about me and now the whole city is coming out to meet me.

Application: You will never be able to serve God fully until you realize what Christ has done for you.  Only in the power of Christ can we see the world around us the way that He sees it.

Father,

Thank you for the cross and all that Jesus did to purchase me from my sin.  I ask that you will give me eyes today to see people the way that you see them.

Morning: Psalm 104

Mid-Day: Psalm 52

Night: Psalm 4

Seeing Sychar: Seeing Spiritual Realities in a Physical World (Intro)

When I was in college I used to drive 16 hours to go home and see my parents.  It was quite a drive.  Along the way I passed by countless towns and cities all with their own off ramps complete with signs touting the local eateries, gas stations, and hotels.  Despite the long drive I rarely ever stopped.  In fact, I tried to shave hours off the trip by stopping only to use the restroom, fill up the truck and grab a bite to eat (Usually all in the same location).

Then one day somewhere in southern Illinois I did the unthinkable.  I pulled off the interstate and went to a town about 8 miles off the beaten.   I don’t know what prompted me, but as I drove through that small town I began to ask God to move in that place.  I asked him to reveal himself to the people.  I asked God to give me a heart for those people.

When I got home, I looked up the town on the internet and got all the statistical information that was available for free.  I wasn’t aware of church planting at the time, If I had been I might of been tempted to go plant a church.  The urge to pray for this small town was so great and so profound.  I ended up praying for the people of that town for about a year.  I asked God many times if I was supposed to go, but sensed his call to stay.

I don’t really know what that whole experience was for, other than this… I was never able to pass that spot on the interstate again with out a burden to pray for the people of that town.  It was one of the first times that I was able to see past my own needs to see the needs of others and pray for a town just south of the interstate in southern Illinois.  The adventure of going off the map in Illinois lead to my beginning to see the Gulf Coast and the people around me as a mission field.  God was teaching me to see people with His heart.

A similar story is told in the New Testament.  Jesus and his disciples are traveling from Jerusalem to Galilee.  Their rout takes them right through Samaria and by a town named Sychar.  Weary from travel the disciples leave Jesus by a well outside of town and go into Sychar to buy lunch.  It is obvious that this place is just supposed to be a stopping off point along the way.  But a conversation with a woman at the well changes everything.  The story ends with Jesus telling the disciples to look at the town and see all the people coming to hear about him.  While they were busy buying lunch.  God was already at work in the lives of the people and many professed belief on Christ that week.

I wonder if while we go through our daily routines and habits if like the disciples we miss what God is doing in the lives of people around us.  I bet the disciples started looking at commerce and buying lunch differently after that day.  I bet they saw Sychar differently after witnessing the town flock to believe in Jesus.  I imagine that the disciples began straining to see things the way Jesus did, looking for the needs of people and the opportunity to proclaim the good news of Jesus.  After all, Jesus promised to make them “fishers of men.”  And part of fishing for men is to see them; really see them and their need for a Savior.

Stay tuned for a series of blog posts entitled-  Seeing Sychar: Seeing Spiritual Realities in a Physical World