Lesson 2 of the Discipleship Making process, where today, you and I continue to learn the answers to the Why? and What is the Purpose? of my life questions.
I left you last time with the question of “What do you see?”
The world outside a baby’s home is strange and different to them. It is an uncomfortable place, lacking the security of home. Baby’s cry easily, everything is unfamiliar and foreign. But it is into this hostile environment that their parents bring them. The baby needs to become acquainted with the surroundings and people that his parents so easily mingle with. Jesus takes His new disciples there too.
Jesus’ disciples are Jews from the Galilee, along the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee. They are a local people. Three times a year they make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to attend the feasts of the Lord. Their customary route takes them the easy way, through the Jordan River valley. The valley is wide, well watered and fertile. And the route takes them around the land of the Samaritans, which lies between their homes and Jerusalem. To them, the land of the Samaritans is the home of detestable people, who don’t know the true God and with whom Jews have little dealings.
This time Jesus takes the disciples by the shorter route, through Samaria. The journey through the mountains is arduous and unfamiliar. Compared with the valley route, it is an arid region of rocky, wind swept hills with little shade and water. They stop at a village in Samaria. It is the place of the patriarch Jacob’s well. It’s noontime. It’s time for a lunch break. It’s time for Jesus to have an encounter with a woman who comes to the well. It’s time to change the way His disciples view the world.
Read: John 4:1-42
The lesson Jesus teaches here deals with the powers of observation. The disciples are used to seeing, understanding and applying physical laws in the natural world that surrounds them. Jesus challenges them to see differently. He wants their powers of observation to extend to the spiritual.
Jesus opens His teaching with the statement. “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest.” The disciple’s worldly thinking processes take over. It’s May, the people have recently planted their cotton, it will take four more months for the crop to grow and they will harvest it in September. But then Jesus says, “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.”
As the disciples turn to look at the fields they don’t see a cotton crop ready to be harvested. But in the distance they see men, dressed in white robes running towards them, across the fields. Jesus is talking about men, not cotton, a harvest of men’s souls. The harvest is beginning now, not at the end of the age during the final great harvest.
With that, allow me to leave you with this question to consider, along with a little homework assignment until my next posting:
“How can you express joy?”
. . . and the homework assignment . . .
Observe people in their daily routines. Think of some things that you might ask them in order to initiate a spiritual conversation. Write down your observations and the questions you could ask them.
Until next time . . . Godspeed!